* * *
invaluable to know the Temperament/Type of your child. It will give you an
inkling about their core needs and values, and can thus define so much about how
to best parent them. Here's the current bible for achieving that:
Nurture by Nature: Understand Your Child's Personality Type - And Become a Better Parent, by Tieger & Baron
important advice I can give you is to keep an open mind and be objective about
your child's type. Don't pluck a code out of thin air and try to project
it onto the child, or duck the type codes you have bias against. (If you
do, as sure as I'm sitting here, the code that makes you uncomfortable is the
code your child will turn out to be!)
You may be pulling your hair out trying to cope
with Improviser (aka "Artisan") children, who can sometimes be particularly challenging and who are
often diagnosed as suffering from ADHD or labeled "at-risk." And
of course there are the challenges of Theorist (aka "Rational")
children with deplorable social skills who get diagnosed with Asperger's
Syndrome or even autism. Following are some helpful resources, and the cool thing is that they are effective
with ALL children, not just "problem" children:
Positive Discipline, and Positive Discipline A-Z, by Jane Nelsen
Choice Theory by William Glasser, M.D.
I like the STEP
(Systematic Training for Effective Parenting) book a lot! And
they offer a comprehensive training
original theory came from Alfred Adler, and was shaped by Rudolf
approach to Improvisers is highly recommended by interventionist and Temperament
expert Dr. David Keirsey.)
outfit relies on Adlerian techniques for child-raising, and their products
are highly recommended.
I also like
the Gordon book
Parent Effectiveness Training, though I prefer using the "Choice"
approach over "Active Listening," but I believe they work well
together. (The STEP materials combine the two.)
* * *
is anything we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see
whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.
* * *
Haskins wrote a wonderful book
titled Parent as
Coach. She brings a message to parents from teenagers:
If you RESPECT me, I will hear you.
If you LISTEN to me, I will feel understood.
If you UNDERSTAND me, I will feel appreciated.
If you APPRECIATE me, I will know your support.
If you SUPPORT me as I try new things, I will become responsible.
When I am RESPONSIBLE, I will grow to be independent.
In my INDEPENDENCE,
I will respect you and love you all of my life.
Diana refers to this
communique as the "seven ways to coach teenagers," and claims that
each line delivers a step for coaching. (The hardest step is often the
I found the
first chapter of her book
to be compelling:
parent is a lifelong commitment that begins with the birth of a child and
lasts through all phases of life. As our children change and grow, what
do we as parents do to evolve with them? We can't stand still.
While the primary relationship remains the same, the role needs
to change for the parent as the child develops. Imagine yourself passing
through three distinct phases, or parenting roles, over the course of the
first twenty years of your child's life:
your first role during the formative years of the young child (approximately
0-6 years) as PARENT-TEACHER. You are your child's first contact with
mental and physical learning. You literally spend thousands of hours
together in day-to-day activities, feeding, rocking, reading, and
playing. It is a time of physical intensity in response to the child's
need. It is a time of nurturing.
six or seven years of age, the mental transition from "learning to
read" to "reading to learn" has occurred, and the child can
begin to absorb information independently. In the middle years (roughly
7-12), your child begins to initiate activities and create social groups, and
needs an adult to help organize events and provide transportation, among many
other supportive functions. Without completely abandoning your role as
parent-teacher, you take on the additional role of PARENT-ADMINISTRATOR --
managing your child's schedule and enabling him to explore his growing
early teen years, a child's intellectual process expands with new capability
for abstract thought. As your child begins to manage her own scheduling
and decision making, you may be fired from your role as administrator on the
spot. Then what? Your job as parent goes on, but the role you play
must change. At this point, you must make a conscious decision:
Continue to monitor homework, nag about picking up clothes, meet your teen's
silence with your frustration -- or accept nature's changes and take on the
role of PARENT-COACH.
ready. When your child makes the shift into the teenage years, it is
time for your role to shift as well. Though you may think you've arrived
at the parenting plateau -- your child's physical needs have lessened and she
is taking on more responsibility -- you find you have to change your ways, and
you may not be ready to do so. During this evolution, stay committed to
your long-term parenting relationship, and allow your role to change.
