It’s evident to me, by now, that my kids are very different.
The most obvious differences (one’s a girl and one’s a boy; one’s almost eight and one’s four) aside, their characters are very different. They have very different personalities and they take instructions very differently.
Which is why I teach and discipline them in different ways too.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have different standards of discipline for them. But because of their age and character differences, I use different methods to discipline them, sometimes for the same things that they do.
I cannot expect my four year old son to have the same reasoning abilities as my eight year old daughter. They are at such different developmental stages and they are facing different challenges every day.
My four year old son still speaks gibberish sometimes, and says random things that doesn’t always link with his last sentence. He still surprises me every day with what he understands and what he doesn’t. He loves watching tv and flipping books, but he doesn’t read yet and still confuses his colours and numbers from time to time.
My son tries to change subjects when he senses that I am being serious and trying to teach him things. But he knows when to calm himself from tantrums and tears, especially when he knows I’m mad at him.
My eight year old daughter learnt to talk at a very young age. She was speaking in sentences before she was two and is a wonderful conversationalist. She makes friends easily and is not afraid to speak her mind. She loves reading and is very knowledgeable because she reads anything from fiction to science books.
My daughter has always been a keen learner who loves arts and can draw for hours. But she is still learning to calm herself from tantrums and tears, even when she knows I’m mad at her.
Two kids, both born from the same set of parents, but oh so different in developmental stages and character.
I love both my kids the same and I want the best for both of them. I expect the same kind of discipline and effort from them, but there is just no way I can teach them using the same methods.
It can get confusing when my kids observe how I use different methods on them, especially for my firstborn. Which is why I make it a point to explain to her that I cannot teach her eight year old self the same way I teach her four year old brother. It is the same as how she gets her eight year old privileges while her brother gets what four year olds do.
I’ve been told that it seems like I treat my kids differently, that I am stricter with one than the other. But it doesn’t matter.
As a parent, I know my kids are NOT all the same, and no one else knows my kids like I do. At the same time, no one else knows how else I dote and pamper my kids, above and beyond the discipline moments, when I am alone with them.
Is it okay to customise to each of my kids and discipline them differently? I think so. The bottomline though, is how my intentions for them will always be the same.