Monday, May 09, 2011

From the same parents but so different

Each child is different. That is an understatement.

Every child is really different and special in their own way. I am often amazed at how different my children are in their personalities.

For example, when I bring lunch for them when they have to stay back in school, the boy would look at his lunchbox eagerly to see what is in it. Then he would eat either make a face or grin happily then eat quickly and leave without a backword glance at me. He would be too eager to get to his class on time with his friend.

On the other hand, the girl would not be very interested in her food. She would glance at it naturally and smile if it is something she likes but she would be more interested to talk to me about something that happened to her in class. Then she would eat very slowly while trying to talk at the same time. After which, she would pack her activity bag slowly and diligently trying not to leave anything out, then turn towards me and wave again and again at least half a dozen times while walking off.

The boy is relaxed, a bit careless, somewhat self assured, independant, and very caring and affectionate.

The girl is anxious, lacks confidence and therefore reliant and dependant, a thinker who is rather intelligent and extremely inquisitive.

They both come from the same parents who bring them up the same way. Because of their very different natures, I am constantly having a very challenging time trying to make sure that they both feel loved equally.

At the moment, I am doing quite a miserable job at it. Just the other day, my girl mumbled to herself "why does mummy always laugh at baby but not at me?" That is because the boy is a joker and can often bring a sponstaneous smile or laughter out from anyone. I see the girl trying very hard to get the same sponstaneous laughter from me. Then she would ask "Is it funny? Is it really funny or are you just pretending?"

She is really trying very hard. Sometimes she tries at a time when I am most busy and preoccupied. I really want to make her feel special and loved but sometimes her constant need for attention and endless queries and questions tires me. "Mummy, did I remember to put in my completed homework in my bag? Are you sure I did? Are you sure I packed my bags for Monday?/Tuesday? etc etc. I tell her it is her responsibility but she is so anxious that she has to seek reassurance from me all the time. She tries to get me to do things for her all the time which is very tiring. "Mummy can you bathe for me. Mummy can you feed me? Mummy, will you help me pack my school bag? Will you help me put the books in my bag? Will you sit beside me and see me pack?" etc.

The boy does not do this. He packs his bag on his own, carelessly dumping his books into his bag. He bathes, eat and does everything independantly and goes away to play on his own when I tell him I am busy.

My sisters tells me that their firstborn behave in the same manner as mine while their second born is more independant like mine. I wonder if that is the case.

I really have a headache. I really have a headache trying to handle this. As a parent, I feel that I must make sure there is no favouritism in my home. I feel that favouritism destroys the sibling relationship. I have seen it in my husband's family and in mine. In my case, I am the favourite child quite by default but I have seen the unhappiness it can cause to other siblings. In my husband's case, he is the least favourite and it causes all sorts of problems too.

So there is no favouritism in my household or at least I try to make sure there isn't... and yet.... there somehow seems to be a "perceived" favouritism going on. I wish I had a magic wand to resolve all sorts of problems.

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  1. Hi MG,

    In my own experience, I believe that when the first-born was the only child, both parents plus family members tend to shower him/her with lots of attention esp time and material things.

    However, when the following child comes into the picture, there is less of such focus on him/her esp from the parents. This I believe do "mould" their characters and personalities to some extent.

    As for the first-born, the "sudden" lack of time and attention tend to create the "missing years" that I mentioned in my comments before.

    In addition, being "older", the first-born "is expected" to be more mature altho still young - i.e. below 12 years.

    It is hard to try remedy the situation but as parents, we need to see things from the child's perspective. As such, as you shared once, the change needs to begin with ourselves as parents first and not the child in this case. I hope this helps and acts as a "magic wand" to you.

  2. Hello Greg,
    Thank you for the "magic wand". I know that I hold it in my hand all the while. It is just that I don't know how to use it well, that is all, making in change in me that is. I find it hard to fix my impatience with the constant whining, questions, dependancy and other attention seeking behaviour. I believe my reactions make the behaviour worse but my reactions always seem to be the same no matter how hard I try. I guess I am just not trying hard enough. :(


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