The question of every mother: how much of this is my fault, exactly? How much is nature versus nurture? Because the world is all too happy to attribute it all to nurture. Oh, your kid has tantrums? You must not set strict limits. Your kid whines? You must give in when she whines. Your kid hits? You must be violent or weak. It’s your fault, whatever happens. Your kid behaves perfectly in public? You must be really tough on her – why don’t you lighten up so she knows she can make mistakes?
But the secret every mom knows is that so much of how our kids act is nature. Every mom I know with more than one child says you have to tailor discipline to each child, because they are so different. Kids aren’t born as blank slates. They are born with strong personalities –it’s just challenging to see the personalities when dealing with a baby who can’t talk.
I’m not perfect – I think critical thoughts about other parents at time. I’m sure parents think critical thoughts about me too. But if nothing else, being a mom for almost 4 years now has taught me that the whole idea of a blank slate is nonsense. As a mom, all I can do is nurture my child’s personality, not create it.