I somehow ended up with three children with whom I share various personality traits–and remember, not one of them is biologically related to me!
It can be both endearing and frustrating.
C is a morning person, just like I am. I understand when he’s up and raring to go at 6am on a Saturday, no matter what time he went to bed the night before. That doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated when I don’t get my quiet morning time or get woken up by his natural 10-year-old boy noises.
Girl-E is a procrastinating, over-achieving, creative perfectionist with an attitude and a natural love of books and learning. I’m sometimes shocked by how alike we are. It also causes us to butt heads quite a bit. I’m just as stubborn and sure I’m right as you, kiddo.
E is actually a lot like my dad (thanks, karma). We share a natural comfort speaking and performing in front of people. We also share a discomfort with conflict, a habit of bottling up our emotions and not communicating, and the tendency to respond to stress or feeling overwhelmed with avoidance.
It’s nice when I understand what they’re dealing with. E was struggling today with overdue schoolwork and my (annoyed) response to finding out about via an email from his teacher. He is totally overwhelmed, and I get that.
I mean, viscerally, at this very second as Advent looms a week away and I have two stole orders to send before Thanksgiving that I haven’t started and a speech to write for Friday and calendar items to write up for the newsletter and newspaper for tomorrow and food to prep for Saturday and a sermon to write for Sunday and holy-crap-I-can’t-catch-my-breath-until-Epiphany feelings, I get it.
But I’m trying to get him to learn now what it took me years to figure out (ok, am still working on). Avoiding the stuff that’s stressing you out because it seems like too much just makes it worse. You have to face it head on, one thing at a time. As best you can, deal with it in a timely manner, because the longer you wait, the tougher the consequences. In his case, he didn’t quite get the assignment, so he didn’t make the best use of his research time, didn’t work on his paper, didn’t turn it in on time, and probably would still be avoiding it if I hadn’t found out about it and called him on it. He still didn’t do it quite right, so I know he’ll have to put more time and energy into it–time that could have been spent on other stuff if he’d asked for help and put in the effort right away.
When your kids are like you, you want them to learn from your mistakes and wisdom. You know all too well the pitfalls that await them. But sometimes, they just have to figure it out on their own, like you did.
And you just have to let them. Sigh.