You love them both just as much, you strive to given them both the equal amount of love, attention,
teaching and care. You want them to both feel just as loved and secure as the other does, and above
all equally happy and fulfilled. But when your children’s personalities are so different, how do you ensure
your doing the best you can at this?
I was raised by parents that strongly believed whatever I had, my sister had and vice versa. But luckily
for my parents our tastes are quite similar, despite three years between us. And both being girls we’d
often be dressed the same! We still get identical Christmas and birthday presents to this day (easy when
your birthdays are 6 weeks apart). My inlaws raised my husband and his brother with the same values.
However both boys were very different in their tastes, hobbies etc. My mother-in-law said that whilst she
wouldn’t always give the same things at the same time to her boys she would ensure they had what they
needed when they needed it in equal measure, even if those needs were different.
My husband and I are trying to bring these values together as we raise our children. We have a girl and
a boy. My little girl is calm, cautious, opinionated, strong willed and loves to read, do arts and crafts and
stay indoors. My son is a whirlwind, the complete opposite of calm. He’s boistrus loves cars, outdoor
play, and making as much mess as he can. Add into the mix that he also has a learning disability.
So how do we do it? How do we give a blend of our values equally to two very different children?
Is it possible to do this when kids are unique people in their own right, and do any of the ‘advised
As much as we are told to go with our parental instincts (for which I’m completelyin favour of) it’s natural
to seek the advice and opinions of others. In the time leading up to the birth of my second child I read
somewhere that children should be encouraged to play independently but do so in twenty minute spurts
followed by periods of spending time with an adult. So I have tried to instill this method by setting up an
activity or TV for one whilst I do something focused at the table be it jewellery making, colouring, or board
games with the other. I’d then let number one carry on independently and get number two away from the
TV or toys to kick a ball about or have a dance around, read some books, play with musical toys. Now this
sounds great in theory but to be honest I’m exhausted even when I’m thinking about it, and that’s if it goes
to plan. They are little humans after all and don’t always go by the book! Sometimes they are both
demanding my attention and we have to do something neutral, like the park or soft play, as a group. On
the whole though it has worked for me, and I find when on the days this has gone well they will happily
play together, allowing me a coffee break or to finish a chore, once they’ve had a bit of one to one time
with me. I like to think that this approach tries to instil my parent’s values of giving equality to both at the
same time. It seems to be working great at the moment when they are only six and four years old.
But as they are getting older could my inlaws approach be starting to creep in too? For example, I may
take my daughter to see a film which she’d really like to see, but as my son wouldn’t entertain a film that
isn’t constant music, so I’ll make sure we get a soft play or park date in for him. I do try, time permitting.
I make every effort to accommodate their differing interests and give them opportunities to explore new ones
My kids undertake different extracurricular activities, which I chaperone them whilst the other is
taken care of by family. I like to think I’m giving equally there too, even if what they experience is different.
As they get older I do wonder how I will instill both sets of values as the gap in their interests and abilities
begin to widen. Like with all aspects of parenting you do the best you can and you just hope you do it
right. Even more so when you consider that the kids will no doubt take your approach into their minds
when they have their own families. Do you have two or more kids with very different personalities and
try to spread your time equally between them? Have you got an approach that’s working well or you
exhausted in need of inspiration on how to do it? Please let me know your thoughts xx