At my baby shower a family friend asked me if I thought that our son’s personality would be more like mine or my husbands. I loved to imagine that he would be patient, sociable and kind like my husband, and that he would be energetic, creative and smart like myself. In some ways I truly believed that he would be that perfect version of me and my husband together.
Our son was born and guess what? He’s not perfect! Of course to us he is our world, and we will take all of him the way that he is! However, the reality is, this doesn’t mean that we aren’t disappointed in certain personality characteristics of his, or wish that they were different.
There is a lot of pressure on parents today to only feel perfection about our children’s personalities. I’ve heard many, many, many parents talk about the perfection of their child. But I am here to say that I see and know that my child is not perfect!
I believe that certain traits are truly born into a person, and although you can help the person learn how to control and handle those traits, they will always remain. This is a frustrating and difficult thing for certain parents, especially those like me who want to be able to make the perfect version of everything!
What do we do as parents if we don’t particularly care for certain personality characteristics of our child?
I started reading, because I noticed that my child’s personality characteristics and behaviors were far different than others around him. What did I learn? I learned that my son’s personality is a “spirited” child. He’s sensitive and emotional, he notices everything around him, his reactions to events, people and things are extreme, and he has trouble adjusting to simple things like leaving the house to get in the car, just to name just a few.
If your child seems more sensitive, incredibly aware and overly emotional, you may want to check out Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.
If this isn’t your child, but you still feel that your child’s personality isn’t what you thought it would be, I urge you to learn to find and point out to your child, and to your spouse, the most beautiful, unique things about your child. Find your child’s strengths, remember your child’s weaknesses, and learn to plan for success.
If you know that your child struggles without a nap, don’t let them miss a nap! If they have a horrible time in large groups of children, start with smaller play dates and work your way up to larger groups. Help them adapt, and help them with the skills that they are lacking. They will not do it on their own; you are their parent and they need you to find the positives and to let go of the things that you wished they had been.