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It's Not Easy When Your Child is Just Like You

Photograph by Twenty20

My oldest child looks just like me. He is 13 going on 25. For a few years now he has decided he's too old to play with most kids his age and would rather hang with the grown-ups. I felt the same way when I was his age.

He twists and plays with his hair when he is nervous, or in deep thought. I have done the same thing my entire life.

He is very aware and observant of his surroundings. He notices the moods and vibes he gets from people when they are close to him. He can feel their energy. So when someone walks into a room and he is uncomfortable, I can sense it in a second. It's like I have an antenna that stands at attention because I am feeling the same way.

He laughs uncontrollably in the most inappropriate situations, and it makes me mad yet there I am fighting the urge to howl with laughter myself, and he knows it, which makes him laugh more.

My son—he is exactly like me, we are kindred spirits and he drives me up the wall. We butt heads, we argue, we never see eye- to- eye which doesn't make any sense because we are so damn alike. I guess you could say it literally does feel like we are two positive sides of a magnet trying to come to together yet repelling each other at the same time.

I watch him struggle with the same things I struggled with as a child and it tears me apart sometimes because I know how deeply he can hurt.

I had never been able to figure why two people who are so alike get under each other's skin so easily.

Maybe I am not enough yin to his yang.

I watch him struggle with the same things I struggled with as a child and it tears me apart sometimes because I know how deeply he can hurt. And I feel like there isn't a thing I can do for him. As a parent, that is one of the worst places you can be in: feeling helpless when your child is sad or suffering inside.

I tell him I completely understand and I don't think he really knows how much I mean that. I literally think we have the same thoughts.

Raising a child that is so much like you can be easy on one hand because you can predict and relate to their behavior, but it can also be frustrating as hell. And maybe that's because they handle situations and people in the same way you do and it forces you to see some of the things you don't like about yourself in someone you love deeply—things you want to change for them and for you, but most likely you can't.

We are who we are.

We want so much for our kids, often times we want them to have more than we have. We don't want them facing the same demons we have faced. We don't want them to have the same hang ups, dirty habits, or terrifying thoughts we live with. We want to free them of all the junk we have dealt with our whole life.

But the truth is, whether they are exactly like us, our spouse, or Great Uncle Harold, they are going to have their strengths, their weakness, their struggles, their triumphs and some of their very own traits that make them exactly who they are.

And all we can do is love the hell out of them and nurture the person they are becoming—even if they're so much like us we can barely handle it most days.

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