Raising Different Children

27 Feb

My house is still filled with 8 year olds, and I’ve learned one really important thing: all parents raise their children differently.

For instance, one of the 8 year olds here is E. E is raised in a very religious (but the fun kinda religion apparently) household. He’s very respectful and puts his dishes in the dishwasher after dinner. He has slept in tons of other places before so he has no problem falling asleep on Toad’s bottom bunk. E does anything I ask him to do and does it with a smile the majority of the time.

Then there’s K. K was in Toad’s class from Kindergarten until just before Halloween, when he moved to a new school (that’s 10 minutes away, but it’s a different district). K was raised by a single mom who got pregnant with him in college (kinda like my situation but she had to do it on her own). For whatever reason, K’s a wild card. One minute he can be sweet and loving, the next he can be testing you as far as he can. For instance, I went to a wake last night. When I got home I found a pile of clothes downstairs in our entry way. They were K’s. He’d left his stuff downstairs and had gotten into his PJ’s down there and had left it scattered all over the place.

He’s constantly testing us, by cranking the music up or by racing the scooter in an area that we’ve asked them not to race it in (the next time the plug for my laptop comes out I’m gonna bang my head against the wall). Yet I know that he’s got a sweet streak in him, and I think that his attitude issues have more to do with how his mom has had to raise him. She’s patient and she tries so hard, but it seems like she just hasn’t figured out exactly what she should be doing for him to get him to listen to her.

Here’s how later this afternoon will work – both moms will get here. E will gather up his stuff with a modicum of resistance. He’ll say goodbye to Toad and, when it’s time to go, he’ll go.

K, however, will be a different story. K’s mom will gather his stuff up (if I haven’t before that) and will give him warnings that it’s time to go (exactly in the way you’re supposed to – ie “you’ve got 2 minutes, K”). K will fight. And whine. And possibly bawl. And in the end K’s mom may end up half-dragging him out of here as she’s done so many times before.

Two very different children.

Both with moms that love them and want the best for them.

How can children come out so very differently??


One Response to “Raising Different Children”

  1. Finn February 27, 2009 at 5:22 pm #

    It’s tough to say without watching the moms in action, but it’s probably a combination of the kid’s innate personality and the mother’s parenting style.

    You can give all the warnings you want, but if you don’t follow through on them and your voice is lacking authority, it won’t work. If you repeatedly say, “Two minutes…” and it gets to be 10 then 30 minutes before any action occurs, the kid knows it’s bullshit.

    When I tell Lil’ M I’m counting to three, I don’t stop right before I get to three. I may go 2 1/2, but three follows right behind. And then he’s in trouble. And he knows it. He doesn’t test me.

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