If you have more than one child how do you support and respect their differences?
Before I had kids I never thought about how much of a person’s character is inherent. Truthfully, it wasn’t until I had my second child that I really understood how people have a unique personality that is present from day 1. I know that sounds silly, but I’m being honest here.
Even in infancy I could tell that New Kid was a different person than his brother. Now, at the ages of 5 and 9, the brothers are very different and even when they have similar interests they express those interests in unique ways. As their parent I want to make sure I support their needs, and especially to support their different learning styles.
Last weekend the boys were side by side, playing Rush Hour*. When Kiddo was four, he got the Junior version and his systems, logic-oriented brain solved the puzzles almost immediately. He has no trouble with the game and prefers to play independently. He now breezes through both versions of the game, yet still he is drawn to the comforting logic of the puzzles. You can see him, above, playing independently on the floor. (Do you like our messy apartment? Just doing my part to help you feel better about your own housekeeping skills.)
New Kid, on the other hand, likes the game primarily because he know his brother loves it. He always asks for help and doesn’t want to play independently. He gets excited when he finishes a puzzle, but doesn’t breeze through them like his brother. In the photo above, my husband is working through the game with him.
While I was watching their playing, side by side, I was inspired to snap the photo to capture their varied approaches to the same game. It makes me smile to see them grow as individuals. I love helping them learn. When New Kid asks for help, I help him. I don’t point out that his brother is doing it all by himself. I never want them to think I compare them. When Kiddo says he wants to play alone, I allow him his privacy but let him know he can ask if he needs it.
I want them to grow up and think, “My mom respects ME. My mom loves me and my brother equally. My mom thinks I’m important.”
How are your kids different? How do you support those differences?
*Rush Hour is one of our very favorite games and I’ve written about it several times, you can learn more about it on my games guide.