Monday, June 18, 2012

Shaping their Characters

I have been reflecting a lot lately on how different my boys have become. 

It's not that I'm expecting them to be the same. Of course not! But it is now extremely obvious that they are almost polar opposites in some areas. What intrigues me most are the factors that may have resulted in the change in M's personality in the last 2 years or so. 

At first, I was puzzled. But slowly that has changed into a sense of frustration and now I feel compelled to uncover the 'truths'. 

They probably have different temperaments to begin with, but I also wonder how much of what we are seeing today has to do with our parenting styles, home environment, their birth order and age gap between the boys.

While I'm convinced that the birth order has an effect on the development of their personalities, I also have a nagging suspicion that perhaps the more lasting effect is due to some subtle differences in my parenting style towards the boys. 

Despite our beliefs that we are consistent in the way we parent both kids, I feel an urgent need to reflect and be more conscious of the way I react to and handle the kids. My gut tells me maybe along the way, there is something that I haven't done quite as well as I should or like to and I am hopeful that I can still do something about it to influence the way my boys' personalities are shaping up. 

While I am not trying to mould my children into something that they are not, I also don't buy the laissez-faire approach to parenting. Just because everyone is unique and born with a certain temperament doesn't mean that parents shouldn't be involved in shaping their characters, especially during the formative years. A case in point was my personal experience.

I accept that my boys may have very different temperaments, but there are some character traits that I hope they both will have. So I am not going to be laid back and just wait for their characters to evolve on their own. Instead, I look out for opportunities to shape their personalities through exposure and experience, ways for them to learn to acquire the skills necessary to promote and instill the traits.

It is no secret that a positive learning attitude, good work ethic, honesty, responsibility and compassion rank high on my list, and I do find myself emphasizing their importance to the boys on a daily basis. But there are also some traits that may appear immaterial to others, which I simply can't ignore. Yet, regardless of what I do, nothing seems to change.

In the process of shaping their characters, I am learning to persevere even more as I tackle those stubborn traits that just won't go away.

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