Hubs and I have generally cheerful dispositions. We get cases of the blues every now and then, of course, but by and large, we’re glass-half-full, clouds-have-silver-linings people. Our two older children inherited this trait, and they both tend to look for the best in a situation.
And then there’s Joseph.
Joseph inherited my Dad’s disposition. Both of them are precious and warm and funny and affectionate, but they are also trailed by one of those little cartoon rain clouds that reminds them that the worst-case scenario is never far behind.
Parenting a personality like this is a challenge for us, especially since neither Hubs nor I possess this kind of thinking, as a rule. We’ve always made an effort to parent our kids based on who they actually are, not who we’d like them to be. I get it that Joseph sometimes needs the space to work out his little melancholy moments on his own, and I don’t expect him to "snap out of it" just because it would be more convenient for me.
This has to be balanced with the fact that there’s a family to run here. When you have a personality that is often moody and gloomy, it does impact the rest of us. This has all been magnified of late by the fact that Joseph (who is my bike-riding, tree-swinging, active boy) is feeling as cooped up as I am by this February weather. AND, of course, he’s five. I’ve always thought that (even for the most cheerful little people) five seems to be a hard year. It’s the year you really learn that life isn’t fair. Sometimes the teacher wants you to practice your letters when you’d rather play blocks. Sometimes your older brothers get to stay up later. Sometimes the cafeteria serves spinach.
All these things taken together mean that my little guy is a funk that puts my own to shame. I really think I could serve him chocolate cake for breakfast, while dressed as Anakin Skywalker, and he would find a reason to balk at the cruelty of this cold, cold world.
The point of all this (yes, there is one) is that I’d love to hear some feedback from those of you who have parented little gloom-and-doomers. Or maybe you’re a gloom-and-doomer yourself, with some special insights to this personality. I really want to find a way to give my little guy space to be himself WITHOUT allowing him to take it too far. Any thoughts out there?