Last week I shared with you tips on parenting your polar opposite. I know this is a struggle in our home and was so happy to read comments, emails and messages from those of you that feel much the same way. But there is likely another child in your household – your mini me. If you have more than one child, its likely this one lives in your home. They can bring so much joy as they remind you of yourself at that age, but they can also bring some serious battles.
I know all too well how those battles can rage. Oh boy do I ever. My oldest daughter is just like me – compassionate to a fault, nurturing and motherly, servant-hearted, self-starter, music loving, go-getter, tomboy who loves worms and ladybugs not to mention dingy, space cadet and stubborn. And while all those things are wonderful qualities, sometimes they drive me absolutely insane. Why? Because I see them in myself and don’t always like it.
As she gets older, being her friend will likely be somewhat easy, because we do think and act a lot alike. However, being her parent is not always easy, for the same reasons. It is difficult to watch any of my children make the same mistakes I did and learn a lesson the hard way. It is also difficult to watch them struggle with the same things I did as a child, when telling them would be so much easier. But I know this is for the good of her character as she grows and learns.
So how do you parent your mini-me?
- Prayer – I mentioned it before, but this something that cannot be overlooked or passed over. Prayer, constant prayer, is the only way to parent any child – let alone your mini-me. No matter if you’re the parent of an only child, multiple children, your polar opposite or your exact duplicate, praying is what will keep you focused on what the Lord wants you to teach your children – not what you want. Starting your day with prayer and learning how to pray for your children makes all the difference. Power of a Praying Parent, has changed the way I look at my children and my prayer life for them.
- Learn their Love Language – This may seem strange, since we are talking about our mini-me’s, but just because they share our interests and a similar personality doesn’t mean the feel love the same. My personal love language is quality time, closely followed by acts of service. My mini-me is reversed. So while we’re not too far apart, she wants and needs to feel useful and helpful. That means involving her in cooking meals, which drives me nuts as I’m a Type A personality and likes things neat. She also likes to help with the laundry, which taught me that folded towels were folded towels. Perfect or not didn’t matter. She was helping and she was giving of herself in love. If you haven’t read the 5 Love Languages for Children, go get it now.
- Don’t compare – If you’re the parent of more than one child, it is difficult not to compare them. Especially in their school work and achievements. However, comparing them to yourself can be even more dangerous. They likely have most, if not all, of the same qualities you have, but they are not you! They might be good at math (my daughter), but your strong suit is reading/grammar (me). Similar personalities, does not mean you share the same brain.
- Don’t show favoritism – Whether we want to admit it or not, there is always a child that seems to be “our favorite.” Not that you love them more or the others less, they just make life a little easier. They are usually easy to get along with and often see things the same way you do. However doing more things with them because you both enjoy them, while leaving out the ones who don’t is never a good parenting tactic. Save that for your one-on-one time.
- Spend one-on-one time with them – Save your common interests for the one-on-one time you spend with your children. If you both love the ballet, plan a special date with that child. If you both love being outside in nature, take walks together. But save the favoritism for this one-on-one time when you can both enjoy the same activities. You may learn something new about your mini-me that you never imagined!
It is important that we realize our children may act like us at times, but they are not us. Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. It isn’t for wimps. It takes lots of prayer, patience – but together we can do it!
What do you struggle with most in parenting your mini-me?
This post is part of the Marriage & Motherhood Mondays series. To see others in this series, simply click the image below.