Have you ever stopped for a moment to consider how your family relates with the other family members? The other day, a friend of mine was asking how Matey (9) was going with all the attention focussing on Princess (11) at the moment. Princess recently won the Mornington Peninsula Shire 2015 Young Citizen of the Year. In the last 3 weeks, she has had to give three speeches and attend various events, including luncheons, cocktail parties, parade, and a citizen ceremony. This Thursday, she has been invited to have afternoon tea with the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.
Matey is o’kay about it but he has expressed that he now wants to do a project so that he can win the award and have experiences like Princess. He would love to come along on Thursday and meet the Prime Minister but unfortunately they would only allow Princess and one parent to come. He loves that sort of thing and tends to take it more seriously than Princess. Thus, at the moment we are really trying to focus on each family member’s unique strengths and giftedness. We are also making sure that we spend quality one on one time with each child, taking them out for a drink at their favourite cafe, or spending time wrestling or reading with them. Plus, we are playing more board games and card games as both children absolutely love this way of spending family time having fun together.
My friend shared that ‘The Simpson’s’ television show was based on the ‘normal’ American family and how family members can adjust and adopt different behaviour patterns when they are wanting to be noticed. In fact, my friend shared that children can adopt a way of operating that fits into how the family operates but that it may not be really them.
It reminded me a bit of ‘birth order’ where the eldest child tends to be the perfectionist, organised, compliant and well behaved. The middle child feels like they are over looked and left out. The youngest is the wild child and impulsive etc. In ‘The Simpsons’ though, the birth order doesn’t work since the kids have their own way of adapting to family dynamics.
I must admit I have never ever watched ‘The Simpsons’ so I googled some information on it. Please hear me – I am not advocating this television program!
Homer (the dad) is the primary source of income for the family but doesn’t contribute much emotionally to the family. He over-reacts to family members and wants peace and quiet and his needs met. Very self-centered.
Marge (the mum) is the primary nurturer and tries to maintain the household, rear the kids, hold the family together, pass on family traditions and rituals, discipline the kids and be the problem solver for everyone.
Bart (the eldest) is an underachiever and proud of it. He is rebellious and acts on impulse and does as he pleases. In fact, I believe he is probably very insecure and shows it in an opposite way to his sister Lisa. Due to him craving attention, it is often overlooked how insecure he is.
Lisa (sister and middle child) lacks confidence and has insecurities that come out in shyness. She is the antithesis of Bart, being intelligent, aspiring and wise beyond her years.
Maggie (the infant) is innocent and remains silent so you never hear her. She tries to counteract the others by pleasing the mum with being silent and not making a noise.
I encourage you to take a few moments just to look overall at your child’s actions and reactions to other family members. Try to see if there are any patterns or things you have never really noticed before. Is one family member struggling in a certain area at the moment and requiring more attention? How are the other siblings adjusting and coping with this?
I don’t believe there are any perfect answers. More, this blog is just to raise awareness and highlight the fact that just because one child is ‘perfect’ or ‘well behaved’, are they reacting to another family member acting out and thus trying to maintain the peace but in the process not having their own needs met. I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to highlight anything that would be good for you to know about your children that you haven’t yet noticed.
Just a thought.