WT 103: Red, Yellow, Green or Blue? How to Parent the Kids God Gave You
Resources mentioned in today's episode:
Personality Plus for Parents by Florence Littauer
Becoming a Student of Your Child (individual lesson from Karen's Mom Core curriculum)
Question 1: A co-worker recommended I listen to your podcast. I listen on my way to work, and I love you! So I thought I would reach out to get some help. I'm a teacher and I have two daughters, ages 7 and 10. My 10 year old is a trying child and frustrates me terribly. She loves to be right, and will cry and act out still at times when she's frustrated. She's very quiet with others and has an anxious personality, along with attention issues. I love her dearly and feel bad that I get frustrated with her, but her dramatics and temper drives me crazy. Any advice or resources would be greatly appreciated. I don't want to hurt her confidence and I want to stay positive, but there are times she just wears me down.
Karen's Answer: I get it!!! I have never met your child, but from what you describe she sounds like a red. Red personalities want to be right and usually they are, they want to be heard, they want credit for their work, and the most important, they want to be in control. When they do not get these things, they control with their anger. My advice to you is to get the book, Personality Plus for Parents by Florence Littauer and read it and focus in on the Choleric temperament.
The best thing to do for a Choleric is to listen to them, hear what they have to say, even if you don’t agree. Don’t interrupt them, really listen. Tell them that she has some good points, some that you had not thought about, and you will give some thought to what she said. Then give it some time to breathe. After you have thought about it, go back to her and give her your decision. She may not like your decision, but the fact that you listened to her will mean the world to her. If she continues to argue with you, just say, “I’ve heard you, and I did think about what you said but my decision is this ________. You may not agree with me, but I am the mom and at the end of the day I answer to God and not you. I maybe wrong, but that is between me and God and he will let me know.” If she keeps arguing just say, “I’m not going to argue with you about this anymore.” Give her some things in her life to control, ask her for her opinion on different things. Praise her for her good ideas, and implement some of them, she will love that!
Question 2: I have a 4 year old boy who’s red. Really likes to be in control and in charge. We’re working on understanding Mommy and Daddy make the rules and he gets that, but so wants to be in control of something. Karen mentioned on another episode to give kids something to be in charge of but I’m struggling to come up with things this 4 year old can own. Ideas?
Karen's Answer: Great question :) Things a 4 year old can control:
putting away clothes, dishes in the dishwasher like silverware
feeding the dog, fish, cat
choosing what they want for a snack (give them two choices)
Ask him his opinion on things, like, “where should I put your snacks in the pantry so you can get them yourself?”
Which activity do you want to do? Go to the park or go swimming?
Question 3: Hi, Mama Bird! Have you seen the meme on Facebook that says "I hope my child ends up leading a company and not a gang in prison"? I say that about my child...how do you encourage independence and strength balanced with listening and being respectful? I want her to be a lady and act appropriately, but not be fearful of speaking her voice or standing for her convictions. She's four! Thanks! :)
Karen's Answer: You have to teach both to a child. You teach independence and strength by letting your child do things for themselves, like ordering their meal at a restaurant, getting things for you at the grocery store, walking into the Cleaners and picking up your order while you sit in the car and watch, asking their teacher their question and you not do it for them, when they leave their homework at school letting them call around to their friends to get the work, and not you calling another mom. In order for a child to grow independent, the mom must take a few steps back. With each new step the child will naturally grow stronger and stronger .
Then you teach how to submit to authority, teach that God set authority up in our lives for a reason, and teach your child how to respect their authority and elders. We show respect by not rolling our eyes, saying, Yes sir, No sir (I’m from the south) and by not interrupting another person while they are talking and look someone in the eyes when you are talking to them. All these things are showing respect. If you do those things we just talked about your child will be set and they will not be fearful to speak their own mind.
Question 4: Any thoughts on how I can help my perfectionist son work through his frustration with school work or anything that isn’t easily done perfectly? I have heard him say, “I am terrible at this,” “I’m no good at anything,” and “I’m just a stupid boy,” so many times. At this point I just get frustrated with him (I’m a red/yellow so talking this way about yourself is foreign to me!) and have zero sympathy for his mood. Help!
Karen's Answer: Girl! I am yellow/red so I understand you 100%, but I have a blue son and he said those same things. :) Here is what I did. First off, understand “why” he says what he says. He is a perfectionist by nature and has very high standards, both for others and himself. When you talk to him, address those things. Say, “I understand you want to do this right the first time, but you are just starting and it takes time and practice to get it right.” Point out people he knows that have worked hard at becoming good at what they do, point out athletes, artists, musicians that practice hours on end. Help him see it’s not a matter of being stupid it is a matter of practice and maturity. I have told Taylor to stop saying he is stupid because he is not, and I would not allow anyone to tell him that, not even himself. Blue temperaments have a way of feeling sorry for themselves, so don’t allow that to go on for very long. Keep in mind they control by their moods. Taylor was this way his whole life. Now as an adult, he will say, “Am I being too hard on myself?” I usually say yes. Also, I had to learn to give Taylor his space and not force him to snap out of it so quickly like a yellow would do. Try to see situations through your son’s blue temperament, and ask God to give you wisdom to deal with him.
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