Don't you find it interesting how each child has his/her own personality? How different the kids are and how, as parents we need to work with each child individually?
I only have two so I can imagine with more it becomes a bit of a challenge. It's sort of like solving a puzzle when it comes to getting the kids to do things like homework or chores or take a bath or go to bed. I always found myself thinking about how I would accomplish some tasks with the boys when I fully knew ahead of time I'd have a fight on my hands or an objection to overcome.
For instance, I think I may have mentioned in a previous blog how Christopher hated to wear collared shirts as a kid. There wasn't too much he fussed about but the dressing up thing was not in his book of favorites by a long shot. He looked very handsome when he tidied up but it wasn't something he liked to do. If a holiday was around the corner I would alert him a few days ahead that he would be dressing up. Sometimes I'd even have him try his clothes on for a few minutes so we could be sure they still fit and to give him the opportunity to feel them on his body. He'd tolerate it knowing he didn't have to stay in them. I'd leave them out in his room so he would be reminded they were going on him soon.
He did the same with pants. He always wanted shorts or sweats for the leg room. I can't blame him there, he was a husky boy and the thighs just never felt comfortable. If we got the right thigh size then the waist was too big. Maybe that’s why his pants were always half way down his butt… :-) We never did find just the right pants for him. He always defaulted to shorts or sweats regardless of the season.
But there was a certain way Chris needed to be dealt with. He needed time to wrap his head around wearing his dressy clothes. Letting him know days before the event saved me from a meltdown the day of. Of course that was a lesson learned the hard way in his early years... Eventually the light bulb went on for me and I realized I could save myself from a terrible holiday with a little preparation ahead of time.
Jeremy was much different as a youngster, he loved dressing up in slacks and a shirt and tie and shiny shoes. He looked so handsome! Like a mature man. He still likes wearing nice clothes and dressing sharp and these days he tends to shop in the finer stores looking for quality not quantity. He never had an issue with clothing the way Chris did.
Jeremy always needed to know the plan though... What was on an agenda. He didn't like surprises as to where he was expected to be if he wasn't made aware of it ahead of time. Chris really didn't care as long as it didn't interfere with a play date but Jeremy needed to process things ahead of time. He wasn't much of a spur of the moment kind of kid although as he gets older it’s changing quite a bit. Now that he has a car and some flexibility to his schedule he has a tendency to get up and go. But as a little guy his wheels were always spinning and he felt best by being able to foresee his day or week ahead. Life worked better for Jeremy when he knew in advance so when it was time to go he wasn't blindsided because he was uninformed.
It's an interesting process watching your children grow and looking at them as if you can see inside their head. Ask them a question and as they're thinking about an answer you can almost see the cogs turning. Their eyes shift and blink and the question you asked starts swirling around in their brain. It seems like you can see thru their skin and into the heart of their brain just by shifting your gaze to look them in the face. It goes on like that forever. I still see it with Jeremy. The questions and information exchange becomes more advanced as they age of course but as a parent you still see them processing it. It's a wonderful thing. Very rewarding to watch, especially when you can't believe they're yours and you gave birth to them. How incredible!
I'm fortunate to have two sons to get to know; to learn how to work with each personality and figure out their needs to the best of my ability. You may have more or less in your family. In any event, I hope you've had experiences similar to mine in realizing each needs to be parented differently. What works for one doesn't for the other. There's no cookie cutter method to raising siblings in the same house. It's a beautiful thing. We're fortunate to become parents and raise our children.
Thank you for reading.