Parenting Lesson

I just had a parenting epiphany. Not one of the general-rule kind, but the this-is-the-way-I-parent kind. And not a flattering realization either, but hopefully I can use this insight to be better in the future.

I love both of my children with my whole heart, and I try to treat them fairly. But that doesn’t mean that I treat them the same because they are different people, of different ages, with different personalities and different likes and dislikes, yada yada yada. In many ways, I respond to them differently, and often that’s a good thing.

My oldest shares many of the characteristics of her personality with me, while the younger shares several traits with her father. My epiphany arrived while I was standing in the kitchen, elbow deep in a sink of dishwater while the girls did their homework at the table and I listened to their discussion. As I responded to each in my own mind, I realized, I am far less charitable with the one that is most like me.

When it comes to behavioral expectations, I’m pretty fair. But when it comes to the evidence of what lies in their little hearts, I am far more prone to give the little one the benefit of the doubt, or if there is evidence of a problem, I assume it’s based on something she doesn’t yet understand and I am therefore more forgiving and ready to teach. My poor older daughter however, the one that is, at times, like a little mirror of myself, I assume is selfishly motivated, manipulative and mean-spirited. I don’t give her the benefit of the doubt but assume she is always out to get the best of someone.

I’m going to have to watch that. I have to stop thinking of my big girl as an extension of myself, and I have to stop being so hard on her.

And me.

 

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