Parenting In Faith“Embrace Our Children’s Differences ”

Parenting In Faith“Embrace Our Children’s Differences ”
By Donna Rayburn
It’s easiest to parent a child who is most like us. Let’s face it, with similar personalities, drive, logic and views, coaching and teaching comes naturally. So, where does that leave the child who has a different personality, drive, logic or view from us? Since we don’t have a handy “parenting manual” available when our children are born, we have to spend time understanding and observing our children. We evaluate how they think, feel, act and speak as they grow because they are constantly changing.Since my oldest child is so much like me, parenting her strengths and weaknesses has come pretty easy. Seeing my own weaknesses in her behavior is eye opening. As my other children are getting older, I have been challenged to research girl and boy behaviors as they mature. Bring on the challenge! I read the Bible and prayed. I read books recommended by my pediatrician, my friends, my school or others that specialize in the child’s behavior I am trying to understand.Call me slow, but it wasn’t until my second child was in first grade and several resource books later that I realized that I couldn’t make her or any of my other children into someone they aren’t. Once I truly embarked on a mission to observe and embrace all my children’s personalities, I saw how lucky I was to have children with such unique gifts. A huge weight was lifted from my shoulders when I realized that I shouldn’t try to change my more introverted children into being extroverts though they are living in an extroverted world. My job is to help them adapt to extroverted situations that make them feel uncomfortable. Role playing has been a great tool to help my children deal with these situations. It is gratifying to me to see how proud they are of themselves for challenging themselves to conquer uncomfortable situations!Now, years after my revelation, hearing one of my more introverted child’s belly laugh at a crowded party makes me cry inside for joy because I know she is truly happy with herself. Hallelujah to our Lord for giving me guidance! Donna Rayburn is a local resident, mother of four and author of I Accidentally…, a story about her son’s kindergarten adventures. donna@ospreyobserver.com.