Do you ever wonder why the person sitting next to you is so different? I write this as my daughter and I are sitting at a table together in a local coffee shop, both writing content for our respective blogs. Boy, I can’t tell you how different we are, but at the same time, we are so much a like. I’m not sure it’s good that we are so similar (I don’t want her to have my flaws)!! Thankfully, years ago, I learned about our differences and what makes us the same. It has made a world of difference.
What I find most interesting, is that my mother and I have the same differences and similarities that my daughter and I have. I guess you could say personalities are somewhat passed down or genetic. The not-so-good thing though, is that when I was a teen, my mom and I didn’t get along, AT ALL. We fought like mad, we were both right and neither one of us was willing to step down and be wrong. Now I do understand that I should have been the submissive one, the obedient child. But I was the result of bad influences, a selfish outlook on life and I was a very controlling teen.
Had I not began a study on people and learned what makes us different, what makes us unique and how to work together, I knew I had the same future in store for me with my then toddler-aged daughter. Fighting, lying, disobedience, lack-of-respect, rebellion and the list goes on. That’s not what I wanted for my daughter or myself. I wasn’t sure how I was going to change things but I knew I had to find a way. It’s funny when you ask for help, it comes in the most unlikely ways.
About 15 years ago, I stumbled on a gem of a book called Personality Plus by Florence Littauer (the updated version is called Wired That Way by Marita Littauer). What a treasure that was and how amazing that this book forever changed my life, my relationships and my future. What I learned in that book was so eye opening, it wasn’t anything I had ever been taught before. Not in school, not by my parents or friends. I know you know that we’re all different, but do you know why or how? Did you know that people are different not to make you angry or confused, but we’re just all wired differently. After all, not a single one of us is alike in any kind of way! None of us look alike (even twins have slight differences), we don’t think alike and we don’t have the same personalities. We were each created unique.Having a good relationship is more important than being right! Click To Tweet
What I found out about my daughter (and myself) is that we basically have the same personality; headstrong and born-leaders but also disorganized, loud and full of energy. You can see why we butted heads, and why my mom and I had such a hard time too? All three of us have a strong, controlling, leadership, run-the-whole-world type of personality (I’m sure no one out there can relate). We each have our own way of how things should work and we aren’t wrong, we just have different ways. We (mostly me) had to learn to accept that about each other. Once I learned to be the grown-up and lead the way, then things became smoother with my daughter and mother.
Even with my mom now, I learned to step back and let her lead the way. Building and keeping relationships is much more important than being right. One day you may not have that loved one around and regret that you didn’t try to work things out better.[callout]Building and keeping relationships is much more important than being right. One day you may not have that loved one around and regret that you didn’t try to work things out better.[/callout]
As my daughter aged through her elementary years up until now (she’s 18), I had a lot to learn and adjust about my own personality and way of thinking to be able to work with her. This kept us from having down-right ugly, hurting-words, knock-out fights. I’m not saying we don’t have our moments, but they are nothing like when I was a teen. I have never been perfect and I still work on these relationship skills everyday, the alternative isn’t worth it. I love my daughter and want to have a great relationship with her always.
A few things I had to adjust when dealing with a teen:
- Some of us our very similar and have the same thoughts and ideas, we just get to our conclusions in different ways. I have to be patient and listen to others COMPLETELY.
- I have to think, is it worth a fight? Are we really on the same page and can accomplish the same thing either way? Does it matter which way something is done?
- I don’t always have to be right!! (that was hard for me to write, don’t tell my husband!)
- Even if she is a child, she is right too, and has great ideas. After all, I did raise her.
- Listen to others, and really listen! (I know I said this in #1, but it’s really important)
- Walk away and take a breather before getting into a deep conversation that could cause conflict.
- Let my children take lead and make decisions. I have to handle the consequences for my actions whether good or bad, it’s part of life. I have to let my children experience the same.
- I can’t control everything.
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