Honoring Different Talents and Skills Among Siblings

Each of your children has his own activites he enjoys. How do you play fair as kids grow into tweens?

Tween Activities for Adoptees

Dan and Darlene Marlowe adopted three children. Dan played football in college, and was pleased when it became clear that his older son, Matt, was turning out to be an athlete, too. Daughter Danielle, tall and lithe like her mother, enjoys an active social life as a cheerleader.

Their younger son, Mark, prefers to play with the family dog and practice his magic tricks. His parents encouraged him to join Little League and the local soccer team, but he didn’t like the competition. Mark balked at attending practices and eventually stopped playing sports.

To Each His Own

When a child joins our family through adoption, we don’t always know about his genetic, or inherited, talents and skills. His strengths, weaknesses, and interests may be in sync, or at odds, with our own, or those of his siblings. Often, a child’s differences have little to do with adoption. As we know, biological children raised in the same home, by the same parents, can be completely dissimilar from one another!

Still, as we nurture our child through the tween years, its important to look for signs that point us in the right direction, and for clues as to what makes him tick. We should avoid comparing siblings to one another (and to the ideal we have in our minds), and should encourage their unique talents and abilities. Here’s how to begin.

Follow your child’s lead. Whether your child has an artistic bent, a fondness for animals, or an interest in science or chess, help him find opportunities (including volunteering) to express himself.

Give him a nudge. Encourage your tween to try things outside his comfort zone. A gentle nudge can help children develop confidence, by sticking with—and learning to overcome—challenges. If your child truly dislikes an activity, however, don’t judge him or force him to stick with it.

Honor each child. One child in the family may share your interests and goals, while another may not. It’s best to acknowledge their different personalities, energy levels, temperaments, and learning styles, and help each child find and follow his passions without judging.

Strive for unity. Look for activities that allow siblings to spend time together in situations that minimize differences. Family hikes, craft activities, and cooking together provide opportunities for children to interact without competition.


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