“You’re doing it all wrong. When my son was potty training….” Do I really have to continue? You’re already annoyed because you’ve known one too many parents like this. The ones who will tell you exactly what they did for little Johnny and why it will absolutely work for you. The only problem is you’re not raising a Johnny. You’re raising a Jack and you’ve tried everything to potty train him. You’ve read the articles, clued in on the best mom blogs (thanks for that by the way), asked your mom what she did when you were a kid and now you’re just trying to vent a little when along comes Miss Know-It-All.
It’s hard when you’ve tried everything and you don’t know what to do. I’ve been there. Every parent has been there and don’t let them lie to you and make it sound like parenting is all sooo easy. What works for one child will not necessarily work for the other, even if they are siblings!
When it comes to my own kids, I get caught off guard when one parenting technique does nothing for one child, but it worked perfectly for the other. I’ve had to take my parenting style back to the drawing board countless times as I am raising my 3 littles.
My oldest son is very analytical. He is rational, he is logical. He sees the world for what it is, and does not like to be spoken to like a child. He loves anything academic and absolutely loves playing spelling games or reading a classic chapter book with me. His achilles heel is fear. Fear of the unknown or fear of what is logical to happen. As a parent, I tackle his fear with him, come along side him, show him that I understand his feeling, but that the fear is nothing compared to the God we serve. We use scripture, prayer and camaraderie to fight off fear and challenge him to grow.
My middle son is our “wild” child. He sees life as an adventure and firmly believes dressing up and having a variety of voices should be applied to everyday situations. You know that one mom who goes grocery shopping with a boy dressed as a dragon, when it’s not even close to Halloween? That’s me. He has zero fear and does not understand rational thinking. It has taken me one solid year to explain over and over why he can’t just run into the parking lot and try to scare the cars with his “creepy claws”. He’s extremely passionate and a lover. You should see this kid with his little sister. It’s too much to handle; the way he cares for her and tries to help her through life. It’s hard to get mad when you find your 3 year old sneaking a piece of pie to his sister because he’s convinced that’s what she wants. (he was right by the way)
Then there’s the littlest. She is one and while her vocabulary is limited to about 10 words, her personality is everything. She is outgoing, wants to say hi to people and her smile melts everyone’s hearts. She also desperately wants to do what her brothers and mom and dad do. Just the other day she saw me flushing a public park toilet with my foot (cuz germs, duh) and tried to reach the handle with her foot to do the same. She even grabs measuring cups and bowls out of the cupboards when she sees me cooking. She’s very distraught if we tell her no because she understands she did something wrong.
I am constantly parenting in three different directions to meet each one’s need per situation. We as parents need to stop thinking there is one cookie cutter way to raise our children. We need to also stop giving unsolicited advice like we are some kind of experts! What worked for one will not necessarily work for the other. Now giving ideas when asked is one thing, but telling some innocent mom at the park that she obviously needs to limit her child’s tv time because he just tried to karate chop the swing is another story. I speak from experience people.
If you have a calm child who never needed time outs and can’t understand why your other child just won’t listen to your reasoning, guess what? Change it up! Think on your toes. Get creative. Every idea has not been thought of for parenting, and you will not always get your answer from Pinterest. Do you want to know how we potty trained Josh? We told him that if he told us he had to go pee while we drove up to Washington, we’d stop each time and let him pee on the side of the road. No book told me that one. And I’m not even saying it’s the best idea, but it worked. We found what would motivate him and went with it.
Just last weekend I was talking with my boys about our upcoming hike and said to Josh, my oldest, “Remember, If you see a rattlesnake, don’t run away. Stay calm and tell an adult.” Then I turn to Sam and say, “Remember if you see a rattlesnake, don’t chase after it! Rattlesnakes don’t want you to pet them. Tell an adult.” Two brother, same parents, same upbringing, completely different personalities.
It’s going to be tough and you’ll have hard moments, but it is absolutely worth it to identify who your children are in their character and adapt your parenting to benefit them.
Get creative, find what works for your child and don’t be like little Johnny’s mom. No one knows your child like you do.