Our children are all different. I have four children and they are all different. They have different personalities and different interests and different methods of learning and different peaks and troughs in their days. They have the freedom to follow their own curiosity in their own ways, they have individual preferences in how they interact with the world socially, emotionally and cognitively.
I have one child who can spend hours on a project at a time on his own, building or filming or researching for himself. He listens to every conversation around him and remembers everything that has been said. He prefers to enter groups quietly, after previously observing all the participants and the dynamics of the group.
I have another child who finds solace in his own space and protects it religiously. He prefers to have absolute control over his environment and his learning. He is very active and likes to climb and bounce and fidget as he watches or reads or plays games. He prefers to join in with activities only after he has watched from the sidelines multiple times.
I have a child who is energised by social groups and large role play games. She likes to plan what she is going to do the following day. She has a creative spirit that she boldly uses in endless drawings and paintings and sewing. However she can be anxious about other endeavors and relies on her care-givers to support her.
I have a child who is physically active. She climbs and runs and swings and rides constantly. She needs to be with others and never alone. She absorbs herself in her small world play and loves playing with other children. She loves to tell stories and confidently tries new tricks out.
All of them have different preferences for how they dress and wear their hair, one of them loves singing and another is sensitive to noise, sometimes one is desperate to go out and meet friends and another needs to stay home and avoid social interaction.
This is how we live together when everyone is different:
There is lots of problem solving opportunities in our house and we are not afraid to think or work outside of the box. If the solution lies in a less than A-B format but everyone is happy with the outcome then that’s the option that we take.
There is lots of discussion and negotiations. I mean, lots. Constantly sometimes, all day. We can spend longer discussing and negotiating than we do on the solution but the value lies in holding space for each of us and valuing each other and our needs.
Allowing each member of our family to grow by supporting their self expression now and refraining from moulding them into a preconceived idea of who they should be based upon outside influences provides them with the opportunity they need to grow into the best version of themselves possible. It also gives them need to rehearse skills that enable them to value others diverse natures and work towards cultivating social groups that embrace and support each others needs.
Supporting self expression
Being the bridge and not the gatekeeper
Supporting self expression (coming soon)