How to Raise Your Turtles and Rabbits

different ways to parent

Do you have a family of turtles or a family of rabbits? You might have guessed that I’m not talking about real turtles or rabbits, I’m talking about your children. Your child who moves at a slow and steady pace is your turtle, and your child who hits the ground running is your rabbit.

In my family, I have one of each.  So when morning rolls around, I handle my turtle with gentle care. When my rabbit awakens in the morning, I’d better have my ducks in a row because he is already in high gear!  The key to handling your turtles and rabbits is realizing that they are who they are.  You might be able to rush your turtle, but it’s not going to make her happy or bring out the best in her.  And you might be able to slow down your rabbit, but that won’t bring out the best in him either.

So here are 3 ways to handle your turtles and your rabbits.

1. Accept, Accept, Accept.

You’re never going to turn your turtle into a rabbit or your rabbit into a turtle. We’re not saying that sometimes your turtle isn’t going to have to move a little faster or that your rabbit isn’t going to have to slow down a bit, but at their most basic level, our kids are who they are. So don’t get on a mission to try to alter who your child is, instead look for what’s good about him.

2. Encourage Peace Among the Species.

“Tell him to get his shoes on faster! He’s making us late!” yells the rabbit. “Stop rushing me! I’m going as fast as I can!” hollers the turtle. If you have turtles and rabbits, teach them how to deal with, and be patient with, their sibling’s different pace. Point out the good in doing things slowly and methodically, and the good in doing things quickly and efficiently.

3. Teach Survival Skills.

My turtle does her classwork slowly. If the class is coloring a picture, she’s the last one done. While that’s not a bad thing, it does hinder her in getting all of her schoolwork done on time. So while I don’t want to change the essence of who my turtle is, to survive in school she will have to, at times, speed up. My rabbit son on the other hand, rushes through his schoolwork. And while getting done quickly is great, it’s not so good when you make careless mistakes. So to survive and thrive at school, I’ve had to teach my rabbit to slow down and my turtle to speed up.

It’s okay to point out to your children how their tendencies need to be tweaked in certain situations. [Click to Tweet] They need to understand that sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do, no matter what comes naturally to you.

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In The Comments

Do you have turtles or rabbits?


  • Tiphanie

    I have both as well. My step daughter is a rabbit and my step son is a turtle. We just got custody of our daughter this school year so we just now see how both are very different. It’s hard to watch the one that stays up so late get up so fast but our turtle whom goes to sleep a lot earlier is a lot harder to get motivated. And mornings like today prove very difficult when we over sleep and have to rush for the bus. I definitely am going to try these tips out to try to get a better grip on morning times.

    • We hope the tips help, Tiphanie. At least it helps us moms to understand that our children aren’t trying to be frustrating… it’s just how they’re wired! 🙂 Nancy

  • MinhNguyet

    Wow! I felt like you wrote this arcticle just for me. It felt good to have some one understand and affirm what I am going through. For the last 18 years I have been analoging my children as turtle and rabbit and never once have I got a comment back from friends or relatives. I thought it was just my unique situation of having special needs children (one with developementally delayed and one with ADD) and that no one could understand the frustration or the feeling of being stretched from one end to the other..since they never commented. I know it’s silly but you have really made my day. Thanks for sharing.

    • We’re so glad that you feel like we can relate to your situation. It sounds like you’re a goo mom who cares about her children a lot! 🙂 Nancy

  • Dawn

    I have always called my girls this too… and I thought I was the only one. Thanks for the reassurance that I am on the right track.

  • Carla

    This is funny! Not hahaha, lol, but coincidental bc, I have both a turtle and a rabbit and I constantly have to speed up one and slow down the other, for survival sake, that is. I appreciate both demeanors at different times, and they know who they are and who they are not!

    • Yes, I never tell my children that they are turtles or rabbits… that’s just between us moms. 🙂 Nancy

  • Jill Tracey

    We refer to our daughter as Molasses…sweet but slow. 🙂

    • Love it! I’m going to tell my turtle that the next time anyone comments on her slowness. 🙂 Nancy

  • Esther Clark

    In boot camp I saw turtles turned into rabbits.