Those were my grandmother's words of wisdom for me last night. She sat there smiling while I talked about how different the kids are. I was saying to her, I just don't know what I'm going to do about my son. As I was going on and on, she just laughed in that knowing grandmother been there done that kind of way. She smiled and said “no two are alike.” Mema drove a school bus for 27 years and raised 4 children of her own so she has seen a lot of kids in her time. Then she told me a story of a time when one of her bosses said “you know Mrs. Duncan, I never hear about any trouble on your bus. How do you do it?” She told him, “No two children are alike. You just have to accept that and it makes life easier. There is no cure all for them, you just have to deal with them as individuals.”
I have learned in his 2.5 years of life that what works with my daughter does not work on him. I can tell her, that hurts mommy's feelings and she will apologize. If I say that to him, he just looks at me like I'm crazy and goes back to doing whatever he wants to do. Gotta love it! Or at least that's what I'm told. I was a teacher before having kids, so I knew that every child is different but I guess I didn't know it. Mema laughs at my stories, and says I know it's not funny to you honey but it is funny. That's the beauty of being a great grandmother, behavior issues aren't your problem.
My daughter is easy going, listens (most of the time!), petite, attentive, and delicate. My son is loud, rough, ornery, stubborn, and a tank. God gave me her before my son because He knew if my son was first, I would refuse to have another baby! My daughter is a very compliant child, and always has been. My son though he does things just to do them. If you tell him no he will look at you, smile, and do it anyways. Do you want a timeout? He will sit down, grinning like a Cheshire cat. Do you want a spanking? He will go get the spoon. Some days, all I can do is throw my arms up and laugh out of exasperation. Anyone else feel my pain here?
Discipline is important. But, there is no sure fire way to get your child to behave. I'm a living testimony to that. People who have compliant children think it's due to their superior parenting skills, nope, it's just how they were made. With that being said, let me publicly apologize if I ever had that air of superiority with you. My daughter is an easy going child, which made for easy going parenting. No need to focus all my energy on getting her to listen, just tell her and it's done. I'm now living on the other end of that spectrum and it's hard. All the parenting books and well meaning advice just do not apply. I've gotten to the point where I laugh and say ok sure, why don't you try that with him and let me know how it goes. Don't get me wrong, I'm not being smug, I'm just exhausted!
Mema is right of course. We just have to deal with our children as individuals. I haven't found what works with my son but I'm going to keep trying. That's all we can do as parents, do the best we can with these little people who don't come with instructions. My first goal: not to lose my sanity in the process. The second? Well, I'll let you know after I have successfully completed the first.
Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children and no theories. – John Wilmot
You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance. -Franklin P. Jones