On the path of self discovery, I’ve arrived at many conclusions. One is that no two children are alike. While they may be cut from the same parental cloth, they are uniquely designed. It was many years after having my second child that this became truth for me. Sure, there were telltale signs from as early as the second day of his birth, but somehow my desire to duplicate my older son overshadowed the indicators.
The dichotomy between my two sons knocked me off my feet! One is night; the other is day. One is peanut butter; the other is jelly. One goes along with the program; the other is the program. One is ebb; the other is flow. I just could not adjust! The nearly immediate transition of mind, body, and soul…literally...challenged me beyond belief. Throw in an unexpected bout of post-partum depression and you have the making of disaster. “This was not a part of the plan,” I would often think.
I was overwhelmed and often found myself wishing, hoping, praying, and even verbally expressing, “Why can’t you be like your brother?” I’m not proud of that at all. In fact, the mere typing of those words caused my stomach to drop. Sadly, I know I’m not alone. I’ve engaged with enough moms and dads who, too, are guilty of harboring that thought..
For the first six years of his life, we bumped heads. Exhausted, I began to search for answers. It was not long before I discovered the solutions began and ended with me. I had to change my approach, accept his uniqueness, address, his individuality, and ensure he was appreciated. I had to discover who my son truly was and, most importantly, who he was not. Below are three initial ways I accomplished this goal:
- I discovered his learning style: Statistics show that a large majority of children are classified as linguistic learners. That is, they learn best by using syntax (the study of rules), phonology (the study of sound), semantics (the study of meanings), and pragmatics (which deals with logic). My younger son, on the other hand, is without question a bodily-kinesthetic/musical learner. In short, he learns best by moving so I no longer harp on him to sit down.
- I discovered his love language: Dr. Gary Chapman became one of my best friends when I got hold of his book The Five Love Languages. He shares that words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, and physical touch are ways we can help another person feel loved. I discovered that my son’s love languages are receiving gifts and physical touch. No wonder he hugs me a hundred times a day and expects a treat just as often. Genius!
- I discovered his personality type: For many years, I thought there were just two personality types: A and B. Boy was I wrong! I discovered that there are over 16 personality types. Not only is my son a true type A, he is also somewhat of a type ENFP and an ESFP. I was…and still am…totally amazed.
Since I’ve made these discoveries, my relationship with my son has blossomed! Taking the time to learn about him also taught me so much about myself. The greatest lesson I learned was to never compare him with his brother or anyone else, for that matter. He is who he is because God uniquely designed him! I love you, Son!
Kimberly K. Parker is the President and CEO of Writing Momma Publishing, LLC (www.writingmomma.com). To date, she has written three books and has helped nine children between the ages of nine and nineteen write and publish books of their own. This summer, she is offering “The Ultimate Writing Experience!” For more information visit www.writingmomma.com and click on Writing Programs. Kimberly is a professional writer, author, publisher, and blogger living in Maryland with her husband and three children.