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The same…..but different…….

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People often ask how kids from the same family can turn out so differently when they were all raised the same…….the fact is, it is impossible to raise all of your kids exactly the same. The family you have when you begin raising your first child is not the same family you have when you begin raising your second child and so on. With your first child there were just you….the parents……and your baby to consider. With your second child there is now you, your first child and any other additions to the family……..more children, pets etc. The other thing that changes how we raise our children is ……YOU……the parent. Circumstances and situations change for each of us.  Life experiences change you, becoming a parent changes you. You have more responsibilities, you have less energy, what you might have thought was important with child number one may not be so important with the next one, or two, or three. We tend to relax some of the rules as the older children start giving us more to deal with. Also each child is born with very distinct personalities; different from each other…….You will find what works with one child does not necessarily work with all children in the same family.  Therefore you are not raising all of your children exactly the same way.

I have 4 kids……my parents have 4 kids……just like my brothers and sister and I are all different and see the world differently, my four are just as different.

Baby Ryan - 6 months old.

Ryan was always a very sensitive and caring child and I would say he still is. He was easy to discipline because of his sensitive nature. When he was doing something he shouldn’t or getting into something that could harm him a simple word would generally stop him. If it was ever to the point that you had to give his little hand a slap he would cry and cry and cry as if you had just beat him. Honestly one little tap would have him wailing like it was the end of the world; you would swear you had just broken his heart, but he would never touch the item again.  When he was 3 ½ years old his sister Shana was born. As she got older she was quite demanding and Ryan always gave into her, he would give her whatever she wanted even if it was a toy he was playing with. She would pull his hair…..as babies will do……and he would sit there and cry until I came to his rescue. I tried telling him to stand up for himself and give her hair a pull back when she did that to him and not to give her everything she wanted, but he just looked at me and said, “She’s just little Mom.” I told him that was sweet but one day she wouldn’t be little anymore and would still be making demands on him……

Graduate Ryan - 18 years old.

I wonder if he thinks about that now and wishes he had been a bit meaner to her once in a while?

Baby Shana - 6 months old

Shana has always been headstrong and stubborn……like her mom. 🙂 She wants what she wants when she wants it. Shana wasn’t as easy to discipline as Ryan was. Speaking to her was like speaking to the wall and a little slap to her hand had no effect what so ever……she was determined to keep on touching whatever it was she wanted. I believe I could have beaten her until she was blue….. (I obviously didn’t) and she still would have gone after what she wanted. If I physically removed her hand from an item she would just keep putting her hand back, I eventually had to remove the item. When she was ready to learn about “strangers” I explained that you never go anywhere with someone you don’t know, and she readily agreed with me…..then I made the mistake of asking her what she would do if the “stranger” offered her candy to go with them? She told me very matter of factly that if they had candy then of course she would go with them. I immediately responded by telling her I would give her all the candy she wanted, she did not have to go with strangers to get candy. Number 1 Mom award right there. Shana also likes to make things up…..could be called lying……One day when she and Ryan were outside playing, I was watching them from the kitchen window and she stumbled and fell off the bottom step of our deck…..Ryan was off playing in the other end of the yard…..I went out to see if she was ok and I asked her what happened and through her tears she told me that Ryan pushed her…….no matter how many times I told her I watched her fall off the step she insisted he pushed her……this was just the beginning of things to come……and she was only 2 years old then.

Graduate Shana - 17 years old.

You see how already the raising of my first two children is different due to family dynamics……Ryan had 3 + years of being raised as an only child and Shana has always had an older brother……..and their personalities are very obviously different.

Baby Nick - 6 months old.

I had my third child, Nicholas, when Shana was 3 years old and Ryan was 6 ½ years old. Nicholas was a difficult child right from the beginning. He never wanted to listen to anyone; he was loud and did not like doing what he was told. Nick wasn’t born “loud” in fact after his “initial cry” he made no sounds at all for several days. The doctor was not sure what the problem was but thought he may have had an under developed voice box. It was actually quite pathetic to see him open his mouth to cry and no sound come out……sort of like a little kitten just learning to mew. I prayed continually that God would restore his little voice and it was actually several days before he started making sounds again, but when he did it was loud and often……proof that prayers are answered but you really do need to be careful what you pray for.  🙂 From the time Nick could first speak he has been argumentative……like his mom, and he still is, he just gets a kick out of arguing………he will actually argue against himself if you agree with him just to carry on an argument. Nick never liked to share his things or help out…..I had to physically take his little hands and pick up toys at the end of the day to get him to help his brother and sister put them away……I would usually just end up doing it myself. Nick is also very competitive and he does not like to lose. He will actually remove himself from a situation if he thinks he is going to lose as opposed to hang in there and accept defeat. One of the reasons I thought it would be a good idea to have a fourth child was because as we all know the “baby” of the family is generally the “spoiled one”  and I did not want this little boy to be spoiled on top of his natural obstinate personality.

Graduate Nick - 17 years old.

Nick being the third child in the family meant he was also raised differently than the first two because he has two older siblings and now there was a child in school which changed the family dynamic again and with 3 children there is less time to devote personal time to each of them than there was with only one child. His personality also challenged me on a daily basis to come up with ways to parent him.

Baby Erika - 6 months old.

My fourth child, Erika has always been, and still is, very independent and sure herself and what she wants. She has always been content and laid back much like her older brother but has a better idea of how she wants things to be. She never wanted a “special blanket” or to suck her thumb like Ryan and Shana did, she wouldn’t take a soother like Nick did, she didn’t want a stuffed animal to snuggle with, she just wanted a simple receiving blanket “scrunched up”…..any blanket would do but it had to be scrunched up or she let you know it wasn’t how she liked it. A friend of mine always tried to fold the blanket nice and neatly and lay it over her but even as an infant she would kick and squirm until she had it all unfolded……just how she liked it…..(she still likes to be messy). From the beginning Erika was surrounded by kids, (her older siblings) to play with, she’s never been alone and grew up used to sharing everything. Erika never gets too worked up over things, she basically just deals with things as they happen, she gets along well with everyone and is so social that she actually has trouble sometime grasping that “everyone” might not like her, she makes friends easily and like to be best friend to everyone.

Recent Picture of Erika - 16 years old (She hasn't graduated yet)

Being the youngest of 4 helped to develop and encourage Erika’s natural independent personality as she was basically expected to know how and be able to do the same things as her older siblings who were 3 ½, 6 ½, and 10 years old when she was born. The 10 year age difference between Erika and her older brother also meant she was exposed to things at a younger age then he was. I think the youngest either grows up quickly or is over babied depending on the type of parent you are. Erika was raised differently than her siblings because she was the baby with 3 older siblings to contend with.

So that is my theory on why kids raised together all turn out differently…….each are born with very distinct and individual personalities that we as parents need to recognize to help them develop. Some personalities are much easier to deal with than others, but it means that we have to change our ways of parenting with each child…….what works with one doesn’t necessarily work with another. Just as my parents raised each of my siblings and me differently I have raised each of mine differently and you will raise or have raised each of yours differently………Therefore all kids raised in the same family are not actually raised the same.  🙂

The kids in 2008......goofing around for my "fall pics"

I am by no means a “parent expert” but I am a parent and have 26 years of parenting experience, and I love each of my children, “the same ……but different”. 🙂

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