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Whether you had an “oopsy” or methodically, thought out, well-planned pregnancy, your bundle of joy, snuggled in your womb is just waiting to be born. Your anticipation of the excitement, joys, scary ‘what if’ moments, and the overflowing emotions of love are ready and eager to pour out all over this child. Well… that is until just a few years later as their personality really is developing – it comes out… just like that water balloon that was filled just a wee bit too much. Next thing you know… POP! As clear as day, the voice of your mother fills your ears… just you wait till you have your own! They’ll turn out just like you. …And she was right.
Let’s face it, the denial phase has worn out… she was right!! Ugh, now what do you do? Well, before you go crawling back, feeling defeated under the scrutiny of her words, here’s what you can do about it and even get a heads up on, Mom.
Of course, most babies start out pretty much the “same” on some level. If you are a parent of two or more, you definitely know what we’re talking about. They start out little, squishy, and squirmy, going through the normal growth patterns, but, then it happens. The contrast between baby one and baby two is like the planet Mercury and the former planet Pluto. Yes, it’s that dynamic. Have baby number two, we dare you! High five someone if you know what we’re talking about.
Unbeknownst to you, no matter what you say, do, or differentiate from your parent’s upbringing, it’s that ONE kid who seems to be just… like… you. They somehow traveled back in time, watched re-runs of your home life and how you reacted to circumstances, teachings, and defiance, and then, embedded themselves with your actions and brought it straight to the table. You may be wondering, is this nature or nurture? The biological, embedded genes that caused you to act out in certain ways, or is it purely environment, what you say, do, and teach directly? Because, let’s face it, you certainly didn’t teach them THAT.
That one (or several, be honest with yourself) thing you see in your child and instantly takes you back to a time that you would have reacted and responded in exactly… that… same way. Annoying isn’t it? It’s bad enough you had to break yourself out of those negative habits, but now, you’re in dejà vu all over again, and your child doesn’t want to hear it.
So, what do you do?
Love on them all the more.
Really, that’s what it comes down to: loving them knowing what it is they are experiencing. Think of it this way… it’s like you just became the predictable parent. You’ve been there, done that… and you know why they responded or reacted the way they did. They’re you. A mini, inexperienced, defiant, little you.
There’s a part of them that you didn’t have to convey, express, or teach them – it just came to them inherently, naturally. This doesn’t have to be all negative, mind you. You have the best of both worlds when it comes to dealing with a child who seems to be the mini version of you, male or female. Yes, they may have the defiance factor that you recognize oh so clearly, but take a deeper look.
Do they have the compassion you have, the kindness, thoughtfulness, an uncanny knack for being direct but trustworthy? So many facets of a personality – take a moment to see what’s in your child other than those standout moments of, “He is just like me.”
Once you recognize it, embrace it and love on them. Communicate that you truly do know how they feel and back it up with your own childhood story. Your children love to hear stories and what better way to communicate your understanding of what they are going through than to tell them what happened to you.
One tendency that gets under our skin and can make parenting harder is knowing what they are going through and then trying to dissuade them from taking the “wrong course of action” – you know, because you felt what they are feeling and you took that course of action and it didn’t go so well! Well, this doesn’t work – most of the time. Why? Because they don’t have your infinite wisdom, nor years of the “oops, not a great turn-out” experience – they are where you were at – take sincere note of this.
Did you follow your parent’s advice wholeheartedly? Were you as receptive and forthcoming with your feelings in certain situations? Maybe, maybe not. If not, here’s where you can predict – they are thinking very similarly just like you did. On that note… as you communicate and interact with your child, you have the upper hand in some way – because you may know how they’ll respond. If you do, try a different approach. How would you have liked to have been advised by your parents knowing what you know now?
Case in point – We have a son who is in “love” and wants to be with this person. I know exactly how he feels and what he is going through. However, I know now that it wasn’t love I felt. It was the rush of hormones coupled with lust and admiration for someone else for the first time – EVER! But, I can tell you, at that point in my life, I knew I was in love and if anyone told me differently – I would’ve just loved all the more and it would have been that much harder to prove them wrong.
So what do you do now as the parent who hears this from their child? You understand, you probably have felt the same way – so here’s what happened with us…. – Andi
As parents we shouldn’t discount how our child genuinely feels because we’ve felt that way too. Feelings change moment by moment, day by day – their perception is based upon their feelings and that is their reality.
With this in mind – dealing with your child who tends to react and respond just like you did (or still do – and that’s okay) – take that into consideration – Take a moment to understand them… just like you wanted to be understood. Next thing you know, ‘dealing’ with this child will become more like – loving yourself all over again. Lucky you.
Photo credits: AndiL