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Helping families make the most of personality differences.

Choices
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TAGS: Decision Making, Guiding, About MMTIC, Choices, Communication, Differences, Preparation, Self-Management

Using Choices to Increase Individuality

Elizabeth Murphy, Ed.D.
ELIZABETH MURPHY, Ed.D., is a psychologist and type expert whose research focuses on verifying the development of normal personality differences according to the theory of psychological type. She works extensively with families and teams of people to improve communication and resolve relationship needs.
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Teachers and parents often agree that individuality should be encouraged in the home and in the classroom, but sometimes we hear comments from teachers that sound like this: "How am I supposed to do that when there are more than 30 students in the class?"

Schedules and requirements can exhaust teachers, so even when their heart is willing the energy is not there. Parents and teachers can begin the differentiation process with their children by speaking in pairs of choices that resonate with Jung's theory.

Giving children a chance to select the way they think or feel is good for them because they will explore new and challenging ways of making decisions. The children may not know psychological type concepts but the parent and teacher can open the door to Jung's ideas by talking in pairs and giving type choices. Maintaining the same task expectation for all but allowing varied ways of accomplishing that task objective can increase individual development and expression.

Adults new to the theory of personality type ideas sometimes struggle with developing pairs of choices for the children. Having a standard set of options for each of the dichotomies can be a beginning point. These can be exchanged for a million other paired options.

It is important that the "choice pairs" contain an option from each side of the theory's dichotomies, and the children must have a choice. Offering these language choices several times daily gives children developmental opportunities and increases their chance to discover the best ways that work for them.

Some potential examples are listed for each of the dichotomies in Jung's theory. Encourage students to look at both perspectives but to start with their favorite way.

Extraversion-Introversion
  1. Would you like to talk about the story first with your friend and then complete the worksheet (E) or would you like to complete the worksheet first and then share your thoughts with your friend (I)?
  2. Would you like to study with a team (E) or on your own (I)?
  3. Would you like to talk out your ideas while you are forming your thoughts (E) or would you like to think about things before you share your ideas (I)?
Sensing-iNtuition
  1. Would you rather think about all the facts and information you know about this topic before you pick your idea of a project (S) or would you like to think of an innovative project first and then figure out how to make it real (N)?
  2. Do you like to follow directions that are clear and plentiful to do your best (S) or would you like a general idea of what to do so you can explore options of new ways to try (N)? If the child says they want directions, tell them they can remain and ask questions for as long as they need. More likely the Intuitive children will leave early and the Sensing children will ask questions until they are comfortable with their amount of directions given.
  3. Do you understand better when information is presented in order (S) or do you like making connections between ideas to learn (N)? Intuitive children seem to enjoy using mnemonic connections to help them recall specific information whereas Sensing children seem to like being able to memorize when the order is predictable and accurate.

Thinking-Feeling

  1. Do you decide what to do with your first thought (T) or do you decide what is more important and start there (F)?
  2. Do you choose what you think will produce the best project (T) or do you choose what you think will be important to the team (F)?
  3. Do you notice what is incorrect first (T) or what is well done first (F)?
Judging-Perceiving
  1. Do you want to get your homework done well but as quickly as possible so you have more free time (J) or do you want to determine the last moment you can start and still get it done well (P)? If the latter is your best way, calculate the last moment you can start and still get it done on time. You may want to add some extra time "just in case" there are unexpected interruptions.
  2. Do you do better when you know the plans for the day (J) or when there are unexpected surprises in the day (P)? Planful children can ask to be told when the schedule will change. Playful children can ask to take a personal "fun" break for 10 minutes if they have completed some of the work. The choice must be theirs. But all children must finish the work on time
  3. Do you like to work first and then play (J) or do you like to play around while you get your work done (P)? If your style is to be playful while you work be sure your playful style does not interfere with another person's working style.

What if your child can't choose? Tell them that either choice is a good place to begin. "Try one this time and try the other next time. The goal is to help you determine what is your best choice for you and to recognize there will be others in the class who might choose a different way."

Set a personal goal to incorporate dual options in your classroom daily and as many times a day as possible. Don't be overwhelmed-chose one set of differences to start and increase your use of language-driven choices from that point. Theoretically driven options encourage greater self-awareness in children, increase independence, and contribute to the healthy development of the child's personality.

The strategy and implementation are free. It takes only a moment of time and it makes a critical difference.


You can learn more about the dichotomies and your individual personality type by taking the MBTI® assessment; your children can learn their type by taking the MMTIC® assessment.




