Years ago, I was chatting with another mom at a play group, who had daughters just a few months older than mine. She was talking about how much she adored her kids. Possibly, she loved them to the exclusion of everything else. She could not imagine how dull and pointless a person's life would be without them.
The signs are as clear as the nose on your face: as a toddler, your daughter had extreme stranger anxiety and a great deal of trouble warming up to new people (even her grandparents); as a preschooler, your son came home from daycare and immediately escaped to the privacy of his room; as a teenager, your child could speak beautifully in front of the whole class but avoided the after-school social because she said she couldn't deal with large groups of people. Congratulations! You're raising an introvert. How on earth are you going to cope?
Picture the scene: Family reunion at home for the holidays. Turkey in the center. Questionable casserole on your left. Immediate family, cousins, and in-laws only inches apart at the long, rarely-used dining table. It seems to be going well. Then it starts.
I suppose it has become typical of social media. A stay-at-home mum (SAHM) wrote an article saying that although she was grateful to be a mother, being at home full-time was just awful at times. She wrote of the stress, the loneliness and the boredom. Another SAHM then wrote in reply. She slammed the first mum’s confessions as unnecessarily negative—even downright wrong. She claimed it was the biggest joy she’d known and loved every minute of it.
So the war was on.
A war of words, a war of perspectives, a war of personality and difference.
When it comes to raising well-behaved children, one size does not fit all. A simple "no" might be enough to get your rule-abiding, people-pleasing son to lift his hand out of the cookie jar. But if your strong-willed daughter enjoys pushing boundaries, then you are going to need a different approach.
Shy and thoughtful one day, rambunctious firecracker the next - toddlers are works in progress when it comes to developing their personality. While most parents will recognize distinct personality traits from the get-go, young children tend to defy classification by exhibiting behaviors that seem to come out of left field. Trying to label an egocentric, emotionally unpredictable, tantrum-throwing two-year old is a bit like trying to hiss and yawn at the same time - an impossible feat.
But you are not as helpless as you may sometimes feel.
You are the life and soul of the party and never miss a social engagement. Your son prefers to sit in his bedroom and read.
You love clothes, shoes and makeup and take care of your appearance. Your daughter is a slob who refuses to shower, won't brush her hair and has no interest in clothes.
You're an introvert who needs time alone every day. Your toddler follows you everywhere and never stops chattering. You can't even take a pee without this little firecracker hanging onto your ankles.
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