As our babies grow we learn to know them better – we start to see clearer glimpses of their personality, their likes and dislikes, their quirks. We start to understand what soothes them, what hypes them up. We can recognize the signals they send just before they lose the plot, and we can read their face as they determine to obey or not. We know what will make them happy, and what will scare them.
These aspects of being an individual should affect how we parent. When we take these factors – the personhood of our toddler – we work with their strengths and weaknesses not to ignore them nor pander to them.
This is why it is hard to find a parenting manual that works. 100%. Guaranteed.
Each of our children are unique and we need to know how to help them reach the goal (whatever that goal may be.) We need to have a toolbox full of options – what worked for one child may not work for another.
This does not mean the standard changes though – if we want our children to live by God’s Word – God’s Word does not change. It is the same for the sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholic and choleric! It is the same for the first born, second, third and forth. It is the same for the smart and for the delayed.
Parenting is a relationship with another person, it is about guiding our little ones and shaping them. We have to be careful that we shape them towards the values and virtues that we hold to – not the personality and behaviours that we are personally comfortable with. When we parent with certain virtues in mind, any and every personality and temperament can work towards those character based responses. Obedience is always obedience, doesn’t matter what your personality or quirks are – punctuality is punctuality, truthfulness is truthfulness and attentiveness is attentiveness.
We need to know the values we want in our children’s lives but be creative and flexible as we live life together with them, adapting our lessons, changing and tweaking our consequences so that we can touch each individual child and help them succeed in life. The journey may well be different for each child.
You can see the rest of my Living with a Toddler for 31 days series here.
Or find more 31 day series here.