Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Knocking heads


I don't always feel that I'm a good parent to my second child. My two girls are very different, almost complete opposites, except for the fact that they're both very loving, sweet girls.

One is dark in hair and eyes, the other blonde and blue. One is overly reasonable, patient, not prone to tempers, the other is willful, determined, prone to outbursts. One is quietly confident, not easily shy, the other can be self conscious and easily embarassed.

I don't find it easy to manage the two different personalities. The babe and I tend to knock heads, increasingly often of late and I'm having to find different ways of dealing with her. If she's shy, embarassed or hurt she will often yell "don't talk about it mum" and won't let me comfort, talk or distract her. She will hit out in frustration. She suffers a lot (we all do) when she's overly tired, yet she'll fight sleep with all her might.

I lose my temper with her, because she won't let me help her and at times simply because she won't do as I say. I never yelled at Ella when she was the same age, or at least I don't remember doing so. Yelling doesn't make me feel better, it doesn't let of steam, it just makes me feel like crap, like a weak pathetic adult who should know better. Ultimately it also has little effect aside from on me.

So many say second children can be more challenging - is that because we haven't made enough room for them, given them enough of our attention? I had 10 years difference between me and my nearest sibling, so never felt I had to share or even fight for any attention. I want my girls to know that they hold equal billing in my heart, but right now I don't think my actions show that.
I worry that in later years our relationship could be different because of how different they are now, and I don't want that. Any advice, anyone had to manage vastly different personalities with success? Anyone come out with success in later years who struggled early on?

8 comments:

Jo said...

I don't know how mine will turn out, but I definately bang heads with my second baby more ~ my Mum just says to me, give her some more love ie: spend some time one-on-one making her the centre of my attention... I need to make the time too, but maybe you could take your girl on a mama-date and spend some time connecting while she doesn't have to compete with her sibling?... other than that, I was the neglected middle child (said tongue-in-cheek) and I turned out ok. Don't be too hard on yourself, the mere fact that you are thinking about it and trying to do better tells me what a wonderful Mum you are!

Tamara said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes. You could be talking aobut my second. We are going through a tough time right now.
I have learnt a little and have a few tips. I will share it with you on our trip to Amitie!

jeanamarie said...

I have it the other way round - struggle with my first who is quite reserved but fairly cruisy with the second, who is by far the more defiant and willful; I'm not sure how that happens ... but my struggles with my first sound similar to yours with your youngest, and seem to come in waves, if that makes any sense. Like Jo said, be kind to yourself - I think you sound like a wonderful mum :)

Sandy said...

I honestly have the exact same dilemma—the first is mild mannered and the little one is a spitfire, but I love them both equally. I try to think about whether I am raising my little one differently than my first, but I don’t think so. Granted my first one got undivided attention for the first two years, may be that is the difference. I don’t know. I also am noticing my short temper, mostly at the constant bickering when the two don’t interact well and it can be quite often(!). I don’t have an answer, just be patient with them and keep working on being positive. Redirect negative situations and bad behaviors. It sounds like a lot of moms have these struggles, including me. You're not alone. You are a great mom!

Sarah said...

As I said before... You re doing great. The fact that you are aware of what you are doing and doing your best is all you can you. Most parents have this dielema. It is that personality thing. It is also phases of you and the child. i get this with both of my children but always at different times! Wait till the third can talk - oh man!

Helen said...

Victoria, we have the exact problem. The 9 yr old has it all and gets on with things - no fuss. The 7 yr old from birth has never wanted physical contact - couldn't even breast feed and is a constant source of anxiety to herself and me. Yet somehow I know she is the one who has more compassion and has much more to give. This child is not practical but creative in her own world. So when discipline is in order nothing works!! She is quick with a sharp tongue and nothing you do matters. It's her way of making herself known. I think she likes to shut out emotion to protect herself, so all the bribery and blackmail is to no avail. I can recommend som great advice I was offered by a wise old soul which comes in the book called "The highly sensitive child", Elain N Aron ISBN 978 000 7163939. You may, like me think that your child doesn't fit this description - but once into this book you'll find all the tell tail signs and how to learn to live with this sensitive soul. Yes, even I thought how can my child who throws tantrums and hurls abusive reamrks at me be called sensitive? But always after reading a few pages of this I feel better. I know that when a child is so resistent you truly feel like you are failing as a parent and feel scared at the thought of what people they will grow up to be. As an avid reader I know you are, please give this a go as it really is for me, my coping mechanism. Thank you for posting such honest thoughts.

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Carolyn said...

Your post and the comments remind me of my daughter as well. I recently discovered "The Highly Sensitive Child" and I think it does explain a lot about what is going on in her little head (since she refuses to tell me!). Sometimes I feel as though a degree in child psychology should be a prerequisite to motherhood. :)