After having my daughter, I thought I had this parenting thing down! She is smart, loving, easy going, has great manners, gets straight As, works hard and is just wonderful. I couldn’t understand these kids I saw out and about who were rambunctious and thought, “Boy! I must have done something right!”
Then I had my son. He is smart, loving, has great manners, and is wonderful. However, he is also wild, energetic, head strong and strong willed. He’s that kid others see in the store and wonder why on earth can’t I manage him better!
Well, I will tell you what. My parenting methods overall are very similar. I breastfed both of my children, read to them, have consistent bedtimes and routines, involve them in the arts and sports, take them to museums and libraries. But their temperaments could not be more opposite.
My son Christopher is always moving. Always. Even when he’s laying in bed, reading me a book or being read to, he is swinging his legs or tapping the book. Whereas my daughter Brid can curl up with a book in one position for hours.
Here’s what I’ve learned from parenting opposite children:
- Even if your parenting style is the same for your children, your children are not going to respond to it in the same way.
- Fair does not mean equal. What was fair for one child is not necessarily fair for the other.
- Routine is key-whether your child is calm or wild, children thrive on routine. Consistent bedtimes, nap times, etc… were important to my calm child because she wanted that consistency. They were important with my son because without routine, his day would be one wild whirlwind from sun-up to sun-down.
- What works for one kid doesn’t always work for the other. I remember taking my daughter to story time at the library from the time she was 1 year-old. I tried taking my son around that age and even again at 2 years-old and story time was just too much excitement for him. He wanted to be all over that library. So my son and I have a much different relationship with the library than my daughter did. I do imagine the librarians might cringe when they see us coming. When my daughter was young, they loved our visits.
- Never-ever judge a parent by their child’s behavior in public. Before I had my son, I could do anything, go anywhere and be with anyone with my daughter. She was a breeze. Easy going, well mannered, and loved by everyone. Now I have to plan social outings carefully and have had to be that parent carrying my kid out of a restaurant crying. It doesn’t mean I’ve suddenly turned into a “bad” parent or that I have a “bad” kid-he’s just not the same as his sister.
- I love my kids–always, forever, no matter what their temperament is.
Anything you would add to this list?