On our last vacation we went to the beach. I remember standing in a novelty shop looking at some T-shirts with the name of the beach on them. As I went to look for my size I noticed a sign that said, "One Size Fits All!" Who were they kidding? I'm petite and those shirts were not going to fit me. As a matter of fact, I could only think of a few people who could wear those shirts. Talk about false advertising!
I believe many of the parenting books on the market today also advertise, "One Size Fits All." The reality, every child is unique and will need a fresh approach to parenting. Don't get me wrong, your expectations and rules can remain the same, but the way you will accomplish these goals will need to look different for each child.
How do you accomplish this? First, you need to become a student of your child. Learn to watch them in different situations. Notice how they respond and how they react. Find out what makes them happy and what motivates them. Learn what their love language is, then be sure to fill up their love tank.
I remember growing up with 2 older sisters and an older brother. My Dad always said that while he had to be firm with my oldest sister, all he had to do was give that look to my next sister and she'd break down in remorse. My brother, he was a whole different story. I think they had to spend more time reasoning with him to get the same result. Do you see a pattern? There really isn't one and there can't be. All the siblings had the same basic rules to follow, but the approach was different for each one of us. Are you wondering where I fit into all of this? I was the spoiled baby of the family who could do no wrong. Actually, I have always wanted to please my parents and I learn from others' mistakes. If my parents had raised their voices with me, I would have melted down and it would have crushed me. I need gentle words of wisdom, nothing more.
While parenting books are full of good advice, be sure to balance it out with the individuality of your children. There's nothing easy about parenting, but the joy of a healthy relationship with them is priceless.