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TAGS: Procrastination, Relationships, Chores, Communication, Differences, Discipline, Mothering Styles, parenting

School Morning Routines… or Not

Yvonne Nelson-Reid, B.Ed., M.A.
YVONNE NELSON-REID, B.Ed., M.A., is a mother of 5, writer, teacher, depth psychologist, and career coach. As a certified MBTI and MMTIC professional, she uses typology as a tool for helping others understand differences and communicate more effectively.
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As a parent, I am sure you will relate well to this one! School mornings... chaos! Everyone has somewhere they need to be, each with their own schedule and arrival times. Our society does not function on going at your own pace or getting there when you get there.

You would think that those who typically get up late and run out at the last minute would be the most stressed, but not in our house! Those are the kids who seem most chill about throwing on their clothes, probably yesterday's clothes, popping a mint, and putting their hair up in a messy ponytail.

They seem to go with the flow and handle what comes at them moment to moment. On the other side of this scenario, I have the kid who sets multiple alarms, just in case one doesn't work, who gets up an hour or more before they have to be anywhere. Although they could actually be ready in 10 minutes max, they take an hour.



The routine must remain constant. Slow breakfast, a little Netflix, getting dressed, washing face, brushing teeth, combing hair, organizing and reorganizing the backpack, and reviewing the day's schedule. Again, all of this could take 10 minutes, but it is about the process. So, imagine, when that person misses the alarm... pure panic! Even if there is still 30 minutes to get ready before leaving.

Let me be clear, yelling at them to get moving won't work! The more pressure they feel, the more panicked they become, and the less efficient the process. Rather than focus on getting ready, the panic takes over and they tend to run in circles, tears flowing, hysteria rising, not knowing where to start! Remain calm... that is the best tactic.

Even offering to help doesn't necessarily alleviate any stress, as the routine is what truly matters. I have found that as the kids have gotten older, it has become easier to help them remain calm and work through the process, reminding them that missing a short Netflix video in the morning won't ruin the day. They can always catch up at lunch.

Of course, when other family members engage in the chaos, telling said child to calm down, we arrive at what I would imagine Armageddon to be like. Needless to say, understanding how different we each are and doing our best to support those differences goes a long way in making the mornings run smoother.

It doesn't hurt to encourage those late risers to get up sooner, and an additional check in on those early risers is appreciated. The bottom line, my car leaves the garage at 7:40 am whether you are in it or not! Happy morning!



Framing Your Brainstorming:
Type Tip #6

You know the scenario - you are coming up with ideas fast and furious. If you want others to follow your way of expressing your thoughts, put a frame around them that explains how others should listen. For example, if you are brainstorming ideas you may say, "I am playing with possible ideas but have not selected any one." Now the listener knows these are not final choices but possible choices. This allows the young listener to better sort the information being shared.


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TAGS: Encouragement, parenting, Resilience, Self-awareness, Self-Management

Monday Selfies: Telling Children They are Wonderful without Teaching Them How to Become Wonderful is Unfair

Elizabeth Murphy, Ed.D.
ELIZABETH MURPHY, Ed.D., is a psychologist and type expert whose research focuses on verifying the development of normal personality differences according to the theory of psychological type. She works extensively with families and teams of people to improve communication and resolve relationship needs.
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We tell children so often that they are wonderful just being who they are but they don't always feel wonderful. Many worry greatly about how others perceive them and do not have a sense of what others see.

Some children focus only on their flaws. Others notice only their strengths. Development means we all may have moments when our way is a perfect match for the situation. Then there are the times when our way does not work well for the task at hand and we must accommodate.

Telling children they are wonderful without teaching them how to become wonderful is unfair. We are all born with potential but it needs nurturing.

Children make comments like, "I can't watch me because I am sure I am horrible" or "I don't know if I played well or not; what do you think?" These comments signal a need to help the child develop a realistic perspective of his or her strengths and stretches.

Child comments like these typically evoke parental responses such as: "No, you did a great job" or "Of course I thought you were great. Don't you realize how good you are?"

These comments may be reassuring but do not help the child to develop a personal sense of self-awareness. Instead you might respond: "I accept your self-perception. My impression was different but you have a right to your viewpoint. Tell me, what was good about your effort and what is one thing you would do differently if you had the opportunity."


Some children will start with the negative first and list 10 things. Take them back to one. Ask them to mentally rank everything and share the one thing that limited their success. Then go on to naming what the child thought was well done. Some may hesitate here. Try turning it into a game.

Ask the child to pretend he is the teacher and he has to give feedback to another child (not him). As the acting teacher, it is his job to notice both the positive points and the areas for further development. He must name at least two positive areas.

No matter what the child says, accept it. Some may be sarcastic at first and say things like "he had a cool hat" or "his pencil was sharpened." Accept it. Say that you might have noticed something else but this is observation and it is his observation that will matter most.

The lesson is, good self-evaluation matters. Even if a child gets an A on a paper you can still ask her to name what she did well with her studying and what she might change next time, if anything. The entire conversation should only take three or four minutes, so it will not exhaust the child, and the talk can be frequently repeated.

