The intricacies of raising two Katy kids that are as different as night and day

My first daughter, Avery, is what most would call strong-willed.  She is emotional and excitable, which make her fun to be around… most of the time.  Anyone who has been in our lives at all will vouch for the fact that when Avery is in her element, feeling wholly loved and supported, she is a gem.  However, when something goes wrong or when she is asked to obey and she doesn’t want to… well, everyone knows about it. 

Avery is defiant and has been known to clear a playground, classroom, or grocery store with her ear piercing screams.  She doesn’t just reserve those screams for special occasions, either: she’ll unleash a scream when she’s not ready to go home yet, or when she’s asked to eat her dinner, or any number of other times.   I am strong willed, as is my husband, so we just assumed that all of our children will be this way.  Avery is a lot of work and doesn’t respond to discipline or encouragement like other children do.  Wrestling her into her car seat after she’s been patiently asked to obey repeatedly is somewhat common for us.

When our second daughter, Kate, was born, we quickly realized that two strong-willed parents sometimes produce an easy-going, even-tempered baby.  Kate is 18 months old right now, and by this time in Avery’s life, I’d cried, read every book I could find, and still found primarily failures in correcting her.  Kate, on the other hand, has only been disciplined a handful of times.  Each time, her little heart breaks in front of us and she immediately responds with a hug and obedience.  It is such a nice change.

However, it was recently brought to my attention that Kate may be getting away with far more than I let Avery do.  Avery is defiant and will look me in the eyes and tell me “NO” when she doesn’t plan to obey.  Kate, on the other hand, grins at me when I tell her to do something, and then toddles over and does whatever she wants.  She is such a different personality and I have to remind myself that it is not black and white: Avery does not equal disobedience and Kate does not equal obedience. 

Kate is actually getting away with a good deal when I step back and look at this objectively: she climbs on the furniture and then jumps down right when she catches my eye (whereas Avery would’ve yelled at me that she’d do what she wanted and would’ve kept jumping).  Kate throws her food to the dogs when I’m not looking and then giggles about it when I catch her.  She is still doing exactly what she wants, but because I’m so used to the confrontational aspect of discipline, Kate is getting away with a good bit of misbehavior.

I’m becoming more and more aware of how much I have to learn about my second born.   What about you?  Are your children different, and how does it affect your parenting?  Post a comment below!

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