Sunday, April 6, 2008

Treating Children as Individuals

Confession time: lately, between nighttime feedings, trying to carefully use our pre-made frozen meals, and snuggling with this new little fun person in our family, I've found myself making blanket statements to our three oldest children:

"Go find something to do that doesn't involve bothering each other."

"Everybody just grab a book and pick a couch that someone else isn't sitting on and READ!"

"Go pick a toy and play with it. By yourself. NOW."

And while I realize that these are some of the most difficult times-- transition as a family, lack of sleep, emotional and hormonal upheaval-- and while I recognize that this is merely survival mode... I still can hear myself reminding me, "they are each individuals-- you need to be parenting each one wisely!"

We try to do this normally-- assessing each one and trying to meet his/her needs and help him/her to rein in/fight those things that are problem areas. But I'm definitely having to be more intentional about it in this time of transition. It's so easy to let things go-- but they need me now too. They need me to still meet their needs- and that includes character needs.

The one who needs to be taught that emotions are not for manipulating others. The one who needs to learn to sit still, stop fidgeting and PAY ATTENTION, at least for a few minutes a day. :) The one who needs to learn the joy of focusing on making others happy rather than himself. The one who needs to stop hitting at the slightest hint of frustration. The one who needs more affection normally anyway. The one who needs face-to-face time together. The one who longs to be particularly near me throughout the day. I've got to keep these things in mind, even as I'm adding a new personality and new routine to the mix of our family dynamics.

It ain't easy, but if I can just put it (and keep it) in perspective, it'll be eternally worthwhile.


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