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A parenting dilemma

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No two children are alike. This much is certain. But what happens when parents finds themselves in a situation where they just don’t know how to help one of their children because they are not like the others? Perhaps this is due to special needs or emotional development or depression? Where can a parent turn to for support and the necessary devices required to handle the tough situations?

Even though children come from the same mother and father, they may be unalike when it comes to their personality and personal preferences. This was proven by a researcher named Robert Plomin in the 1980s.Plomin discovered when he looked into siblings that their cognitive abilities and their physical appearance was more similar than not, but that when it comes to personality, siblings are practically like strangers. He proved that siblings are only similar in personality about 20% of the time even if they share the same parents, thus the same genes, same homes, and same routines.

After much research, it was shown that the environment in which siblings grow up in has a tendency to make each child different from the other – not similar! Why? The answer is unclear, but there are three major theories that have developed about this very topic:

· Theory One: Divergence (minimizing competition)

· Theory Two: Environment (may live in the same place, but experience it differently due to age differences and differences in time format)

· Theory Three: Exaggeration (comparison and choices)

As you can see, environment has a lot to do with the other two theories as time cannot be repeated, thus even though every other thing remains stable, the simple variance in time has everything to do with the choices one makes, the friends that they choose, etc. The best thing that a parent can do to help the child through their differences is too be open and honest and to LISTEN. Listening is the most important variable in holding a conversation; one in which too many of us fail!

Sometimes it is the younger sibling that seems more stable although they changing times may have offered many more challenges to that individual. Perhaps a change in family dynamics, monetary establishment, and friends were all factors as to why this child was different than the older sibling or siblings; their personality was one that could handle all of the changes.

So, back to the initial question of ‘What is a parent to do when one child is not like the others?’ The only answer is in the question; embrace that child for the differences that they have and handle them on a level that will compliment them. No two people are alike, why should we expect siblings to be?

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