Different Strokes: Talk #I
Ten Tips on How to Raise a Child Who is Different from You
Are any of your children notably different from you in temperament, or physical appearance, or energy, or talent? How do these differences impact your relationship with him or her? How do they affect the “different child’s” relationships with other family members?
We are a nation of individuals, but when you get right down to it, we want our children to be more like us, we want our partners to be the same as us, and we want everyone else to be less crazy. Differences, by their very nature, can pose problems in relationships. When our children are the ones who are different from us, their differences can challenge our expectations of what it means to be a parent. Are we to blame and shame, or minimize and dismiss, or coddle and defend? It has been said, “You can’t make a flower grow by pulling on it.” But sometimes it would be nice to know where to pour the water.
Yet, not all differences are developmental. Some differences result from distinctive wiring, somewhat like left/right handedness. Others naturally unfold as part of our “personality code”, which may or may not be innate. Some differences are related to physical characteristics and/or challenges, while others emerge from defining life circumstances. In short, not all differences can be bargained away and we mess with them at our peril.
The more we work to understand and support our children's differences, on the other hand, the easier our role as parents becomes. This is important to remember not only because it makes our job easier, but because acknowledging differences helps our children learn about and appreciate themselves.
Moreover, how we define and respond to the differences between ourselves and our children has everything to do with their understanding of the way relationships are supposed to "work".
It can be hard to raise a child who is different from us. If you would like to explore new ways to manage the challenge, please join me on the November 15th at 7 p.m. See below for the details.
As a therapist, mother, daughter, sister, partner and dedicated friend, I value the big and little differences of the important people in my life - most of the time - and I see this series as an opportunity to pay back the support I have received from them. I would be pleased if through these talks people found ways to be more curious about other people's differences, and more accepting of their own.
Talk will be held at:
HOPE Counseling Center*
1430 Alhambra Blvd., Suite 200
Sacramento, CA, 95618
*Note: Hope Center is on the second floor of a building that does not have an elevator. If you require special accommodations, please contact me so I can make other arrangements for you.
Email or Call now: (530) 863-9499
Rebecca Witter, LMFT - Midtown Sacramento and Davis, CA Therapist
2830 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95816 719 2nd Street, Davis, CA 95616