Your Kids and Their Different Personalities
I knew I was in for a treat when I brought my third child home from the hospital. He had to be rocked all the time and never, I mean never be put down in his crib. The experts encouraged me to put him down and let him wail all night until he got use to his crib, but I disagreed with that approach. I simply could not bear to hear my baby crying. I had two children already and I never had to let those two wail through the night. Why start now? I made it through the next three years with little sleep, while that little boy and I became best night time buddies. Research shows that personalities displayed very early in life will stay with us until adulthood. Oh boy! I guess we have a few more sleepless nights to go.
Three completely different children live under my roof. You would never know that all three share the same father and mother. Their personalities are as distinct as their unique thumb prints. By personality I am referring to the consistency of their behavior in a wide variety of situations. It amazes me how my older child can be so determined, playful, and imaginative; the second one be so orderly, respectful, and philosophical; and the third one be so practical, outspoken, and strong willed! After I realized that sleep was overrated, I began to appreciate them for who they are. I have found that the key is not to resent their personality traits, but to embrace them and use their strengths to help our family shine as a team. Each individual member makes the family unit stronger with their skills and personality traits. My determined and fun loving daughter teaches my timid child how to be more adventurous. My niece is physically strong and my son is mentally alert. The two of them make a great team of brawn and brain. My youngest son’s determination makes him a great worker; he negotiates allowances and rewards for big jobs and everyone benefits from his practical approach and leadership. Our challenge as parents is to find their place within the family unit and plug them in. Children are pre-wired to be who they are. So you can either embrace their wiring by helping them shine in the context of the family, or you can disassemble them, crush their spirit and engage in endless power struggles.
Regardless of their personality, the most important thing is to focus on their character. No matter if our children are outgoing or timid, rambunctious or adaptable, they can all be taught character through intentional parental practices. We can adapt our teaching methods to their personalities. We can always be an example, tell them stories related to the character traits, illustrate what that character looks like in the real world and help them practice those character traits when the opportunities arise. By focusing on character development and teamwork, we not only create a more peaceful and harmonious household, but also help mold individuals that benefit their society as well as themselves. A child’s personality infused with a strong character can enrich their school, their friendships, and eventually their own calling.
Children grow up and leave our homes and they set out to make a mark on the world. When mine leave, I want them to do so pursuing a career that is a great match for their personality. I hope to see their field of work and those around them benefit from their unique personality and their strong character.
Let’s raise exceptional and active individuals that make an extraordinary difference in the world. It all starts by accepting our children for who they are, by choosing to enjoy their personalities, by making space for them in our lives, and by making character building (not changing their personality) the focus of our parenting efforts.