A responsible child is a gift. We know it but we do take their responsibility and independence for granted at times. These self-sufficient kids might not require us to go over their spelling words or push them to finish their required reading. We don’t need to look over their shoulder as much, but that doesn’t they don’t need our attention, our questions, and our time. But they do need us. They just need us in different ways.
In my latest Babble post, I admit it was tough for me to understand how my mom needed to focus her attention on my brother. Now I try to pay more attention to my children and their different needs. We might not like to admit it, but children who need more of our help and time sometimes do get the most undivided attention. The sibling that completes homework on his or her own, does well in school, or is usually healthy can be much more independent and self-sufficient. But looks can be deceiving.
Showing them we care is important on so many levels. Since we don’t have to spend so much time helping them with homework, we need to make sure we spend time with them having fun. We need to ensure they know how much we value their achievements, that we don’t take them for granted, even if for them meeting (and quite often, surpassing) goals seems to come easier than for their sibling.
The problem is that unconsciously we are teaching these independent and self-reliant kids to not ask for help. In the future this can lead to other issues and mentalities that are hard to shake.
To this day, I still struggle with asking for help. I am still learning that it is not a sign of weakness; that it is okay to be the one who needs another, in any relationship.
Do you feel that you tend to forget to dedicate your time and attention to your most independent and responsible child? Remember to spend 1:1 time together on a daily basis, even if it’s for 15 minutes. Ask about their day, their friends, their plans, their music or a specific subject. Make them feel valued and not taken for granted. It can make a world of difference to them.