“I see pride, I see power, I see a bad ass mother who don’t take no crap off of no one” – Cool Runnings, aka one of the best 90’s movies (about an Olympic Bobsled team) of all time.
I’ve often remarked, as has every person who’s spent any amount of time with both of my children, how completely opposite they are. They look alike, yes, but in terms of personality and disposition – it couldn’t be more opposite. Daughter is mellow, easy going and gentle, son No.2 is a fucking jackass. That being said I always thought that regardless of how my kids personalities differed my parenting style will be fairly similar. I didn’t want to be inconsistent as a parent and I feared it would leave my kids feeling resentful of one another or confused about what fallout there may be.
This being my theory before I had two children who had a mild ability to communicate their needs (most of the time). That’s when I learned that theories are simply that…a nice idea used to justify a course of action. The reality of parenting two completely different human beings shot my theory right in the face. We tried, we really tried to be the same, we tried to but it’s impossible. What works well with one child has absolutely no affect whatsoever on the other…I’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which. It’s such a ridiculous theory now that I feel silly having even thought it would be possible.
Kid No.2 is the biggest challenge of my entire life and we have had to become completely different parents to him than we are to my daughter, resentments be damned. His personality is so wily, demanding, hot tempered and greedy that in trying to parent him in a similar fashion we realized he was completely running the household and running us ragged in the process. Hubs and I had a “come to Jesus” moment while on holidays, and decided how we were going to take control over this little pile of nutsack. We were no longer his parents, we were his drill sergeants!
We would give this guy no slack; it was basic training time and he was getting whipped into shape. I never thought I would be so tough and rigid with my child, and I was afraid that it would leave him feeling sad and alienated. We were so pleasantly surprised that it’s been the opposite. The change in him is so extreme and drastic for the better that we have been hi-fiving ever since. Clearly his temperament is thriving from way more structure, consistent consequences and zero tolerance for not listening.
I’ve been able to find a happy medium because the loads of affection I pile on him hasn’t changed but it’s balanced off with a bad ass mother who don’t take no crap off of no one (yes I quote Cool Runnings in my head as often as required).