Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Differences in our Children Make them Individuals

By Christina VanGinkel

Every baby is so much an individual, that even within one family; each child will progress at various rates. Some babies will crawl early and be up walking around long before the first year has passed, while the next baby may absolutely refuse to take a step, even though their first birthday has come and long gone. Talking is no different. Some kids are little chatter boxes, words, phrases, even complete sentences rolling out fluently somewhere around their second birthday, even earlier. Other kids reach their second birthday knowing only a smattering of words and phrases. Alternatively, they may know the words, but are reluctant to talk except when necessary.

To keep yourself from stressing out over the 'who did what, when' scenario, check with your family doctor or pediatrician to be sure there are no underlying problems or delays in development, then make the decision to just enjoy your child as is. Remind yourself that playing the comparison game from child to child will get you nowhere and gain you nothing. Why everyone is in such a hurry for his or her kids to grow up so fast is always a sticking point for me personally, anyway. If little 'Johnny' is not talking at the same age as little 'Lisa' did, what, if anything, does that really mean? Most likely, it means that maybe 'Johnny' is a quieter, more laid back personality, or maybe he does not have to talk as much with big sister 'Lisa' giving answer to his needs before he gets a chance to ask mom or dad for things. Maybe he is so busy exploring his toys, crawling after the cat, enjoying his bottle, what ever, that he has not made it a priority in his life to be uttering words at the same space as one of his older siblings or the kids next door.

The same scenario repeats itself in neighborhoods worldwide every day of the week. Moreover, parents fret, and worry, every day of the week. Potty training is another childhood right that should carry with it its very own stigma of being a source of comparison. I was guilty of this until I reminded myself of the biggest fact with kids, which is that no two are ever alike, no matter how much you may wish they were. For example, I had three children. One was not ready to use the bathroom regularly until nearly three years of age. Another was confidently going at about two, even staying dry through the night on most occasions; though I usually put to bed in a diaper for those evenings that they did not stay dry until morning. Of the three, one was dry night and day by thirteen months, with little prompting from my husband or me at all. They just announced that they did not need their diapers (This one was also an early talker, and was reading on their own long before school age!) and refused to wear them.

Love your kids for their similarities and love them for their differences. Just love them and you will never regret their individuality as they grow into people with personalities that you could never have guessed if you tried to for a million years.

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