Parenting is a tough job; all parents will vouch for that. It gets even more difficult when your child is very different from you in their thinking and behaviour. Have you noticed that?

parenting child different

I have two sons. While the elder son has taken a few of my traits and interests, the younger son is very much his own person. Disorganised to my methodical way of learning, not much interest in languages unlike me and a happy-go-lucky attitude to studies that I never had. When it comes to interest in subjects, he seems to love Science and Maths but the concepts evaporate quickly after I’ve taught him.

Those who know me know that I set the highest standards for myself. I push myself, preparing well, critically anaylyzing my own preparation and revising till the point of exhaustion. When studying and while working, I just don’t settle for shoddy work.

With the younger son, anything will work as long as he can close his book and begin playing his games, reading his book or cycling. He loves auto magazines and these days have taken an extreme liking to Panchtantra tales. So when I ask him to study for his tests that started today, I had prepared a time table for him (told you I was a taskmaster), he would nicely be ensconced with a story book. When I would check on him, he would say that he was reading but not his text book. Exasperated, I would sigh and seeing that I was about to explode, he would hastily grab his notebook.

Though I try to understand him, often I get frustrated when I feel that he would just not listen. The more I try to get him to self-study, the more he resists. This past month, I have been teaching him all Math concepts at home. He forgets. And then I have to teach again. The perfectionist in me then snaps.

Before you think that I am pressuring him for grades, let me tell you that those are never of concern especially at his level. But I do believe that sound study practices will hold him in good stead when he is in higher classes. School cannot be only about fun and games. At the end of the day, he has to grasp the concepts that are being taught. Our struggle with Hindi continues. We are putting in more Hindi reading to improve his spelling. But this effort is off and on. He does this diligently for a week and then loses interest.

So well as we hop from one test to another, I realise that overall in his methodology of studies, we aren’t making too much progress. I still have to spend a fair bit of time in teaching him and he has still not shown any signs of taking charge of his studies.

I wonder if it was easier as the elder son was similar to me and started self-studying at a younger age. Do I find it even harder because the younger one is very unlike me in the way he approaches studies?

How do I make this easier for me?

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28 Thoughts on “Parenting a Child Different from You

  1. Rachna, we are so much in the same boat. My elder one is unlike me, while younger is carbon copy. I have a tough time getting the elder one to study. I have lost my patience many times and not really proud about it. But, I have changed my expectation. All our children cannot be alike. Do I want to raise a good, happy individual? Or someone who works only after nagging and is low on self-confidence? I do push him, but I am also more acceptable of his limitations. But be persistent in your efforts.
    Lata Sunil recently posted…These circuses … Teaser Tuesday 1My Profile

  2. I’m not sure if I have an answer to this but he comes across as hyper-active, with a short attention span. I think you should stop comparing him with his older brother. Maybe this is his way of rebelling.
    Purba Ray recently posted…Bhansali renames Padmavati to Mayawati and makes her great againMy Profile

    • No, he is not compared to his elder brother at all. I was just saying that because he is so different in his approach from me, it gets tougher to adapt to his style.

  3. This is a post after my own heart and one I can write a whole post on. Both of mine are very very different from me on different counts. And somedays, specially when there’s academic pressure, it becomes difficult to put myself in their shoes. It’s not grades for me either – it’s the habits of a lifetime that they’re forming. I don’t want them to turn out shirkers. Not sure what you can do except hang on to your patience and keep pushing gently and hoping it is all being registered in some corner of their different brains. Of course we cannot completely change their personalities but we may make some tiny alterations for the better. Fingers crossed :-).
    Obsessivemom recently posted…A DIY perfect dayMy Profile

  4. This seems to be quite a tough spot for you. First and foremost do not compare him to the elder one. This would make him more aloof from school concepts. I’m not a parent to comment much, but from what I’ve seen I think you should sit him down and ask him what is troubling him. Maybe he doesn’t find studies fascinating enough like the Panchatantra tales he reads. Does he have other hobbies? Something that he can pursue for a career? If yes, maybe you should push him towards that.
    Soumya recently posted…Monday Musings #12My Profile

    • I think most people misunderstood the post. I don’t compare him to his elder brother at all. Just wanted to narrate how different they are. Secondly he does well at studies. It’s just that to make him sit and study is a chore in itself. He is very naughty. BTW he enjoys Maths. His way of studying is very disorganized and that gets my goat. Career is very far away for him. He is only in 5th grade. ?

  5. I personally feel that a thorough knowledge of concepts in Math help a lot, even at the graduate level stage. I’m thankful to my ability to understand math concepts in school, because right now in college, it helps develop speed in accounts and stats. While the younger one may not choose commerce, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that even the other streams need an equally good, if not better, understanding of math. I would suggest trying out some online courses which are related to the content in the syllabus. Like, there are many YouTube videos / apps on the Play store which have recorded lectures. Even if they are premium apps, I think it will be worth the investment. It saves time, there’s no need for classes, and it can be taken up anytime by the younger one (Hehe, I’m accounting for the Panchtantra study breaks too)

    I agree with Soumya’s point too!
    Mithila Menezes @fabulus1710 recently posted…Would you read a book about writing, if you are a writer already?My Profile

    • I agree. The thing with him is that he is mischievous and hence l have to run after him to make him study. Oh and he does get good grades. Maths is his favorite subject. The only issue is the way he studies, very disorganized. He is only in 5th grade so l let him be. Of course if he is more organized it will be easier on both of us.

