I've thought about this post a lot. I started thinking about it when my friend Christine posted about "keeping it real". Of course I think the best "real" post you'll ever see of mine was my Confessions...But generally I post about what's happening with the kids, the house, the days, etc. But this one is more to do with different parenting styles and different kids...
First off, I have four VERY DIFFERENT children. Yes, three have Ds, but their personalities are stark contrasts as well. Here's a little about each of my kids, in order that I "received" them, not birth order:
Kristopher- is very very very talkative. He likes to explore, hear the how's and why's, try something 10 different waays to figure out how it works. He loves to sing, loves to please, loves to entertain. He can also be very shy around people he doesn't know and will turn introvert with a sly little grin at unexpected times. He likes to be in charge and play teacher, daddy, etc. especially if he can get away with being bossy in the meantime. He waivers back and forth between being sweet and loving, patting the little ones' heads, rolling the ball with them, serving them pretend dinners, and sharing all his toys to throwng balls, knocking them over and taking things away from them just so they don't have it to play with. Did I mention he's really talkative?
Brianna- is very snuggly. She is quiet but stubborn though she is often easily convinced or consoled if she doesn't change her mind. She likes some strangers and not others but if you ask her to say 'hi' to a stranger her response is almost always 'no'. Some days she'll talk up a storm though noone knows most of what she's saying quite yet. She's the "mother" of the group and is always patting someone's head or back, twirling their hair, or carrying a babydoll around with her. She loves to play pretend and to help around the house by picking up tossed bottles, grabbing a diaper, or getting all the shoes out (sometimes to be distributed to each room of the house...). She can be quite stubborn. She's also my destroyer. If I need EVERY toy in the house out then I can just leave her be in each room for 30 seconds and that will be accomplished. And lastly, she's a clothes queen. She likes to empty dressers or laundry baskets, included folded clothes on beds, and throw them around and bury herself in them. Seriously, she really ENJOYS this, doesn't just do it. I'll sometimes let her 'play' with the laundry before I put it away just because I know how much fun she'll have with it. And she's stubborn.
Emma- is generally quiet and laid back though she spends a LOT of the day "making sounds" which range from having a foot in her mouth to a hand, to a sock or a bib or a towel. If nothing else is around then the shirt is fair game too. She sometimes sits and laughs at her own noises just for fun and can entertain herself for literally HOURS if left to do so (which I don't like to do!). She is very resourceful and if she wants it she'll find a way to get it. She's a fighter too and if she DOESN'T want something, she'll tell you LOUD AND CLEAR. She tends to be either very happy or very upset with no in between. She'll be smiling one minute and screaming and clinching her hands and snapping her feet and knees the next. She's easily distracted and entertained when she's happy and she's learning to seek out something to do now which is a good thing.
Micah- is a happy little guy most of the time but is definitely a hold me kid. If you pass by him and don't pick him up he's sure there's something wrong. He loves the company of the other kids (unless he's the one being knocked down... which he usually is...) and is smiling and happy a good amount of time. He plays well on his own if he's got a toy that interacts with him but anything that doesn't sing or move ro light up doesn't count. He's motor driven and wants to go and explore. He bumps a lot and doesn't mind usually but when he gets hurt he tells you about it. He's easily distracted at times and very driven at others. He'll take a snuggle any day and usually will sit and curl in to a hug. He'll eat at any opportunity (just about) but only if it's in a bottle. He's also got his stubborn streak and will scream in frustration (short loud screams) if he's the last to go out to the car or if he sees a bottle and doesn't have it yet or if he's figured out he's getting put in bed.
Now, all four of these little guys need some form of consoling and some form of discipline at times. Here's the ways that they accept best:
Kristopher- Consoling is a talking to, an ice pack, a kiss, or a QUICK snuggle.
Discipline is in many forms ranging from a lok of disappointment to a time out or a swift reminder that it's not ok to hurt other people. He needs a firm hand to keep him in line and generally his "talking tos" don't turn around his behavior.
Brianna- Consoling is generally a loooong soft snuggle and sometimes she'll get her lovey and that makes things better.
Discipline ranges a little from a stern "no" to a time out and occasionally a quick reprimand to remind her that hurting others isn't good or that she's compromising her safety. She has a 'time out seat' that she'll occupy two or three a day for maybe 2 days then won't need again for a month. She's VERY stubborn about saying "Sorry" but she'll do other things like give a hug and a kiss so I'm not sure she understands all of the idea behind "sorry" yet.
Emma- Consoling is unusual for her as she definitely prefers a firm touch to a soft one. A sweet snuggle and pat on the back she continues to scream through. A firm squeeze and firm pats on the back or tush and she "snaps out" of whatever pretty quickly. She'll pull in and likes to feel secure and surrounded to be comforted. She likes to be bounced hard, patted firm, rocked quickly.
Discipline isn't a huge issue yet with her but she does still have rules that apply to her and things she knows she's not supposed to do. Again, firm pressure and a firm voice are the best ways to get through to her so a squeeze on the hand (for hitting) or pressed on her cheek (for biting) with a firm "no hitting" attached generally does the trick.
Both with comforting and discipline she often needs to be removed completely from the surroundings to turn around her behavior.
Micah- Consoling is a quick snuggle which he'll "lay in to" for a while. He likes to be gently rocked, patted softly, rubbed, soothing voice and touch.
Discipline again isn't a big thing for him yet but he does try to bite and also gets angry or throws little fits with his screams when something isn't going his way. For him gentle is still key or he'll be even more upset about the discipline then he'll need comforting... he doesn't 'snap out of it'. A firm but quiet 'no' with some pressure on whatever area he's using inappropriately (often his cheek for screaming or biting). He's pretty good to respond to 'no' and will climb back off of Emma when he's trying to beeline it to something on the other side of her or will at least look at me to try to figure out why I'm saying "no".
And when I say "firm pressure" I mean take your hand, place it on an object, and press down so they feel it. It's not just a sweet way of saying a spanking.
So when Micah gets upset or Emma gets upset, the way of consoling them is almost polar. I've been reminded of the differences in my kids a lot lately as we've been really busy and sometimes it's easy to react the same way to different kids doing the same offense just because.... they did the same thing.
But if I picked up Emma in her screaming fit and said "it's ok" and patted her back, she'd cry for an hour. And if I picked up Micah from falling down and hugged him tight and patted his back he'd cry harder. And if I tell Brianna "it's ok, come here and let me look" she's not going to get up and come to me. And if I scoop up Kristopher and hand him a stuffed animal to snuggle he's not going to calm down either.
I have a feeling I'm going to hear a lot of "but... that's not what _________ had happen" in disciplining my children for years to come. Because they don't all need the same things. But for some reason I doubt my kids will ever question the different ways they are comforted and will be glad I know the different things each of them needs in that area....