If you’re a parent of two or more children it’s likely that you’ve marvelled at the differences in behaviour between each child, and wondered how they could possibly be related. Your child’s behaviour has two primary influences; the temperament they are born with, and the environment in which they are raised. There is an ongoing debate about whether genes or the environment matter more, and different psychology theories have varying beliefs on the subject. Recent studies have agreed that it is a mixture of nature and nurture that cause people to act the way they do.
Siblings often have a different way of thinking, feeling and reacting to the same situation, and it can be tricky to tailor your reactions to suit each child. Maybe one of your children is an extrovert and is very confident in different situations, so you never have any concerns about taking them out of their comfort zone. Perhaps you have another one who is a bit slow to warm up and likes to stay close to you. Your child’s individual personality has developed through a combination of their temperament and their environmental influences.
So if each of your children react to the same situation in different ways, it’s likely that your parenting style will affect each of them differently. A shy child might break down in tears if you speak to them sternly, but a boisterous one probably won’t be bothered by your tone of voice. There are a variety of behavioural strategies that you can use with your children, but it’s common to find that what works for one child is ineffective for another.
With an understanding of your child’s personality you will be better able to connect with them emotionally and see the world from their perspective. If your child knows that there is a strong, understanding connection between the two of you they will be more motivated to behave to the standards that you expect.