Individuality: Find out how well
You know your child

Most parents think they know their children well. After all, we are responsible for them 24/7 and (hopefully) spend much of our waking hours together. I’m often surprised when I ask parents a question such as “What does your child enjoy doing most?” or “What’s your child’s favorite book?” and, amazingly, some parents can’t answer. We can get bogged down in the day-to-day drudgery of parenting and sometimes forget that, in the end, it’s all about raising happy, healthy kids. Only by knowing his likes (and dislikes) can you make appropriate choices for your child and let him know that his preferences matter to you.

If you don’t feel you really know what makes your child happy, here’s an exercise: Make a list of things you think your child most enjoys (books, games, foods, and so on). Then, ask your child to list some of his favorite things. See how much overlap there is between the lists.

Starting Early

If your child is too young for this exercise, try to answer the following list of questions yourself:

What’s my baby’s favorite______________?

  • Food?
  • Toy?
  • Story?
  • Song?

As They Grow

For older children, you can add more complex questions, such as:

  • If you were going to be on a desert island for a year, what five things, aside from food, would you bring with you to keep yourself entertained?
  • If we could go anywhere on a family vacation, where would you choose?
  • What is your favorite holiday? Why?
  • What’s your greatest pet peeve?
  • What person outside of your family members do you admire the most? Why?
  • Which would you most like to win: An Oscar for best actor? An Olympic Medal? A Presidential Election? The Nobel Peace Prize?

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

  • How difficult is it for me to list the specific things my child enjoys?

TO DO

  • Do the above exercise with each of your children. If you discover that you know your children very well, you can relax! If not, you might want to review.

 

Source: 52 Weeks of Parenting Wisdom