WT 132: Gaining Understanding of our 'Greens'

by Karen Stubbs | Birds on a Wire | Wire Talk Podcast

Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Personality Plus by Florence LIttaeur

Wire Talk Episode #103

How long have these four temperaments been around?

Six Truths of Motherhood study – Hold the Line

Question 1: In our house school work is a constant issue.  I don’t know if it’s a ‘green’ thing or a teenage thing or a boy thing (this child is our oldest and only boy). But the more we push him or expect from him he shuts down. He’s not a bad student, but he could be so much better if he put out more effort.  If we put too high expectations on him he shuts down and thinks we are saying he’s stupid which is far from what we are trying to say to him.  I can’t tell if it’s our approach to him or if he just doesn’t care.  He will not go talk to his teachers because he’s nervous or he doesn’t want to look like a brown noser or he doesn’t want to look stupid. His teachers enjoy having him in class, but if one says a cross word to him he thinks they don’t like him when it sounds to me they are trying to get more out of him. Help!

Karen’s Answer: I think because he is a Green AND in high school I would let it be his responsibility and allow the consequences play out, good or bad.  Here is the deal, he is going to have to figure it out as a Green. I know it is so hard to see them struggle, but better to learn under your roof than at college when he is alone.  Greens DO shut down, and they DO hear that you are not for them. So, be positive, tell him you know he’s got this and take five BIG steps back and allow him to sink or swim. I imagine he will swim. I would ask him a question like, “How do you think you should handle this situation?” Then leave it with him.  Give him respect, and try not to tell him what to do. Build him up, because otherwise he will shut down. My daughter, Emily did this her sophomore year. The more I pushed the worse she did.  I had to learn to back off, and she did struggle, but she had to figure it out. And she did.  She did go on and graduate from college. And is a teacher now. They are stubborn. The more you micromanage the worse they get. Be patient.  Keep in mind Greens get overwhelmed very easily, so let him figure it out on his own and tell him if he needs guidance you are there to help.

 

Question 2: How do you encourage your kid to get everything done they need to do without sounding like a drill sergeant or asking them 100 times to complete a task?  We’ve got chore charts but I still feel like I have to remind them, and when they get home from school I feel like I have to remind them to put away their things, do their homework, practice piano, etc.  I’ve tried writing out a to-do list but it still doesn’t work. They dawdle and get easily distracted.

Karen’s Answer: Keep in mind they are kids! I say that and I’m calm when I say it because I am not “dealing” with this anymore, but it’s true.  I think a reminder is fine, I would not remind them 100 times. I’d sit them down, and say, “I’m going to remind  you one time to get your work done and then it is on you to do it. If you don’t do it, you will bear the consequences of your actions.  IF your grades drop then your social activities will drop as well until your grades are raised. As long as we remind our children 100 times, they will continue to keep “forgetting”. If they fail, then they will remember. If you want to keep this same train of thought going with the piano lessons, you could say, if you don’t practice your piano you owe me money. You can divide the monthly amount of piano lessons divided by the amount of days practiced and get the exact figure they “owe” you. Money always is a motivator. Be patient, but only remind once. 

 

Question 3: My six year old son is a follower with all of his friends… How do I instill in him the importance of being a leader?

Karen’s Answer: He may just be a follower! We are not all born leaders. They key to a follower is that they look and make a decision to follow the right kind of person.  Emily was more of a follower than a leader. She would lead, but it wasn’t her first response.  I was constantly talking with Emily and helping her determine who were good people to follow and who wasn’t. Likewise, with Kelsey, Taylor and Abby I asked them questions like, “Are you being a good leader or a dictator?” Coach your child through this very important topic.

 

Question 4: How do you keep teens motivated to do well in school, while still giving them independence to make their own choices?

Karen’s Answer: I think with teens it is best to give them a little freedom, then when you see them manage that well, then give them some more.  So many times as a parent, we let all the reins out, then realize we did it too fast so we try to bring them back in. But, they don’t like to taste the freedom then lose it.  With our teens, we tried to give them things to look forward to throughout their high school experience. As they matured, we gave them more to look forward to. The goal is when they graduate they are making a lot of decisions on their own, with your guidance.  That is the goal. It’s important with teens that they feel “heard”, even if you don’t agree.  Try and listen. Also, there is so much pressure on our teens today, try not to be an added source of pressure to them.  Not everyone needs to go to a certain school, have a certain GPA, etc. Be “FOR” your child, it makes a big difference. Pace yourself as the parent. Don’t let society dictate how fast your child grows up, you are still the parent.

 

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