I think we would all agree that no two children are exactly alike. Even though we just have two daughters, they definitely have their own individual personalities.
One leans a bit to the obsessive-compulsive side (like her mother) and likes keeping her things tidy and her personal space in order. She prefers a routine and is comfortable having an exact schedule of how her day should unfold.
The other is more of a free spirit who isn’t bothered by clutter and enjoys moving from one activity to another, leaving a trail of discarded playthings behind her. She is easily distracted and sometimes seems to live in hope that if she procrastinates on completing a task long enough, she won’t have to do it.
As a mom, it can sometimes be frustrating handling these differences. There are positives and negatives in dealing with each one, depending on the situation. Lately I have come up with a few thoughts that I try to keep in mind.
- Accept the differences. Never compare one child to another, especially verbally to your children. Realize that just as you have your own strengths and weaknesses, so, too, will your children.
- Be sure to develop their character in spite of their weaknesses. Just because one child tends to be flighty and easily distracted, you must still work with him to stay on task and finish what’s he’s been asked to do. For the one who thrives on structure, help him learn that sometimes it is necessary to “go with the flow.” It will take more training and creativity on your part to foster those traits that don’t come naturally, but it is so important to help them grow in those attributes that they are lacking.
- Get input from your spouse. Since his personality is probably dissimilar from yours, he will likely have a different perspective and will be able to give suggestions on areas where each child needs help and can perhaps, at times, connect with them on a better level than you can.
Each of our girls has been created by God as a unique person with all of the qualities that they need to fulfill God’s purpose for their lives. I see my job as one of training them to be young women of character with a love of life and a heart for the things of God.