Tuesday, April 10, 2007

W2W: Difficult Personalities

I was linked into this great idea on another blog from TJ. Since I am always in need of information, advice, and inspiration in regards to my children, I figured it would make for great self-analyzing and blogging.

Today's Woman to Woman topic is: Parenting children with difficult personalities

In her blog Lei mentions her preference for babies any day - and the same is true for me. Not so much because 2-5 years old aren't fun - but more because children one and under seem to have better schedules. I am one for schedules!

Will & Walker couldn't be any more different. Even when they were under one. While neither of them would be labeled as 'difficult personalities' I think what has been hardest for me is parenting children with polar-opposite personalities. Will came out with a built-in day planner, one that had been magically synced with my own. He slept through the night early on, pooped on schedule, ate on schedule, and was mellow as could be. Walker came out with his own wonderful agenda...one that has taken me his whole eighteen-months to just understand! I should have known, given his hyperactivity in the womb, his incredible response to sounds and touches while in there, and his quick birth!

As they've grown I've struggled to understand both of them and parent both of them well. Walker is a total textbook baby. Each email I get from the baby center about his growth mirrors exactly what he is going through and feels like a nice cold drink as I realize it's normal. Will is not so textbook: knew his letters and numbers to 20 before he was 2, knows 30 of the 50 states by name, shape, location, etc.

Now at almost three and nineteen months, I am realizing something. Dealing with their different personalities has really nothing to do with their personalities, but rather with my own personality. This has been a harsh realization for me. Initially there was a lot of blame placed from me to them on their mood swings, and their issues, and their behavior. In reality it was my behavior, issues, and mood swings that made them 'difficult'. Don't get me wrong - sometimes they are plain in the wrong! However, they are also little kids experiencing an enormous amount of learning and change.

One of my cousins has these incredible mood swings. She's my age - and she's wonderful. Yet if she has to pee - get her to a bathroom now or you risk cranky. If she's hungry, don't force her to go without food or you'll wish you were dying. Too much social interaction and her introverted personality is overloaded with stimulation, and you don't want to be around should she explode! Somehow I understand her moods and make excuses or arrangements for them all the time. Yet a 3 year old who is tired and skipped his nap, UGH!

Kids at this age are just trying to learn that there are rules, let alone what the rules are. Part of their identity process is to understand and push boundaries, to explore yes and no, and to learn what the reaction is to their actions! My goal is to continue to challenge myself to parent better. And not to compare the two kids - there is no way for fair comparison. When behavioral challenges present themselves it is up to me - not the 3 year old or 18 mo. old - to identify the issue, address it, and find a solution to it.


An Ordinary Mom said...

Wonderful insights. Often times it really is about understanding our own personalities so we can best mother our little ones. And each child is so different and that is what we need to celebrate. I am experiencing the same thing, too. Thanks for sharing your story!

Morning Glory said...

This was excellent!! I understand parenting children with very different personalities from each other.

Your thoughts are the second ones I've read today that reflect the responsibility of the moods being those of the mother. That's so good, and I could have used insight like that when I was a young mom.

Thank you for joining Lei and me today. I hope we see you on future topics.

Sunydazy said...

It sounds like you have put a lot of thought into who you are. That's good. Enjoy those kiddoes! All 5 of mine are so different too! Isn't it amazing?!

Lei said...

I totally get that my reaction to my children often bringsout, or at the very least flairs, the difficulties we have. It's a constant struggle, but I have a responsibility to be sensitive to their struggles and I try to dictate the tone of our day as much as I can by my attitude.

Thank you for your input! I am happy to see a new face at W to W!

Montserrat said...

I totally agree that we need to understand not only our children's personalities but also our own.

Great post!

Lisa M. said...

That was an interesting parable.

I think it is an applauded thought to consider the mood of the parent, reflective to the mood of the child. I'm sure you have tapped into something their.

I enjoyed this read-

Jen said...

I enjoyed reading your insights. I too get cranky if I have to pee or am hungry-why wouldn't my kiddos?