Sometimes unpredictable and funny…other times, a step behind kind, parents with multiple children can experience what feels like a roller coaster ride of emotional interactions on any given day. When you have multiple children, you obviously have to deal with multiple personalities, as no two children, or people, are exactly alike. We have little nuances in of our personalities that give us our uniqueness, and that’s a good thing. As a parent, having to deal with different personalities can be challenging, and exhausting. But, there are ways to handle the ups, downs, and even side-eyes of a household with a cache of personalities.
Even if your children are twins, never, ever expect that they will be the exact same all of the time. In a family, you will find that some children have “similar” personalities. Yet, there are moments when they depart from those similarities and, in those moments, they may be polar opposites. This is not always cause for alarm or “weird”. This is each child being who they are, as individuals.
Find things that you have in common with each child. Make that quality or activity the “thing” that you use to reach out to that child. You may find that your similar interests could also serve to create a real bond with your child. But, the key is to understand that the thing that binds you to one child may not bind you to your others. That connection may be special just for the two of you.
Don’t force your expectations for one child onto the other. While it is only natural to create some expectations around performance and achievement to motivate your children, it is not good to put too much emphasis on comparing them to each other, and trying to make one “just like the other”. Parents often do this and it causes distress in the children’s relationships and in the family unit as a whole.
Regardless of their personalities, always expect respect and empathy. Some children may be more volatile than others. Your children have a right to get upset, but they do not have a right to do things to hurt others, either emotionally or physically, and that includes doing things to their parents. Everyone experiences disappointments or gets angry in life. That is just how the world goes. However, how we handle those situations is what can separate us as humans. Try to teach your children that there is always a baseline of respect that should be at the core of what they do. Instilling that in them could allow for that type of positive thinking to become a part of their personality, and they will be better adults for it.
Celebrate your children’s differences. That’s what makes life interesting and fun! Instead of getting frustrated with them, acknowledge and support them right where they are emotionally. Your job as a parent is to accept your children as individuals, provide opportunities for growth and development, and guide them as they endeavor to achieve their dreams. It’s an awesome, and sometimes scary, job to have, but well worth it in the end. So, enjoy their individuality.