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Identical yet so different – Why our children don’t want to follow us

Imagine a family where both parents are surgeons, and their eldest daughter has decided to become a dentist.Their younger son strays further away and studies music. We’ve given them the best education and the things we never had, and yet they seem to want nothing to do with us or even remotely related to our field.Our children may look exactly like us, sound like us and even behave like us, but why are they nothing like us?

Here’s another question:if you ask any learning expert, educationist, or psychologist, they’ll tell you that parenting is crucial in developing and shaping an individual. But why then, aresiblings who have the same parents, samegene pool, same school, same education, same social environment, and same generation, often developing different personalities?

What could cause individuals with the same social circle, influence, and genetic structure to have such different personalities and interests? As parents, we assume that there’s something wrong with the children causing them to be different. However, in reality it usually boils down to the reasons below.

Competition is difficult

To the child, sharing a career path brings along comparisons and tough competition. When compared to Mummy and Daddy,the child feels like they’re falling short. After all, there is usually around 20+ years of difference there, so they feel they will never measure up. So,naturally,they look to reduceconflictby choosing a different path and making the competition less direct.

The older child will realise that they will always be far behind if they follow the same path as their parents, so, they choose a different path.

Same with siblings! Ifthe older sisteris goodatscience, the younger brother finds that it is easier to attract attention and praise by doing well at musicinstead of competing with hissisterforbetter scores in science. Additionally, in the case of a younger sibling, parents may not often realise,but the older child will always have more advanced lessons,making it exceedingly difficult for the younger one to compete fairly.

That’s why they choose different paths. They do itto reduce competition.

Tiny differences can look huge at home!

The loving familyis sadly alsoa placethat greatly magnifiesslight differences between siblings.Picture two sisters:the eldersister is an incredibly gifted mathematics prodigy.Her youngersister scores above average in math. In any other family the youngersister would be calledgood at math.However,in this family with this prodigy for competition,the younger sister is called “not great at math”. …and that slowly transitions to“not good at math” and soon the “bad at math” label is assigned (wrongly).

In a world where self-confidence is a major key, this is a bad handicap, and over time this “bad at math” label will influence the decisions that the child goes on to make.

Building Social Emotional Skills

It is a lot like two people that wore the same outfit to an event. They can either dislike each other and drastically change their styles going forward, or they can become best friends. As peaceloving adults, we all want the second choice for our children,but this can be a mighty task to teach!

Social emotional skills teach children to compete, but it also teaches them to share, to love, care and accept both,themselves, and each other. It teaches them to unite and be strong together as a team.

At preschoolslike Leapbridge, we often used a variety of ways to teach social emotional intelligence, from reading fables, story books, role play and evenboard games!

By instilling strong social emotional skills within children, we can teach them that yes people are different and that we must respect our differences. But despite our differences, we have a lot in common and if wefocus on similarities rather than their differences,we can grow stronger and work better together.


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