I am fortunate to have two boys in middle childhood right now, ages 7 and 8. I often compare and contrast my boys in their physical, cognitive, emotional and psychological development. They are polar opposites of each other. My 8 year old is big and tall, has a hard time relating to others, is really good at math and spelling and is very emotionally sensitive. My 7 year old is short and very thin, is very popular, struggles in school and is stoic with his emotions. In our classes we are continuously revisiting the nature v nurture concept. I see my boys as the perfect example of how people are a product of both. It is very interesting for me to see what my 8 year old is doing now and how different it is from what he was doing a year ago. I see my 7 year old and know what to look forward to in the next year because of where his brother is at, but I know that even the same events will be met with different experiences. Each of my children is unique. They have more differences than they do similarities even though they both grew up in the same environment. I have learned to appreciate these differences. When I became a mom the second time I just assumed that I would do the same thing with my second as I did with my first. It worked for the first, why not the second. But as my children grow, (and especially now that we have a daughter that is 4 years younger than my youngest boy) I am learning that being fair and being equal is not the same thing. We hold our children to certain expectations but realize that they are individuals and so each situation should be handled individually. For example, a few weeks ago my 8 year old went to his first sleep over. My 7 year old has been staying the night at friends’ houses for at least a year now. There was no blanket rule that says “When you turn 7, you can stay the night at a friend’s house.” That decision was made individually with each child. We look at the situation, the maturity level of the child and we consider how that child will handle that specific situation, and then make any decisions that need to be made. When the kids were younger it was easy to have a set of uniform rules. But as they grow each part of their personalities become more and more defined it becomes necessary to consider the individual qualities in each of my children.