Labels! OCD, ADHD, Behavioural difficulties, Approval Seeking, Gemini, 2nd Child, Boys…
I get that some are clinical definitions and am not undermining them, but boy can they cause harm. Children change and develop, but labels tend to stick.
Take my son, who challenges my parenting skills every day. I joke, but I don’t think I can be friends with a Gemini:>)
Add to that that he’s the 2nd child and a boy. Oh Boy! What a combination for an approval seeking tumbleweed childhood. But he’s also the kindest most loving and empathetic kid I know. And he cares so much for others - how they feel and what they think. So, every day is different.
I have different challenges with him than I do with my daughter who is overly confident but guarded. We have amazing days and hard days. But, as I told myself during the potty training phase - this too shall pass.
One thing I feel I’m constantly working on is how to best manage the time when “I think” he seeks validation too much. Mom, what do you think of my drawing? Mom, did you see my goal? Mom, are you upset with me? Mom, look at me jump into the pool. Mom, did you hear when I said 5 times that I saw the goat first?
I think it must be hard growing up as the 2nd child, sibling to an amazing older sister. Wait, I know it is. I remember always feeling like I was in the shadow of my sister. I admire(d) her so much and watched and learnt from everything she did. And I always measured myself against the standards that she set.
I see that in my boy. His sister can run faster, do harder math sums, damn she has such long legs she can reach the top shelf where the candy is, and he can't, or keep the ball JUST out of his reach’.
When we recognize her accomplishments, he always follows with “I can do it too, what about how good I am?
Have I praised him too much that he now seeks approval for everything? Have I not praised him enough, that he tries everything he can to get it?
Have we caused his confidence to be shaken by moving around too much and living the crazy life we live? Do I not pay enough attention to him? This momma is driving herself nuts.
Until I stop and remember, This too shall pass. Our kids are not "perfect" but they are both amazing in their own right - something we constantly shine the brightest light on we can with our causing them to be deer in the headlights.
Love him, acknowledge him, make sure he knows he’s been heard. Not always right, but heard. It’s hard, it’s tiring. Adding a label like approval seeking or 2nd child or Gemini:>) makes me smile, and makes it a bit easier to see things from his perspective.
But the truth is, he’s simply a little kid figuring out the world like the rest of us complex human beings with wide ranges of experiences and emotions.
My and my husbands role in this? Simply be there. A safe space where he feels heard. And gradually challenge him to challenge his own thoughts and understand the power of his mind.
Label or no label - as a parent, it’s my job to support him to be the best he can be.