philosophy is summarized here:
changes our global perspective from "Teenagers--Oh No!" to
the parent-coach viewpoint, the parent-teen relationship moves from
conflict and opposition to encouragement and support.
end result is that our children are raised to fill their "adult
shoes" with the skills and maturity necessary to live as functional
and responsible members of society.
calling on you, parents and adults, to honor and respect teenagers for who
they are right now--vital young people who need your guidance on the journey
from childhood to adulthood. Nurture them and coach them in building their
associated website is this one, Coaching4Teens.
the chilling story of her experience with Luke (a pdf) that moved her to make
drastic changes and become a coach for teenagers. Her story is painful,
but clearly demonstrates how many of us need to change our approach to dealing
* * *
give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own
thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls
dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your
dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like
you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are
the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
Prophet, Kahlil Gibran
* * *
The "Know Thyself" Mother
believe the joy of motherhood is self-discovery--for them and for me."
and family-focused, the INFJ mother looks for and encourages the unique
potential of each child. Self-knowledge may be her byword. Her aim
is to help each child develop a sense of identity and cultivate personal
growth. In fact, she may value the mothering experience as a catalyst to
her own personal growth and self-knowledge.
mother spends time observing and understanding each child. She is drawn to
intimate conversations and seeks a free exchange of feelings and thoughts.
and accommodating, the INFJ mother strives to meet the important yet sometimes
conflicting needs of each family member in harmonious and creative ways.
conscientious and intense as well. Probably no one takes life and
child-raising more seriously than the INFJ. She approaches mothering as a
profession requiring her best self.
one-on-one with each child. The INFJ mother listens, observes, and
reflects to develop an understanding of who each child really is. She
"knows" her child and desires a close relationship. She connects
and keeps in touch with each child as a unique individual.
her children with emotional support. The INFJ mother is sensitive to
her children's feelings, not shying away from helping them deal with even their
heaviest emotions. She seeks to smooth out the rough edges of their
experiences with a comforting presence and her broader perspectives.
Focused on understanding values, spirituality, culture, and society, the INFJ
mother provides awareness and insights into the subtleties and lessons of life
beyond a child's immediate experience and questions.
The INFJ mother can dream up unusual, fun projects her children can do to occupy
their time and enrich their day-to-day experience, such as fantasy games to
play, theme parties, or special snacks to make from healthy foods.
The INFJ mother may gravitate toward the idea of getting the family and
household organized and in order, only to exhaust herself with nitty-gritty
follow-through. Regular baths for small children, weekly laundry, daily
meals, picking up clutter, and ongoing repairs can be overwhelming.
life versus the ideal. Because she lives with an ideal in her mind,
the INFJ mother often has unrealistic expectations of herself and others.
She may feel inadequate and critical of herself when reality falls short of her
too much. The INFJ mother may be prone to over-accommodation and
self-sacrifice as a way to maintain family harmony. She struggles with the
ramifications: a child who is too dependent and a mother who is depleted
she is drawn to people, the INFJ mother must remember that she needs time alone
on a regular basis. Since her children are greatly affected by her mood
swings, she is also giving to her children when she accommodates her
Introversion. Time alone to meditate, journal, listen to music, and enjoy
nature as well as intimate discussions with close friends can do wonders to
bring peace to herself. For the INFJ especially, "If Mom ain't okay,
ain't nobody okay."
mother needs to try to take life less seriously ... to lighten up and take time
to look at what life "is" rather than try to make it what it
"should be." By living in the moment rather than the future, she
can also help curb her tendency to take an isolated fact and extrapolate a
from Motherstyles: Using Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting Strengths by
Janet Penley & Diane Eble
* * *
Roosevelt compiled a short list in 1927 regarding the "Ethics of
an example in living.
preaching ethics and morals.
a knowledge of life's problems and an imagination.
shielding your children and clipping their wings.
your children to develop along their own lines.
prevent self-reliance and initiative.
vision yourself and bigness of soul.
* * *