Balancing The Needs Of Your Children

A friend and I were talking tonight about how hard it is to balance the emotions and personalities of each of our children. She has three, and each one so different then the other. Her oldest makes herself known in whichever way she deems fit at the moment. Her middle child, her only son, blends in well without much issue. He tends to be in the background while his 2 year old little sister demands much of the attention. Like any toddler, her youngest is sassy and loves to be the center of her families world. My friend has noticed her son acting up, or shutting down once he feels he has not received as much attention as his siblings. 
I find myself in the same situation juggling a three and one year old. My son is not as happy to take a back seat to his sister,  he makes himself known at all times. I juggle them both the best I can but I still do end up feeling like I have neglected him. While he is not as quiet as my friend's son, you can easily tell when he feels left out or unheard. Most children begin to act out in ways that will get them the attention they crave, even with negative consequences. Getting frustrated, pushing or throwing things are common place in my house when Trace is not happy.  It is hard to give him my full one on one like he would like. I spend a great amount of time following Phoenix around and trying to stop her from going up the stairs or her newest trend, kissing the cats on the mouth. She is a handful and try as I might, I do find myself gravitating towards the baby in the family. It is only natural since she seems the most in need of help. I do tend to forget Trace is only 3 and needs just as much from me as Phoenix does. And this is in no way an excuse, however the way his mind works, and how well he expresses himself has me reacting to him the way I would with an older child. One who needs less then that of a one year old. And this is simply not the case. He is a child looking for the same guidance my daughter is. 
I have worked tirelessly to bring upon a sense of balance and make sure he does not feel that there is favoritism in our family. I do things with him that are special between the two of us. We have been co-sleeping a lot lately and that is something that just does not work with my fidgety little girl. For Trace and I it is the special bonding time that he craves. This time in bed with his mom and dad brings him back to the most basic of loving gestures. He cuddles close to mama and sleeps without fear. He wakes up refreshed and feeling a little more centered inside. This is apparent simply by the way he reacts to the activities going on around him.I can tell the difference in my son when he feels he is getting the attention he needs, or when he feels that he is being ignored.
I find myself writing about issues that weigh heavy on my mind usually, and at the moment this is one of them for sure. I fight myself daily with how well I see myself as a parent who manages their children's emotions. Today and yesterday were days where I was left feeling slightly depleted at the thought that maybe Trace wasn't getting what he needs to emotionally thrive well. He is a very spirited, talkative boy and I honestly find it hard to keep up with him. And when it becomes too much I can see myself slowly shutting down and not actually listening to what he is saying. I nod my head and brush it off. After the fifth or sixth time of repeating something, everything gets brushed aside. I am working so hard at fixing this and finding ways to reroute his thought process so that he doesn't get fixated on one element and continue to repeat it so much. 
I tucked him into bed tonight feeling pretty upset I had maybe let him down today. I didn't think I played enough, or listened as well as I could have. I read him his story and had a small chat. 

"Trace you know mommy loves you very much right?"
"Mommy wants to say sorry if I made you feel sad today. I hope I did not make you feel alone or like I wasn't listening to you. I was and I heard all about the toys you wanted to play with and the fun you had at the mall."
"No mommy, I wasn't sad. I had fun with you today."
"Will you tell me if you ever feel like I am not paying enough attention to you? I know that would hurt my feelings if my mommy did that."
"I like you because you play with me and read to me all the time."

And that was that. My tension was released.
While my constant need to always better myself as a parent will never go away, the love I receive from my children shows me that maybe I shouldn't be so hard on myself. 

How do you keep the balance of love in your home? What tricks help remind you each child needs their special time?

1 comment:

Cate Tsahalis said...

I struggle with this myself. My daughter literally hangs from me most of the time, and I often feel like my son doesn't get enough of my attention. When I do try to give him extra hugs and cuddles, my daughter immediately pushes her way in-between us. It's a tough balance, but all we can do is be mindful of their needs, and do our best to meet them, even if the scales are not perfectly even. The time you spend co-sleeping with Trace is invaluable; I still cherish the moments when my son sneaks into bed with us, it brings me right back to the baby years!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Theme by: Pish and Posh Designs