Insights is insight. You take it where you find it. I just finished reading Carl Pickhardt's recent blog on adolescents and parental similarity--how we tend to favor the child who is like us and how the issue rears its head big time as our children go through adolescence.
What struck me about Pickhardt's column was how it applies as well to our relationship with our children once they have grown into emerging adults and beyond. How much more comfortable we are with adult children who share our values, likes and dislikes, temperaments. When adult children are very different from us--more a throwback to some grandparent or one of our parents--we may make them feel they are somehow failing us.
Pickhardt puts it this way: "In their children, parents see reflections of themselves. In their parents, children see models for themselves. To the degree that children appear to be like their parents, and parents appear how children want to be, a kind of harmony based on similarity can rule....
"In human relationships, when it comes to attraction and compatibility, perceived similarity can count for a lot. We tend to feel closer to others who seem like us. We tend to like those who believe and behave like us. We tend to assume other kinds of positive commonality from apparent similarities. We even tend to treat strangers better who appear similar to us. And we are often drawn to those people who we wish to be like."
All of which can explain a lot when we struggle with our relationship with a child whose values, temperament and outlook on life are just plain not the same as or even similar to ours--or are closer to those of a grandparent, uncle or sister that we happen to not like very much. Not that there's an easy remedy, but a little insight into why there are challenges can't hurt.