Every Child is Unique :: Parenting Tip Number Twenty-one

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Anyone who has more than one child realizes that God created every child to be a unique individual. It has always amazed me that children raised in the same family, by the same parents, in the same environment, can all be so different from each other.

While family unity is vital for our children’s growth and security, it is also extremely important that we treat our children as individuals.

They each have their own unique struggles, their own unique talents, and their own unique personality.

When one has several children, it can be easy to “lump” them altogether. I know that I have been very guilty of this. We need to help each individual child work through their struggles. We need to encourage them in pursuing their talents. We need to delight in each unique personality (while helping them build the strengths and overcome the weaknesses of their particular personality, just as we need to do with our own).

While Biblical commands and principles definitely apply to all of our children, it is okay to treat them differently.

For example, if one child is really interested in the piano, it is okay to pay for that child to have piano lessons, even if we can’t afford to give all of our children piano lessons. If one of our teens, or young adults, is really interested in missions, it is perfectly fine to encourage and help them to go on a missions trip, even if our other children may never venture outside our state or county. I know this is just common sense, but I have caught myself trying to make life “fair” and wanting to do what we do for one child, for all of our children.

There are children who are quiet and reserved and there are children who are funny and charismatic. And every personality you can think of in between. Each personality has its strength and weaknesses. While our quiet, reserved child will probably never embarrass us, or say the wrong thing at the wrong time, we will probably need to encourage them to reach out to others. While our funny, charismatic child may draw people, and have a lot of friends, we will probably need to encourage them not to always need to be the center of attention, and to be sure and allow others to be in the limelight at times.

It is so fun to enjoy each child’s personality. I have some children that are a lot like me, and some children who couldn’t be more different than me. Over the years, we have helped each other grow, rubbed off each other’s rough edges (or at least have begun to do that, since that seems to be a life long process) and learned to accept that not everyone is just like us. What all my children and Jeff and I do have in common is that we love the Lord with all our hearts and seek to serve Him. That is what really matters.

Each of our children are fearfully and wonderfully made, by the Creator of the universe. I don’t know about you, but that is amazing and precious to me. May we rejoice in each child’s uniqueness!

I’d love to hear about how unique your children are from each other in the comments!

 

Kim

Kim Stilwell has been married to her best friend, Jeff, since 1987. They have five children, Joshua (1992) who has been married to Alissa since 2013, Joseph (1995), Josiah (1997), Jessica (1998) and Jennifer (2001), as well as eight children in Heaven, all of whom died before birth. Kim was a missionary kid who grew up in Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Peru. She met Jeff, also an MK, at a missionary school in Peru. Immediately following their wedding, they attended college in Iowa and have lived there ever since. Kim is a full time stay at home, homeschooling mom. In her spare time, she likes to write, and has a column in the NICHE newsletter.

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