Are your kids really picking up what you're laying down?

Are your kids really picking up what you're laying down?

Parenting is more than discipline.

We all want our kids and step-kids to thrive…now and into adulthood.  Yet sometimes we fall victim to the idea that parenting is all about telling our kids what they should or shouldn't do.  Or worse yet, who they should or shouldn't be.

Gardening Trouble

This summer, we decided to plant a sunflower in the garden just under the eave of our home office.  We thought we were planting a 'Frilly' variety that would grow 5-6 feet tall and produce multiple, bright blooms.

When the stalk finally began to grow our excitement grew with it.  It grew rapidly and each time we thought we saw a bud form, it turned into a leaf rather than a bloom and the stalk continued shooting upward.  It was when the stalk reached almost 8 feet tall and began hitting the underside of the eave that we realized our sunflower wasn't the kind of sunflower we expected it to be.

After scratching our heads about what to do, Kim found the seed packet.  In very small print we found our answer:  "American Giant".  After just a little research we discovered our sunflower was destined to reach a height higher than we had planned for!  

Our plan for him (yes, we call it a 'him') was to peek out around 6 feet, but that wasn't enough for him.  Our research told us he was going to reach 15-16 feet!  So, we had a choice to make.  

We could have…

…tried to convince our sunflower that he should be more like the 'Frilly' variety.  He should stop growing and start blooming.  We could have tied him up under the eave, tried to stunt his growth and do our best to make him become what we originally wanted him to be. (We all know how that would have ended)

…rejected our sunflower because he wasn't becoming what we wanted.  We could have ignored him and just let 'fate' decide.  We could have withheld care and water because we were disappointed with him.  Or worse yet, dug him up and disposed of him.

…nurtured him to become what he was originally intended to be.  We could use bamboo sticks and plant ties to guide him out from under the eave.  We could do our part to encourage him to grow beyond his obstacles and become who he was intended to be.

Parenting by Personality

Kids are like that sunflower…you don't really know who they are until they start growing.  You might have ideas of who you want each of your children to be.  But they don't always fit the mold you've planned for them.

Every child (and adult) is 'wired' to perceive and respond to the world around them in a unique way based on their Personality Type.  Your child's type might be different than yours and chances are, you're parenting them in a way that fits your type rather than theirs.  


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Here's 4 reasons you should consider learning a new way and one resource to help:    

  1. Kids Are Different - each child in your home likely has a different Personality Type.  They will each learn in a different way and apply their learning to life uniquely.  Discovering the uniqueness of each child will help you teach them your values in a way they can really absorb.
  2. Positive Self-Perceptions - Kids naturally want to please their parents (even though it doesn't always feel that way!).  They try to meet our expectations, but can sense when they aren't 'fitting our mold'.  Their feelings of missing the mark can lead to self-esteem and self-confidence issues.  Parenting based on their Personality Type can help you avoid this unintentional result.
  3. Effective Teaching - Every parent wants their kids and step-kids to fully internalize the values they are working to teach.  The best way to ensure kids pick up what you're laying down is to parent them in a way that connects with their unique Personality Type.
  4. Bonding - Step-Parents, this is for you! - We talk a lot about stepfamily bonding in our classes and step-couple coaching.  Discovering your step-child's personality type and connecting with them in a way that matches their 'core wiring' can accelerate bonding. 

Taking Action

By now, you're thinking, "Yes!  I want to discover my child's Personality Type, but how do I do that?"  Here's a great resource to help.  The book Nurture by Nature by Paul D. Tiegar & Barbara Barron-Tieger will give you a detailed process for identifying your children's personality type and great parenting tips for each of the different types.  The investment of time and money in this resource is minimal, but the insights it will bring to your parenting is invaluable.  

By the way…we chose option 3 above for our sunflower and ended up with a beautiful, huge blossom that we enjoyed all summer!  Discover more about your kids and step-kids personality type and help them blossom too!

QUESTION:  What unique way do you see each of your kids or step-kids respond to the world around them?  Leave a comment below…

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