Have you ever spent vacation with your siblings and their children? Did you find that you parent differently from them? My family and I had the pleasure of spending nine days with my sister and her kids. We had a fabulous time. It was nice getting to know my niece and nephew. They are fascinating human beings. On our second day at the beach, I had an “ah ha” moment. I discovered my sister and I parent differently. In addition, I recognized that we share some similarities as well.
My sister takes a very different approach to certain things. We do not have the same expectations on the food our children should eat or helping out around the house. This caused some tension during our nine days together. When I asked my niece to carry two chairs to the beach she did not want to help. We walked in silence until we reached the water. I finally spoke up and gently explained to her that our family is different than the average family and we need everyone chipping in. She apologized and was more helpful throughout the week. Later my sister and I discussed the situation as I thought she would be upset that I addressed this particular issue with my niece. However, she supported my decision to speak to her daughter. When we vacation together next year, we agreed to be proactive and discuss with each other in advance how we would handle each other’s children if there was a direct conflict.
Where my sister and I are both similar is the way we advocate for our children. The mama bear comes out in each of us as we fiercely defend our cubs when needing our protection. We also both like to spend quality time with each our children and want each of our children to feel special.
Even though our parenting styles may vary slightly, my sister and I have both raised the most amazing and wonderful children and I can’t wait to spend next summer with them again.