Do You Know Your Child?

Oct 13, 2014 by



This morning I’m taking care of my precious 9-month-old granddaughter, Addi, for a few hours. When her mommy dropped her off, she said she would be ready to go down for a nap any time. So after a little crawling around and exploring, I did what I always do when I put her down. Get her favorite blanket, cradle her in my arms, and rock/bounce/jostle and sing till she relaxes and I can lay her in the bed. No problem.

Till today.

She fought me; turned her body every which way to get out of my arms; screamed. Finally I laid her in the bed to let her cry it out a little and went out to text her parents. Since I’d been out of town a lot over the past couple of weeks, what I didn’t know was she doesn’t want cradled, put her on your shoulder to comfort, give her a pacifier, and give her the blanket (which was a new thing), and lay her down. I had no idea that Addi’s patterns and preferences had changed. Once I knew that, she went to sleep.

Our children are continually changing as they grow – from sleeping habits as an infant to food likes and dislikes, all the way to what they enjoy doing for recreation and then on to how they even process thoughts and ideas. These little beings are complex beings who are formulating new futures for themselves all the time. The question is, “Are we keeping up?”

To truly be able to parent a child, we need to know who they are. Too often we assume we know. Or we decide to make them like us. Or to make them the exact opposite of us.

What we should be doing is searching to understand how God has uniquely designed our children to be. How has He wired them? Introvert or extrovert? Shy or out-going? Artist or scientist? More comfortable with books or a hammer, or both? Cautious or adventurous. Planner or spontaneous?

There are so many combinations to a personality! So we as parents need to be taking the time with our children to explore dadandchildatthelakemany different options through experience and see where they shine. What energizes them and what drains their spirit?

That’s one of the great parts about the first 18 years of life and that our kids live it with us. We are privileged to be their guide to a huge world of possibilities. But we must be purposeful about showing them all the opportunities and avenues available.

Maybe once a week or even once a month plan an activity that introduces them to something new:

  • Go to the river/ocean/lake.
  • Visit museums
  • Attend sporting events – different kinds of sports
  • Take them to a play or musical
  • Try a new hobby like model trains or building boxcars.
  • Grow a garden together – or at least a potted plant.
  • Take bike rides.
  • Visit a nursing home.
  • Go to a wildlife preserve.
  • Play games together on the computer.
  • Read and discuss a particular book.
  • Play ball together in the park.
  • Build a birdhouse.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Choose activities that are varied so your child has the opportunity to experience more than one direction.

How are you expanding your child’s experiences of discovery?

~ Jim and Jerolyn


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