Unmask Your Child’s Personality
Oct 23, 2015 08:15AM
● By Audrey Sellers
By Leah Spina
Last week, I was feeding baby Hannah in her pink nursery. Two-year-old Esther was clawing my legs for attention. But I was distracted by an odd, reoccurring sound. I kept hearing five-year-old Samson rip by the nursery door, running as fast as he could, over and over again.
Finally, Samson emerged into the nursery, huffing and puffing like the wolf on The Three Little Pigs. His face was bright red and beads of sweat stood on his little nose. “Mom! Mom! Mom! I’m running on my TRACK! I’m working out! I be strong! How many more times should I go?”
My husband, David, is training for a big biathlon in west Texas in the blazing heat. He invites Samson to join him for his daily garage gym workouts. So, apparently today, when Dave had to go workout at his real gym, Samson didn’t want to fall behind. So Samson created his own workout. He formed a special “track” – running on top of three leather couches, then jumping to an end table, tearing into the master bedroom, hopping over the bed and landing in a pile of pillows. Over and over.
I looked down at my little over-achieving, first-born son. “How about three more times around the track?” I smiled, rocking the baby back and forth in the black glider. Samson looked down at his hand and slowly formed three fingers to hold toward me, “Like this, right?” “Right, buddy.”
When I saw Samson conquering his homemade track, over and over, I tried to make a mental parent note. Samson is driven and puts a lot of pressure on himself. I.e. when working on handwriting he often asks, “Did I do it PERFECT?” It’s obvious now, but what about when he is in middle school, or high school? He will still have the same make-up and personality, but I won’t see it as clearly. I need to remember Samson as five-year-old, to better parent him as a 15-year-old.
Young children offer parents a short, unique perspective into their innate makeup and personality. We get to see their budding personalities unmasked because they are so young. Wise parents (like you and me – ha!) will take note of our child’s strengths and weaknesses so we can better parent today and in the future.
Bonus: When we remember our child’s core struggles as we parent, it lends compassion and empathy instead of anger and resentment. Just like when we extend grace to our spouse, or vice versa, because we they struggle with an area in their innate personality and make-up.
Does your young child constantly seek your approval as a parent – am I big, am I the best, did I do a good job? Right now our children’s strengths and weaknesses are in our face, all day long. Is your child tender? Is your child strong-willed – i.e. future leader? They demonstrate their needs, we don’t have to guess. But they may not always be so obvious as older children and teenagers.
Young children give us a unique window of opportunity to see their personality unmasked. Take time to analyze your child today so you can better parent now and in the days to come.
Takeaway: Can you see your young child’s strengths and weaknesses starting to emerge? How can you help them grow in their strengths? If you see some weaknesses, how can you address that and help your child to grow?
Photo via Flickr.
Leah Spina is a former journalist of a national newsweekly turned stay-at-home mom to three children, age five and under. She lives in the Dallas area with her husband, David, and is a speaker to mom groups and conferences. Her new book Stop and Smell Your Children: Laugh and Enjoy the Little Years helps parents to enjoy, not just endure, the little years by changing their parenting perspective. Visit leahspina.com to sign-up for Leah’s free weekly parenting blog and video. You can also follow her on Instagram (leahthespina) and Facebook. When Leah is not burning macaroni and cheese, she enjoys singing Italian opera, riding horses and drinking inordinate amounts of Starbucks coffee.