My Child Is So Different From Me… How Can I Relate?
For nine months we plan, dream and fantasize about how it will be when this “perfect” baby we created finally arrives into the world. Will it look just like me? Will the baby have my husband’s brains or personality? Will she be athletic or a drama queen?
These are all questions we ask ourselves when thinking about what our children will be like. Many times, parents picture a miniature version of themselves or their spouse. What parents fail to realize is that there is no checklist where they get to fill in the boxes of what they want or don’t want for their bundle of joy. As we tell our children, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”
On a recent walk with a few of my girlfriends, we were talking about how our children in some ways remind us so much of ourselves, but in other ways are so very different. Laughing at the similarities and differences of each one of us too! We talked about how important it is to foster our childrens’ passions and strengths, even if it wasn’t something we were passionate about.
Sometimes this can be easier said than done. I noticed that for similar sexes it was more difficult. For instance a manly macho dad whose son is into theater or dance may struggle with the idea that his son isn’t the athlete he always dreamed he would have. A mom who was always very sociable and outgoing might have a hard time relating to her shy and quiet daughter.
Here is some important advice for parents who may be struggling with this.
- Showing your child you’re disappointed in them because they aren’t like you is going to impact them severely. Trust me, they know when you are disappointed, even if you don’t say it out loud. Actions speak louder than words.
- Allowing your child to follow their own dreams and interests will make them more confident individuals as they grow up.
- Children are forever changing. What they are like at 5 years old, can be very different from what they are like at 10. Give them a chance to bloom into who they naturally are wired to become.
- Maybe it’s not you, but your spouse that is struggling. It is important to make them aware of what they are doing. They might not realize the detriment they will cause by not supporting their child’s interests.
- If all we had in the world were stereo-typical boys and girls, athletes and dancers, we would have a very BORING world. Different and unique is a GOOD thing!
- Forcing your child to do something they don’t want to do usually doesn’t work out. When you try to make them someone who they are not, you create a situation of anger and resentment.
- Be open-minded! Watch your child closely and see the twinkle in their eyes when they are doing something they really want to do. That is how you know what they are enjoying most.
As parents, we all want what is best for our children. It is our job to make sure they are safe, cared for, and happy. Part of that job is watching them closely as they grow up and seeing where they shine most. We need to encourage their passion and drive and make sure our kids know how proud we are of their choices, even if these choices aren’t what we would choose personally. Remember, your children weren’t created to re-create who you are, they are their own person, special and unique in many ways. Embrace their differences!
Mental Health Consultant
Follow Stefanie on Twitter at @askstefanie and Like the ASK STEFANIE page on Facebook
- My Child Is So Different From Me… How Can I Relate?