Advice

Same Parent, Yet SO Different! 4 Ways Raising Children Creates Stark Opposites

My three kids, now 24, 21, and 17, couldn’t be more different.

My eldest is an introvert like me and is kind, considerate and passionate. My middle child is wild and confident and loves to scare me. My youngest takes everything literally, is a caregiver and is creative. Yet I’m raising children using the same parenting styles!

Same parenting styles, unique siblings

One of my kids is transitioning, one is gay, and one was born on Halloween and likes to scare me. Along with these three kids I birthed, I have about half a dozen others who call me mum. All of them are so different, but why is this the case when they are all parented by the same mum??

TikTok creator TJ has a relatable video showing the differences between siblings – watch it below!

mum central

@tj_therrien Your kids in the car • Your firstborn vs. middle vs. youngest child ✨Moms and Dads | Parents | Birth order #TJvibes #birthorder #momsoftiktok #dadsoftiktok ♬ original sound – 🍩 I’m TJ 🍿

My eldest is most similar to me in that I’m quite introverted until I talk about something I enjoy, and then it’s hard to get me to be quiet. They are kind, considerate, and passionate. They’re very into gaming, and we’ve spent countless hours with them talking my ear off over games.

They recently became passionate about human rights and politics. I am also passionate about human rights and politics, which has given us many things to discuss. Their development was something of a marvel after they were diagnosed with Citrobacter. Read about my journey with them here.

My middle one is into cars and fishing, and giving me headaches. He’s the only male-identifying child in a family full of women and female-identifying people, and is also the one who was born on Halloween. He’s filled my house with a small menagerie and wants more.

He’s so confidently right (even when he’s so not) and says things that always give me something to talk about at coffee with my mum and sister. Ours is a sarcastic relationship. He’s the kid I can flip the bird to, and he’ll give it back. But he’s also the kid who proudly tells people he’s a ‘Mum’s Kid’ and threatens to live with me until he’s 30. He also likes to try to jump-scare me. It never works, but he tries.

My youngest is the strong, unapologetic young woman I raised her to be, which is great (can you see my huge smile?). She felt safe enough with me to share her sexuality when she was 13, knowing she’d always have my support. She is always the first to offer to help a family member and is a compassionate, supportive friend to the half dozen other kids who call me mum.

If she had her way, and I had the room, she’d have them all move in for me to look after. She’s very literal, and I need to explain something in specific detail so she understands what I need/want from her. Once, her father asked her if she was born in a tent because she left a door open, and she took him literally and asked me if she had been born in a tent. As a young girl, she was so ‘creative’ with her fashion.

raising children same parenting styles so different running around
Raising children the same can create completely different kids! Source: Bigstock

I’m raising children the same, so how do they turn out so different?

1. Parenting style

I am a protective but permissive parent, almost to a fault sometimes (my mum tells me I’m a doormat). I was raised by a strict parent figure, and in an act of rebellion, I vowed not to be as strict with my parenting styles with my own kids. I admittedly went too far in the opposite direction.

I was also a teen mother and grew into adulthood as I raised kids. Sometimes, I feel like we raised each other.

Each of my kids has reacted differently to my parenting styles. My middle child took it as a ‘hold my beer’ sign. I tell him all the time he’s the reason I have grey hair at 43! My youngest thrived until she got older and probably needed me to hover more. My oldest took it all in stride and is still as cautious as they were when they were little.

2. Birth order

As the oldest child, I can attest that birth order affects our upbringing.

  • First-born children typically show leadership and achievement-oriented behaviour, often under pressure to set examples for younger siblings.
  • Middle-born children tend to develop adaptability and mediation skills, serving as peacemakers within the family. Okay, this isn’t that true for my middle one. He’s the instigator of much drama and seems content to watch the world (which revolves around him, of course) burn. So much fun.
  • Youngest children often exhibit creativity and independence, benefitting from a more relaxed parenting style.
raising children same parenting styles so different
Birth order can be a factor as to why siblings are so different! Source: Bigstock

3. Genetics

Children inherit a unique combination of genes from their parents, which can influence their physical traits and aspects of their personality. Even though siblings share some genetic material, they can inherit different combinations of genes from their parents, leading to variations in personality and behaviour.

4. Individual experiences

Each child has their own set of experiences, both within the family and outside of it, that shape their development. Friendships, school environments, and extracurricular activities can all influence a child’s interests, values, and behaviour in unique ways.

From a trial by fire with my oldest to my middle child ruining my birth plan (said with loving sarcasm!) to my youngest and her anxiety, I’ve learned that parenting isn’t a one-size-fits-all and I need to take each kid as they come and do the best I can to be what they need.

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Avatar of Tina Evans

Tina Evans is a complete introvert, an avid reader of romance novels, horror novels and psychological thrillers. She’s a writer, movie viewer, and manager of the house menagerie: three kelpies, one cat, a fish, and a snake. She loves baking and cooking and using her kids as guinea pigs. She was a teenage parent and has learned a lot in twenty-three years of parenting. Tina loves Christmas and would love to experience a white Christmas once in her life. Aside from writing romance novels, she is passionate about feminism, equality, sci-fi, action movies and doing her part to help the planet.

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