We are all different. Shocker right? Even genetically identical twins are individuals with their own thoughts, feelings, preferences and behaviours. We recognise this easily in adults, but when it comes to babies, too often we seek a one-size-fits-all approach. Sleep issues? Easy. Sleep Train. Misbehaving? Time out. But just like with adults, the same issue may have different causes & require different solutions. Different babies react differently to the same situation. They each have their own perspectives & ways of viewing their world.
Why might this be? Well, for a start, babies have different temperaments. We can think of temperament as the building blocks of personality. Your child’s temperament can affect how easy it is to soothe them, how they respond to other people and how often they smile. It can also affect how active or reactive they are, how they respond to scary or surprising information and even how long they spend looking at things.
Not only is every person different to one another. We ourselves might be or behave differently in any given situation. The same child presented with the same task under the same circumstances on two occasions will quite often behave differently. Have you ever filled out the same BuzzFeed quiz to find out which Kardashian you are, only to find out that you’re Khloe one day & Kim the next?
A child following the rules and showing great listening skills yesterday but not today doesn't make them naughty. Just like adults, our children's capacity for & expression of skills and behaviour varies from time to time and influenced by numerous outside factors like hunger, tiredness or just how they feel that moment.
Our children (and their brains) are complex, changing and changeable. Each child is different, not only from one another but even from who they were yesterday. Respecting their individuality, and meeting them where they are in this moment is essential in order for us to make and maintain meaningful connections with them.
References: Adolph, Hoch & Cole 2018; Cloninger 1994; Hardecker et al 2016