  6. My experience as a parent tells me that every child is unique no matter they carry our genes. Once they reach an age that they know what is right and wrong, the best is to encourage them to pursue their interests
    RAHUL BHATIA recently posted…The Fragrance of GrasseMy Profile

  7. Hugs, Rachna. Kids are so great at keeping us on our toes. I get what you’re saying about parenting a child that’s different from the way we are. While I share the best possible relationship with Vidur, some days I wonder how I managed it. He is very different from me in many things. But you know, children have a way of absorbing our traits quietly, and what appears latent now will surface in the most surprising situations. Your younger son, I have a feeling, is well aware–and he will amaze you sooner than you think, by following exactly what you are trying to achieve with him. 🙂

    I remember the constant complaints we got about Vidur in school–one day it was his handwriting, then it was the frustration over his refusing to become the class leader even though he was the popular choice, not bothering to speak up even if he knew the answer (he always did know), and of course, not wanting to study when he got home. Oh, he was attentive in class, did his homework mostly in school, and followed a routine at home–but when it came to actually studying, he would sit and watch the pigeons or look somewhere and dream, or doodle. I would take him to the terrace and make him read aloud. I’d make him explain what they had done in class-on a blackboard we had set up at home. We had mock exams.

    Not all of it worked all the time, but we stopped fretting when he consistently did well in assessments and exams. He was such a stubborn fellow (still is) and he wasn’t even the sporty type. We also made him a time table that he seemed to enjoy following.

    So, keep doing what you are doing. Because I know now for a fact that children love the discipline we bring into their lives. Hugs!
    Vidya Sury recently posted…A memorable luxury stay experience at Novotel AhmedabadMy Profile

    • I loved your comment, Vidya. I feel like taking a printout and keeping it in a folder to refer to. You really did lift so much of my anxiety by this. Gautam seems so much like Vidur. I think I should be a little less stressed out. His grades are good. Just his method of learning does not sit right with me. But then he does not have to be a copy of me. I must admit that the time table I had made for Gautam’s studies, he followed it well. Three tests down, he has not had much trouble studying. So perhaps I just need to continue doing the work I do and maybe just chill out a bit. Thanks so much. Hugs back.

  8. Omg…sorry about the post-like comment! 😀
    Vidya Sury recently posted…A memorable luxury stay experience at Novotel AhmedabadMy Profile

  9. Rachna, my mom could have written this post. She is supremely organized and so is my sister. I was a tough nut to crack in my childhood. Completely the opposite. However, now, I’m very much organized and like routine and discipline. So, sometimes these traits lie below the surface and emerge only when they are needed. As far as studies go, you say he does well at school, so probably he has his way of remembering things which a more organized person like you will find tough to wrap your head around. As for having a sound base of the concepts, maybe an App like how Mithila suggested might keep him interested. Sigh, it’s tough to be a mom. Tougher to be a parent of more than one child. I so understand my mom today 🙂
    Uma recently posted…Why I root for the underdog?My Profile

    • Thank you, Uma, for this positive comment. Yes, perhaps he has another way of approaching learning, different from mine. I think that as he gets older, he will realize the value of these virtues. He is a good student, very attentive in school and also gets good grades. At home, he just flits around like a butterfly. 🙂

  10. Dear Rachna, I can relate so well with your post buddy. My little one commenced his formal schooling last year and as he has always been very sharp I presumed He will be like me who won’t leave a single stone unturned to always excel and be the best and in this I unknowingly created a lot of pressure on him which gave opposite results and I learnt it the hard way that he is like his dad who just need to clear their concepts once and he will fare well in exams. So now I follow the bare minimum policy with him and he does well but I am not sure how ling will it work. Your lovely article pricked me once again on the issue buried in my heart 😛

    • Very interesting, Roma. Thank you for sharing your experience. Yes, I think I’ve to slightly modify my approach. He is showing changes perhaps as he gets older, he will be more mature.

  11. Oh, I don’t have an answer, Rachna. The only thing I can recall is when I tried teaching my sister when we were both in school and it was hard because she was and still is the complete opposite of me. I used to lose it with her and then I stopped. I wonder how Mom managed to make her study. But I do know it was a hard thing for mum. It was not so much that my sis didn’t understand. It was just that she wanted to do everything else but study. I don’t think that ever changed. I hope you find a way. All the best for the exams.
    Nabanita Dhar recently posted…No Dream Too BigMy Profile

    • The same with Gautam. There are days when he wants to do everything but sit down to study. ? I am seeing small changes in his habits. Let’s see how that goes. Thanks for sharing your experience with me.

  12. I can relate to your situation, Rachna. Aaryan has a different style of learning and studying that is a contrast to my beliefs and practices. He is like your little G in many ways. It was ok earlier, but now that he is in class 10 it’s making me jittery. It is truly challenging as parents. Hope it all works out well in the end despite our struggles. Good luck to you and the kids for the exams.
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…My Anti-Bucket ListMy Profile

    • Thanks Shilpa. I can see that Gautam is more receptive to suggestions. Except for Maths and Hindi, he studied well for the other papers. Hoping that he incorporates daily studies. Let’s see. Thanks for the supportive words.

  13. Getting your kid do things as you like/ want is no mean feat. I also try my 2 years old daughter to listen to me; sometimes I lose and sometimes I win. Really, parenting is not at all a cake walk.
    NEHA JAIN recently posted…Blogging as a career option for a stay-at-home-momMy Profile

  14. I don’t have am answer to your situation for 2 reasons – one my son is still too young and another he is just like me in sincerity and approach towards all things sundry. I feel grateful this way that there are lesser struggles this way at home. At the same time, I am not sure how things are going to shape up in the future and how am I going to deal with them.
    Anamika Agnihotri recently posted…Mind BogglingMy Profile

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