Often when you look at your children, you can easily see yourself or your spouse in their little faces. Maybe your son has his father’s eyes or your daughter has her mother’s smile. Sometimes the daughter will look more like the father and the son will resemble his mother. In other families, it seems one parent’s features are passed on to all the kids, regardless of gender.
Of course, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to genetics. Sometimes it seems like the genes skipped a generation when a child is the mirror image of Grandma or Grandpa.
Then there are the kids who just don’t seem to look like anyone else in the family. Kids who don’t physically resemble anyone in the family may be sensitive about it and secretly wonder if they’re adopted, especially if all his or her siblings are clearly members of the same family tree.
Your children inherit more than just physical appearance from their ancestors. Many kids discover that they have aptitudes in common with a parent or other family member. They might be prone to be bookish or athletes. They may even excel in the exact same fields of study or sport that you did.
Kids also pick up on your mannerisms. Even if they don’t have your nose, they may put their hands on their hips just like Mom or cock their head to the side just like Dad. For better or worse, your kids can be literal mirrors, reflecting back your most and least attractive habits.
What about those kids who seem so different that it creates relationship challenges? Think about the bookish parents who are never interested in sports, yet end up with a jock in the family. Or what about the family of athletes who ends up with a son who’s an artist? Is that hard to live with?
As much as you want your kids to be independent and true to themselves, most parents have at least some expectation that they’ll have something in common with them. When your kids are apparently so different from you, it can be a challenge to communicate with them in addition to supporting them and their goals.
One of the suggestions I have for all parents is to be sure to tap into your Internal Guidance System (IGS) when dealing with your children. Knowing your child is here to create their own path and supporting them in ways that intuitively feel best to you. This is true whether you have kids who didn’t fall far from the tree or if your kids seem to be from an entirely different forest. When you check in with your IGS, you clear away your own ego and desires. It’s possible to see how you can relate to your kids better and give them the support they need.
Sometimes it’s even more important for a parent whose child seems just like them to make a serious effort to check with their IGS. Otherwise it can be easy to assume that because you have so many things in common with your children, you will continue to be on the same page even as they develop and grow. Then when your son or daughter veers off onto a new trail, it can come as quite a surprise and leave you wondering what happened.
One of the blessings of having a child who is not like you, is that you don’t expect them to follow in your footsteps. It’s less surprising when they take a path that is different from yours. The obvious differences can be the exact catalyst that a parent needs, to learn more about their children’s unique qualities in order to support them.
When you teach your children to trust their IGS, they will feel free to follow in your footsteps or set off on a trail that is uniquely their own. Their own guidance will always steer them to their own highest path,and what truly matters in the first place is what’s right for them.
You may be surprised, given the freedom to take any path, to see that theirs veers away and then crosses back over your own. You may even discover you have more in common with that child who seemed so different from you than you ever imagined.
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© 2014. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.