Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Parenting the Child You Have πŸ§’πŸΎπŸ§’πŸ»

 Is your child WAAAAY different than the child you imagined you’d have? If so, you’re definitely NOT ALONE!

Every parent has a “fantasy” in their mind of the type of child they’ll have before that child is even born - what the child might look like, their personality characteristics, their skills, abilities and interests, how they’ll relate to others and get along in the world. While our kids do end up with some of the qualities and characteristics we imagined and hoped for, they can also be so very different from what we expected - and from us - that we struggle to understand and connect with them.

What’s important to remember is that our child being different from us or from what we imagined isn’t a bad thing. Our job as parents is to figure out who this child is - how they think, how they feel, how they communicate, how they experience their environment, how they connect with others and how they relate - and parent the child we have.

Some kids are more laid back, chill, quiet or observant while others are more outgoing, high energy and super social. Some kids tolerate feelings, change or emotional challenges with relative ease and others are such deep thinkers and feelers that these kinds of things take more emotional and mental effort. 

Who are your kids? What are their personalities? How do they perceive and react to daily challenges? What might they need to help with various social and emotional issues? 

While YOU might want to talk something out, YOUR KIDDO might need some quiet time to sit and reflect. YOU might want to help problem solve an issue your kiddo brings to you but THEY might want someone just to listen to them.

Every child is unique and different.

We need to accept our kids for who they are (their strengths, challenges, quirks, likes, and dislikes) and learn how to engage our kids in ways that work for THEM (not in ways that just work for us as parents). When we truly understand how our child thinks, feels and experiences things (especially if this is very different from how we operate), we can interact and connect with them in ways that feel warm, safe and supportive to our child, not in ways that leave everyone feeling frustrated and misunderstood.

Parenting in ways that meet the needs of the kiddos we have not only shows our kids that we “get them,” but it ultimately helps them develop their self-esteem, learn to manage their emotions, be responsible, and have fulfilling relationships. And isn’t this really what we want for them?