Parenthood and motherhood is a true rollercoaster ride. So many highs and some lows thrown in there, too. Most recently, I have felt the weight of trying to be the best parent I can and connect with a child who truly just has a different personality than me. Honestly, opposite in many ways. I have had so many feelings about it, ranging from having guilt from wishing she were more like me to just struggling to understand how her world works. Over the last several months, I have been making huge efforts to see and meet her where and how she is, and while not perfect, I can see the impact it is making on our relationship.
As hard as it may seem sometimes, it’s so important to see things from their perspective. I read somewhere that it’s important to stay curious when it comes to interacting with your child. Ask questions about why they may be reacting to a certain situation in a certain way. It is just a fact that my daughter and I problem solve differently, handle emotions differently, and see situations differently. It doesn’t mean that either is wrong, it’s just different. Taking the time to see her perspective helps to bring us to a level playing field and work together. It also teaches her the same skill of seeing the different perspectives of others.
Finding small ways to connect with your child will help the differences in personality seem a little fewer and farther between. For me and my girl, little things like matching clothes make her feel connected to me. Dressing in a cute workout outfit and joining me in my workout makes that girl so happy! Another thing she loves is talking at the end of every day. Those few minutes of talking mean everything to her. Small things, like taking the time to discover their love language will help to make the connection and understanding a little easier.
I’ll admit that some aspects of my child’s personality intimidate me. I’ve realized that this is because I see those traits as my own weaknesses. For example, my daughter is not afraid to talk to anyone. She will talk, ask questions, and get to know someone like it is no big deal. As an introvert, this does not come naturally to me and takes a lot of mental effort. So seeing it come so easily to her is sometimes intimidating to me, as silly as that may sound. But I have learned to celebrate and embrace that in her. I let her strengthen those traits and in turn, it helps me to embrace those traits in myself a little more. Be brave! Let those personalities shine.
Honestly, it is often hard for me to slow down and be a “fun parent”. I move from one part of the schedule to the next, extracurricular activities, cooking, cleaning, homework, tending to their physical and emotional needs…and after that, sometimes I am just spent, and can’t relax and be silly and get down on the floor and play. I have been making a concentrated effort to be more spontaneous (Hey kids! Let’s go on a walk!) and fun (I can dance to Baby Shark, too!) and it makes such a difference. Taking the time to be fun and silly every now and then helps us to see each other in a different light and really come closer together.
This may seem like a small thing, but having a child with a completely different personality has been one of the more challenging aspects of parenting for me. I have spent countless hours thinking and learning about how to nurture our relationship so we can see these differences as a way to strengthen our bond and bring us closer together as parent and child. I love this girl with all my heart and want nothing more than a strong and beautiful relationship! While it takes time, effort, understanding and maybe a few tears along the way, it is more than worth it.