Different Kids Require Different Parenting Styles And That’s Okay‏

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upset kid

When I was a kid, I resented one of my brothers. The way I saw it, it seemed he got preferential treatment. My parents were more patient with him and slower to anger. It looked like he got a lot of leeway from my adolescent perception of events and it used to upset me greatly. Now, as a parent of two very different children, I understand. My parents were treating my brother one way and me another because we responded differently. He needed some things that I did not, and vice versa. Using different parenting styles for your children is totally normal.

My daughter is as easy-going as they come and extremely independent. She has been from the beginning. I remember when she was only a few months old, trying to cuddle her for a mid-day nap on my bed, and she was not having it. She could not get comfortable unless she had space to spread out. She is now seven and to this day, has never spent even an hour sleeping in our bed. Conversely, my son was the world’s clingiest baby and slept in our bed often until he was well over four. He regularly “checks in” physically, wanting hugs and kisses all the time. His sister is content for a quick morning hug and if I did not insist otherwise, nothing else until a peck on the cheek at bedtime. They are polar opposites in every way, honestly.

All of that said, my son is very sensitive and emotional. He ruminates over things and sometimes, will have trouble moving past a perceived slight without a very long discussion. He doesn’t handle being reprimanded as easily as she does so when we discipline him, we have to be ready for the long haul knowing it will be a little bit before he’s back to his usual self. He takes things very seriously and will harbor worries and concerns for a long time before telling us about them. She typically acknowledges what went wrong (cheerfully), accepts her punishment and moves on. It is never that simple with him.

I now understand why my parents handled my brother so differently. I was more easily able to brush things off and move on. My brother was not. He was a lot like my son, actually. In retrospect, I completely understand why my parents had such a different style of discipline and parenting with him. It was not that they favored him-he just needed them in a way that I did not. I appreciate that now that I am experiencing it myself and knowing how I felt as a kid, I am able to help my daughter and make sure she knows we are not favoring her brother. I’m glad my own experiences are able to inform me as a parent and benefit my kids.

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