Parenting each child differently, but fairly.
I always thought it was a parenting (but oh so tempting!) mistake to parent your kids the same way. That would only work if they were the same people, right?
One funny thing about parenting is that subconsciously, we assume our second kid will be the same as our first. I mean, it's the same DNA again. Same parentage (in most cases)! Why would #2 be something other than #1?
We have to remember how different we are to our own siblings. We think differently, we act differently - all because we're ......different!
So as tempting as it may be to do otherwise, we must parent our individual kids individually. What method of discipline, teaching and mentoring that works for #1 may in no way work for #3. #1 may be able to react well to oral "let me tell you" words of advice but #2 may prefer an active, visual "let me show you" method of learning. Quality time with one of our kids is reading books by the fire, and with another it's running outside playing catch and ball. Another still loves to swim with her parents.
The world would be easy if we were all the same, I guess. But infinitely boring! The same goes with watching our children blossom into the creative little individuals they are. Some of our kids are feisty and some are shy - some are bookworms, some are like action figures come to life! Therefore, our parenting methods with each child need to react accordingly. What works for one, will not work for another.
We can't fit a 10 pound bag into a 5 pound purse, nor should be try. My kids are so vastly different to each other, we'd be wasting our time trying to parent them all the same way, and the same goes for discipline. As long as it's fair to each child, then it's ok. As we get to know our kids, we figure out which methods work for each child. All three of my kids react to a very tactile response - an arm around the shoulder, a head on my chest. But verbally, some react better to humor and others to a meaningful conversation (they all react the same way to "go to your room!!" - negatively!)
We need to keep everything fair. But 'fair' does not always mean 'the same' - it means 'equal'. Equal amounts of love and care, and equal (yet often different) ways to teach, to discipline and to counsel. Otherwise we'll find that treating our kids as cookie cutter products will mean doing the same thing over and over, with very few positive results.
How are your kids different to each other? Does a time-out (or other method of discipline) work for one and not for another? How about fun times with parents - what do your kids like?