Raising children with different temperaments

Is your firstborn an easy-going, compliant, eager-to-please child? Yet your second born is strong-willed, fussy and defiant? Raising children with different temperaments? I hear you!

Our youngest son is almost four yet I feel that my husband and I are STILL adjusting to how different he is to our firstborn son! He is a beautiful little fire-cracker and definitely keeps us on our toes. I catch myself at times comparing the two and that’s not fair on either child. They are both unique and wonderful.

Embrace their differences

I read in an article¬†that studies have shown siblings are similar only 20% of the time. That may explain a few things, but doesn’t make our job of parenting any easier! I firmly believe our kids are mostly the way they are because they were born that way. Their little personalities would be the same regardless of parenting style or in which order they were born. Behaviours are sometimes learned (and can be changed) but personalities are part of how God made us. And it would be a boring world if He made us all the same! Learning each child’s individual Love Language is also a great help in parenting different temperaments. We must learn to embrace our children’s differences. Not only that, we must celebrate them!

Different dynamics

Our personalities as parents also come into play when dealing with different temperaments. The dynamic between yourself and one child can be completely different from that with another child. I know my mother and I are very similar in a lot of ways, so we clashed a lot when I was growing up. Yet it was a different story with my brothers.

I see many of my own attributes in my children, which has lead to some of our own clashes. Hence why my stubborn youngest son cannot be moved by me matching his stubbornness (which I can do well!).

Change your game plan

As parents we sometimes expect our one-size-fits-all parenting to work the same with all our kids despite their unique personalities and temperaments. Each kid requires their own game plan! This doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that will get easier with time. There’s a particular way of communicating with my youngest boy that gently breaks down his walls and gets us to the desired outcome. My older boy is sensitive in his own way but he responds quite differently (somewhat easier at times!) to directions. It’s all about finding a technique that works with each individual child.

May we learn to embrace and celebrate our kids’ unique personalities and temperaments as we continue on this journey of parenting!

Paula Miller
MOPS Blog Administrator

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