Cut from the same cloth, different designs

As a parent, nurturing our children to be the best version of themselves is something I believe we should strive for. But when you have more than one child, you very quickly find that the personalities of our children are often different. For me, both my girls couldn’t be more opposite. And although I am very grateful for these two very different individuals that God has placed in my life, nurturing them to be the best version of themselves has been one of my biggest parenting challenges.

When I had my older daughter, she made the first few years of being a mum an absolute walk in the park. She was what you’d call “every mothers dream” as she never cried without a reason and once her needs were met, she was content. But then I had my younger daughter, and she was a strong character from the moment she entered into this world.

Even her birth was dramatic and she has not stopped being that force. My goal is to never dim both their personalities but there are days I feel very tired and just wished I had a remote control to tell them what I wanted at that moment and it’ll happen just like that. (I wish).

Sometimes, it just feels easier to adopt what is easier for you as a parenting style and hope that they’ll just fall in line, but who am I kidding.

Cut from the same cloth, different designs

The reality is that I also have my personality traits that influence how I relate with people including my children. However, I am learning to consciously recognize that this may not always work for them as we are all so different. It may in fact put at least one of them at a disadvantage or even both because the parenting style that may be easiest for you, may not meet their individual needs and may suppress that personality that needs to shine.

According to research from a New York Times article, when it comes to personality traits, siblings are similar only 20% of the time. This, therefore, means that their individual personalities will vary even when they live in the same household and follow the same rules, it’s never a “one size fits all.”

So how do we approach our children differently to achieve the same outcome for each of them which is to be authentic and true to their personality traits?

I don’t have the answers but based on my personal experiences, I have had to be schooled lots of times by my children and it can be humbling. For instance, I recognize that my older child can be shy and afraid to take on tasks head because she fears the outcome of things even before she attempts them, but she is smart, intelligent, and uniquely gifted in areas of art.

As a parent, I must learn to help her identify her strengths and see herself as someone who can take on the world if she truly believes in herself.

I embrace the strengths of my daughters and also recognize their failures as part of success.

On the other hand, I have my younger one who is extremely compassionate, fearless, and speaks her mind not worrying about consequences. If it bothers her, you’ll know about it. She recognizes her strength without needing help from anyone. But still, she hates disappointments because she’s a true perfectionist and is hard on herself when she gets things wrong.

My role is to help her embrace her strengths but also recognize failure as part of the process. That owning her truth is a great attribute but the delivery of that truth is also important.

There are similarities between them that I see; they both hate to fail at things but it’s how they approach it. Both are sensitive but approach life from different angles when interacting with others. One is happy to have everyone in her circle while the other negotiates her boundaries very quickly.

For me, I am a student open to learning every day from my children. I have learned so much about myself by being open to interacting with them as individuals. My patience has been tested many times, and I often get it wrong, but together, I let them take the lead in helping me see them how God made them and what my role is in their journey through life.

I certainly don’t always get it right, but I try to stay present, but even when life gets in the way, I always try to make their way to me a judgment-free zone and my way to them, a humbling one where I own my flaws.

Through that process, I have learned to say “I don’t know” when faced with situations that seem beyond me to deal with. (We don’t always have to pretend to know it all, kids can quickly source this out).

My patience has been tested many times, and I often get it wrong, but together, I let them take the lead in helping me see them how God made them and what my role is in their journey through life

Pamela Shedeinde

Being honest with your children is a whole discussion on its own, but it genuinely lets them see you as a human being who is not perfect, who is transparent and trust can be established.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this, then don’t forget to like it, share and I particularly enjoy reading your comments. How do you negotiate the different personalities of your children? Drop your thought in the comment section.

1 thought on “Cut from the same cloth, different designs”

  1. Beautiful piece as always. I totally agree with your submission from carefully arrived observations. One thing that comes to my mind is the constant temptation of titling towards one child as opposed to the other especially when the children in focus shares similar traits with you. I’ve learnt to accept and adapt to each child’s unique personality. I’ve also remarkably discovered the beauty of complementary roles, my Son blends and fills the blanks of my daughter and she brilliantly does the same for him. I’ve also learnt to accept their dislikes with all the humility I can afford and never to “always” impose my will on them. I’ve become somewhat of a balancer!

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