Why are my children so different?

One is a sleeper, the other has always done java at night… The eldest needs to be outdoors, the second likes to stay in his room… How can I explain it? “Parents are often perplexed because they expect to see more similarities than differences between members of the same family,”

we are inhabited by the mythical idea of the united and unified family. “, from the 70s, the child started to be looked at as a subject, in order to better understand him, therefore better define his particularities within the siblings, while being assured that it is necessary to love all his children and to invest them in the same way, which is totally illusory”, How, today, can we meet the needs and desires of each of our children to ensure their development, without harming the family unit? Response of the child psychiatrist on a case-by-case basis.

Innate differences

Physical differences are no longer a mystery. They can be explained by the random distribution of paternal and maternal genes at the time of conception, making each child unique.

When it comes to behaviour, we are more concerned with the question of behaviour. What is the part of the innate and what is more a question of education, of the family context? Even psychological variations can have genetic and biological foundations,” At the origin of what was considered character, scientists now recognize the role of neurosensory development, cell growth and multiplication, and certain hormones, which can play a role in children’s behavior. For example, no two brothers or sisters eat, smell and taste the same. Therefore, they cannot have the same eating behavior. »

The right attitude: The ideal is to identify what is appropriate to each person’s needs before concluding that a child is difficult or easy. The idea is not to take a case-by-case approach to everything on a daily basis. This would be unmanageable and would not allow toddlers to adapt to their environment. But we can adjust their rhythms of evolution. For food, for example, it’s up to us to play with proportions. Everyone eats everything but not as much. “For sleep, it will be advisable in the same way to define a general framework, by adapting it to the rhythm of each one”.

The influence of the entourage

If innate differences – verbal abilities, activity levels, inhibition, aggressiveness, sociability…- therefore influence to some extent the behavior of siblings, they do not determine anything by themselves.

We have more or less the same self-confidence, stress, fatigue… and our children adapt accordingly. According to the expert, “what counts in the end is above all the benevolent attention and availability of parents, the way they are looked at and all their interactions with their environment. »

The right attitude: Let’s start by becoming aware of our own particularities and our different expectations of our children. “The idea is not necessarily to fight against, but to adjust our attitude according to each person’s needs,” suggests the child psychiatrist. If one of our children is having difficulty socializing, is very anxious, panicking at the thought of displeasing, it may be that they have other needs to express.

If our children are full of energy, driving force in their activities, good with friends their own age, perhaps hard at times but not for long, it is reasonable to think that each of them can find something to gain from the family environment. If need be, we can get help by talking to the nursery nurses, the school teacher, a family friend… These outside people can see in our children elements that we don’t understand, and thus inform us about our attitude towards them.
Respecting particularities… how far?

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