Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Yin and Yang of Parenting

A loud voice can be heard singing, “We’re on our way. We’re on our way, on our way to Grandpa’s farm…”

The person belting out children's verse with such abandon isn’t my daughter. It’s my husband. He has a beautiful, childlike quality, which is one of the reasons I fell in love with him. Now that we have Claire, it makes him an awesome dad. He can instantly get down on her level and have fun.

I can’t even begin to imagine being so excited about a children’s song. I think I came out of the womb all serious and adult-like. When I play with Claire, I am keenly aware of how I’m informing her development. In other words, I’m one step removed. I’m thinking about Claire’s fine-motor skills and how we are incorporating imaginative play into our activities instead of fully immersing myself in the play-doh with her.

I am jealous of my husband's ability to be so fully present with our daughter, but I also don’t think it’s such a bad thing that George and I influence her in different ways. Most of the time, we strike a good balance. This morning, George took Claire sledding, while I stayed home and made lunch. I’m sure he thinks he had all the fun. I was happy not to be cold. Claire had an adventure in the snow and came home to a warm meal -- a quintessential childhood experience, if you ask me.

Our distinct personality traits offer Claire a mix of good and bad too. Whereas, George can sit and laugh at the cartoons they watch together, he can quickly take it personally when she isn't cooperating. I may feel terribly self-conscious and foolish pretending to be a Cookie Monster puppet, but I have a better ability to step back from her toddler vicissitudes (on my good days).

Following his impulses is part of George’s nature, while analysis is mine. That’s fine. We just need to remember that my analytical tendency can swing too far into the land of joyless and frosty, while his playfulness can turn impatient and unpredictable.

If we keep those two things in mind, maybe...just maybe...if we are very lucky, our different parenting styles will lead to a well-rounded child instead of hours of fodder for the therapist’s couch.

How does your personality affect your parenting style?

Photo Source: Guadalupe Cervilla, Flickr

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7 comments:

  1. I think me and my husband balance each other out too.

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  2. It's great that you can analyze your parenting styles this way. I'm partially headed in that direction. And, good for Claire, just shoot for an hour or two on the couch. They need to better us when they become parents, somehow... right?

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  3. Yes! to the win-win of you getting to stay home warm while your husband took Claire sledding!! I'm the one that would feel like I'm missing out on either activity...so that likely says I'm a control freak or insecure or something! Another great post... and yeah... balance is good.

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  4. I think I'm like you too, constantly assessing everything I do with my toddler. My husband, on the other hand, likes to get down and play like a kid! I hope this bodes well for our son, too.

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  5. Rachel, I love this! It gives me something to think about. Over here, my husband and I both have a silly streak, which we have passed down to the boys. When I ask myself which one of us would be the "serious" or "adult" one, I wouldn't know what to say. Prickly Dad is more analytical than I am, but I'm a deep thinker.

    You know what, I'm going to try to write a post about this. Thank you for the "prompt"! :)

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  6. Hublet and I strike a good balance too. He is great at the silly but hates having to do playdates and socialise with other people, so I do that and try and escape the rough housing stuff.

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