Every child is UNIQUE!
A little more than a few years ago I gave birth to twin girls. After the first inevitable question: are they alive and well, the next, very important thing your family and friends will ask (and if you're honest, it's a question you’ll ask yourself as well) is – who does your child look like?
Your side will say: “the baby looks exactly like you”, while your partner’s will obviously point out: “the baby’s the spitting image of their Dad”. But it won’t stop there. Older relatives will reminisce and say that your newborn looks like a great-grandparent (yours or his – it doesn’t matter). And you’ll spend hours looking at your child’s head, eyes, feet, and any other miniscule detail on their teeny body, all in a quest to uncover a part of yourselves in this tiny being who is still to make a mark on the world.
My babies, now young women, didn’t look anything like each other. People who meet them for the first time can’t believe that they’re sisters, let alone twins. It was hard to wrap my head around it as well. One came out with hair, the other was bald, one was chubby, the other thin, one was extremely fussy, the other was so easy-going that I thought I could simultaneously raise ten babies just like her. They were born at 11:34 and 11:35 a.m. All their planets are identically aligned, and I still haven’t found a horoscope that can explain their different natures.
Watching them grow, under the same roof, surrounded by the same people, going to the same school and same classes, I see them evolving into special and completely different young women. I have to agree with all the experts who say that, just like a snowflake or a fingerprint, every child is UNIQUE.
If the first and principal job we, as parents, have is to love our child and make them feel loved, the other is to teach them to accept and embrace their UNIQUENESS, whatever it may be. Every child has a unique personality that allows them to express their individuality. It’s what makes them special.
So, it’s up to us to acknowledge their interests and nurture their talents. We need to watch them, listen to them, and give them the space and freedom to be themselves. It’s a rollercoaster ride I certainly don’t want to miss. If they love to sing, we should introduce them to an array of musical genres. If they show an aptitude for sport, we should encourage them to play and help them master those tough skills. If a child wants to help out in the kitchen, we should let them - they could easily become the next Jamie Oliver or Lorraine Pascale.
We should let our children know that they can count on our support, that we’ll always be their person – their most patient listener and most comforting shoulder to lean on. This will allow them the confidence and courage to be exactly who they are and who they’re meant to be.
At the same time, we should help them learn that life is filled with many thrills, dangers and adventures, but mostly, that we should face and embrace what’s to come in our own special way. That’s how we can also make our children excited about their true potential.
Our validation is the first praise they receive. It will help them believe in themselves and the uniqueness they possess. As they grow and have other role models besides us, and encounter many people and influences, from which we may not be able to protect them, the knowledge that we are all different will help our children accept their uniqueness as an advantage and a gift.
And for us, this will be concrete proof that we have succeeded in this part of the parenting journey. ☺