“Parenting sure is tough.” I bet you’ve heard that a million times before but that doesn’t make it any less true. Nothing challenges you like having to bring up children and always worrying that you might make a parenting mistake that will scar them for life.

I remember before becoming a parent I thought I had all the answers. I used to watch parents with unruly, screaming kids and I’d think my kids would never be like that. I’d make sure they were disciplined and I’d be the most productive parent—getting them to follow my lead would be easy.

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Boy, was I wrong.

When my firstborn son came on the scene all my knowledge was turned on its head. Since he was a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder, I had to change my entire parenting approach. Having RAD meant he had an inability to form attachments with others and it took years of patience, work and even professional help to build a bond with him.

Not so with my eldest daughter. From the onset, she was a bubbly, lively child who faced the world head-on. She was outgoing and didn’t shy away from people unlike her younger sister- our lastborn. My second-born son, on the other hand, has a more practical outlook on life. He likes to mull things over in his head before acting and nothing makes him happier than being left alone to read.

So why am I telling you all this? Somewhere along this parenting journey I finally figured out that children don’t emerge from a “one size fits all” box—so my parenting method needn’t be like that either. I had to adapt my parenting technique to fit each of their unique personalities and temperaments in order to get through to them. Here are the two most important lessons I can share with other parents:

I’ve Learned To Accept My Children As They Are

I had ideas and expectations for my children when they were babies: the hobbies they would enjoy, the things they would be good at. But as they got older, they were much different than I had imagined. But this is totally okay! I’ve learned to accept my kids as they are. I’ve also realized that their different personalities require different parenting techniques. Once I was able to clear this hurdle, it was much easier to work with them.

I Try To Speak Their Language

My children each respond differently to different parenting methods. My second born son thrives where there are clear rules while my first daughter prefers a little wriggle room or she’ll rebel. Part of getting my kids to open up was learning what works with each child’s unique personality instead of applying a blanket parenting method to all of my children.

There will always be people around to criticize your way of doing things but remember that your family’s safety, happiness, and well-being comes first. So don’t be shamed into changing the way you do things if your parenting method seems different from someone else’s. Be confident in your abilities, your intuition and your personal relationship with your very unique family members.

Featured Photo Courtesy: Konstantin Yuganov/Adobe Stock