My second child bolts up in the morning, gets dressed and makes his bed. My first child rolls out of bed at the last minute and leaves everything everywhere.
My second child sits at the dining room table quietly doing all or most of his borrow-a-book homework the day after it is assigned, knowing that once it’s complete, his time is his own. My first child avoids his homework as if it’s toxic; finally attempting it the night (or morning) before it’s due, singing and tapping the time away until sleepiness begets frustration and frustration begets impossibility. Homework remains undone. Responsibility fail.
My second walks through the front door, empties his backpack of his sweatshirt and lunch bag and hangs it up on the back of the closet door. My first child unpeels everything as he enters, leaving a trail of belongings from front door to couch.
Why is my second child so eager to please and my first is so apathetic and defiant?
I try to recognize if our parental strategy changed from kid to kid (yes, common sense and bribery is a parental strategy), but nothing glaring stands out.
I don’t think it’s the age difference, although I am waiting for a little rebellion to creep into the seven year old’s psyche. It also may be this crazy puberty thing running rampant through the 11 year-old giraffe who sleeps in the bedroom next to us and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.
We are up for the challenge, but have no idea what to do. Love and encouragement work on occasion as does fear and punishment.
It’s hard, this parenting thing, everyday is different, sometimes running smooth, others so bumpy it hurts.
Makes me very grateful for my parents and the crap I put them through.