If the child does not want to pretend to be the teacher, ask them to pretend they are their grandmother/father, or aunt/uncle, or neighbor. What would they observe as the strengths and growth areas of the performance. Children can sometimes see things through another set of eyes better than their own at first, and this gives them a safe outlet. Let them choose.

What if the child never identifies anything that is positive? He says he "cannot think of anything." First, divide the task into domains. If the task was reciting a poem before the class, the domains to consider could include:
  1. Comfortable stance and presence
  2. Accurate recitation of the content
  3. Connecting with the audience with eye contact and tone
  4. Appropriate closure including acknowledging audience reaction
Pick one area for focus. Say: "At your next presentation I want you to pay attention to one of these domains. You must be able to say two positive comments and one growth comment."

That way you can start by focusing on a specific area rather than responding to the overall performance. Children with a Sensing preference might find this easier because it gives direction and a frame for the process. Remember, the ultimate goal is that the child is able to identify the good, the bad, and the ugly that go with almost every performance, whether it is a science fair project, a musical performance, or an athletic performance. This will happen throughout their lives.

There are "Monday morning quarterbacks" for football games. Parent can have a "Monday (or any other day) Selfies" where the child evaluates the positive and the challenge of a particular task. After the child gets in the habit of identifying personal strengths and stretches you can move to help fine-tune the accuracy of his or her self-awareness.

Learn more about your child's type, and how that might impact their "selfie."




Setting Limits and Respecting Choices
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TAGS: Guiding, Boundaries, Discipline, parenting, Problem Solving

The Bungee Cord Between Setting Limits and Respecting Choices with Middle School Tweens

Elizabeth Murphy, Ed.D.
ELIZABETH MURPHY, Ed.D., is a psychologist and type expert whose research focuses on verifying the development of normal personality differences according to the theory of psychological type. She works extensively with families and teams of people to improve communication and resolve relationship needs.
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Parents of children in middle school can feel they are caught by a bungee cord that whips them between giving their child independence and being fearful that the child is not ready to make decisions.  Children this age are trying to establish their values as separate from the family, while at the same time loving the family and wanting to be part of that value system.  Both parent and child experience the push and pull of this time period.

At times, problems may begin when the child's devotion and commitment to something, such as a sport, may be seen by the parent as a less important goal to consume their energies.  They may want their child to focus on 'real' schoolwork in preparation for high school and college.  

During the elementary years the child is more responsive to direction from adults and authority figures.  Beginning in these tween years the child starts to listen to the inner drives that guide them.  As much as possible, parents should listen to their child's interests and merge these with what is required.  If football is important and academics are slipping, the battle should not be between football or academics.  Instead, the focus should be a merger to respect both.  

The goal is not a compromise.  A compromise may neglect parts of each.  The language might sound like this:  "Wow, football is important to you and as a parent, academics and knowing you are getting a good academic foundation is important to me.  So how can you balance your time best so you can do what you need to do in your athletic endeavors without risking failing your classes and without being under constant emotional stress because you have to go to a class without your assignment completed?  Let's talk about how we are going to balance that time and balance your energy so you can get the best of both."

At this age, the parent must show some respect for the child's choices, but not abandon the family value they know is equally or even more important to what the child wants to do.  One of the rules that I used throughout high school clarified a template for the child.  I would say, "Final decision is yours when there is an honest choice that is yours to make.  If there is a law or a rule, you do not break the law or the rule, period.  You negotiate to change the rule for the next time, but you never just break it because you suddenly disagree with it.  So any time somebody wanted to change their curfew or change a house rule, I would say, "What we do in Congress is we revise the law; we just don't break it.  So you have to obey the rule this time but you can always sit down and negotiate for a change for the future." That seemed to respect the right of input for both parent and child, and reduced emotional reactions in the moment.

What if the child violates a rule?  Apply a natural consequence or an identified consequence.  Then sit down and negotiate any changes if changes are reasonable.  Some will not be and then you can say this is not a rule that can be changed at this time.  My children always challenged why I would not pay them for good grades.  That was not something I wanted to do so I would not yield.  We could always discuss the issue and they could present their views but the negotiation did not always result in the change they wanted.

Any time the tween begins to complain about rules remind them you are willing to discuss the issue with them.  Explain you will let them present their views and you will present yours.  Do not have the discussion that moment.  Set a time where everyone can dedicate at least 15 uninterrupted minutes to sit together to discuss the issue.  Hopefully, that date and time can happen within a day or two of the request.  Fifteen minutes is more than adequate.  

If emotions erupt and a lecture or argument begins, pause the negotiation and reschedule a time after an hour has passed.  You are teaching your child to solve problems in an adult way and to respect differences without necessarily adopting the other person's view. This skill will serve them well, and it will reduce the snap back of that bungee cord.



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