PeopleStripes.org - Helping families make the most of personality differences.

Helping families make the most of personality differences.

PeopleStripes.org article
LINK COPIED TO CLIPBOARD

TAGS: Guiding, Boundaries, Choices, Communication, Mothering Styles, Parenting, Problem Solving, Teenagers

Helicopters and Snowplows

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.
View full author bio | Close

A recent article referenced a new style of parenting called "Snowplow Parenting." 

We know that Helicopter parents hover near their children to be part of every moment of the child's life.  They are there "just in case" the child needs them.  Snowplow parents predict which obstacles will be in their child's way and remove them so the child is able to proceed successfully - at least that is the hope.  

Every parent adopts a style they believe is in the best interests of their child.  Parents everywhere want their children to be happy, successful, and confident.  As far as I can tell Snowplow parenting does everything to undermine confidence.  Handling their own problems reinforces confidence in the child's own abilities.  Instead of teaching the child how to manage their life needs, the snowplow style of parenting sends the message that the child is not capable and needs the parent to prepare the way for them.

When a child has no opportunity to manage their world, they become less competent to manage life on their own.  A strong ego expressed as confidence comes from surviving faults and solving problems. 

What constitutes a problem can be very different for the various personality types, and each type has a certain set of skills to learn in order to be successful in life.  Everyone is born with strengths and everyone is born with stretches.  These are not the same for all the personality types.  So, what works for one child in the family may not work equally well with another child in that family.

  • Sensing types enjoy gathering information. That part is easy. Their challenge is to pull the information together into patterns and innovative ideas.
  • Intuitive types enjoy generating innovative and unique projects or contributions.  Their stretch is completing all the parts. They need more assistance during the work or implementation phase rather than during the design phase.
  • Feeling types start life trusting with a naïve innocence that makes them vulnerable to be fooled by false relationships. Their stretch is to learn to discern and be alert to the disingenuous.
  • Thinking types enter life independent. Initiating on their own is a strength. Yet they want to be competent at everything and struggle with accepting and enduring the frustration of failure.

A Snowplow parent removes all the obstacles.  If that happens, the Thinking child will not learn to cope with incompetent moments, the Feeling child will not learn the signs that a person is not to be trusted, the Intuitive child will not learn to pace their energy to keep working when things become boring, and the Sensing child will not learn how to organize all that they know so they can use the knowledge in new and productive ways.  The child develops from doing the work.  Being directed on what to do is not the same as solving the problem and coping with the consequences.

Resilience is a characteristic most parents want to see in their children.  This skill builds over time and is more securely established when experiencing many little blocks of problem solving rather than when the first real challenge happens at age 20.  

So, parents, when you are tempted to solve a problem for your young child (e.g. work the system to be sure your child is "on the team" or "in the play") you may be working against your goal: a competent individual.  Celebrate their achievements but also celebrate their handling of the bumps along the way.  These may have a larger impact on the child's character development and resiliency than any of the successes.


Guide your child rather than direct your child.  Give options and examples but allow the child to make the decision.  Teach them how to cope with the consequences if their choice does not work as expected.  The developmental goal is to teach children HOW to decide by looking at the issue from multiple perspectives, using Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling rather than telling them WHAT to decide. (See the article on using the Z-model of decision-making.)

As the parent, when your child fails or has a problem (and they all will) you may need to decide what you will do to hold back and allow their learning process to occur.  

The hardest part of parenting is watching our child be in pain, but a very joyful part of parenting is watching them handle their pain and handle the problem.  We must give them the freedom to try.  Use the snowplows for snow.





Related Content

Do it for Mom: Type Tip #3

if you are the parent with a judging preference and your child has a perceiving preference, it is still OK to ask them to do their homework on a Friday night but recognize they are doing it for you, not for them. You might say, "My job as your Mom is to check your homework. I cannot relax over the weekend until I get that job off my list of things to do. Please do your homework on Friday so I can enjoy the rest of the weekend." Kids can adjust their behavior to respect the type of the parent, too.


LINK COPIED TO CLIPBOARD




PeopleStripes.org article
Read More - PeopleStripes.org article

Good Mom or Bad Mom?

In my 30th year, I became a mother for the first time. All I really had to go on was how I was raised by my mother and observing friends who took the plunge before me.





Lesson in Self-Management
Read More - Lesson in Self-Management

A Bike, a Trash Can, and a Lesson in Self-Management

A father was taking his young daughter on a ride using her brand-new bike with training wheels. I watched the little girl riding on the sidewalk. The father was running ahead moving any trashcan that was in the way or little twigs that might be a bump for her. Basically, he was doing his best to make it a perfectly fine path for the child to ride.





It's Their Homework Not Yours
Read More - It's Their Homework Not Yours

It's Their Homework Not Yours – How to Help Without Taking Over the Work

Have you endured the experience of supervising, snoopervising, and actually doing your child’s homework? I believe every parent wants the child to do the work independently but for some that habit does not seem to develop naturally. Some parents monitor every step of their child’s work, and the child learns to manipulate the system until the parent is doing more work than the child.





It’s Your Turn to do the Dishes
Read More - It’s Your Turn to do the Dishes

It’s Your Turn to do the Dishes

When two siblings have the same family chore to do at different times it is easy to observe how each person approaches the task in different ways. Our family’s task of doing dishes came with a dilemma.

My daughter (10) had a preference for “getting the job done.” She would go to the kitchen and clean everything as quickly as possible so she could have more time for play. My son (8) would see this as a moment to play while getting the job done.





PeopleStripes.org article
Read More - PeopleStripes.org article

The Challenge to Win Fairly and Lose Friendly

All children in elementary schools have to learn how to “win fairly and lose friendly.” The task is harder for some children than it is for others. To learn the lesson, beginning in preschool, there should be moments for winning and moments for losing. When teachers try to create an environment where “everyone wins,” children lose the opportunity to learn this skill.





Setting Limits and Respecting Choices
Read More - Setting Limits and Respecting Choices

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

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.





siblings
Read More - siblings

Siblings: Tender vs Tough

To me, empathy for others is an innate and integral part of who I am. So when I noticed a lack of empathy towards others in my 3rd child, my heart sank.

With her siblings and with friends on the playground, she would come across as cold and uncaring. It wasn?t like she was mean or cruel, she just seemed removed from the situation. If someone got hurt, or was in a scuffle with another child, she could simply state a rational, logical explanation as to what happened, while others were crying and dramatically telling the story as it best fit their desired outcome.





Different Views of Decision Making
Read More - Different Views of Decision Making

Different Views of Decision Making

Last summer we moved from Virginia to Texas, leaving behind our college-aged daughter who was about to enter her sophomore year. It was a tough year for us both. She was homesick and I missed her dearly.

Over her December break, she started thinking about transferring schools so that she could move closer to us. Although this is what I had been hoping for, I knew this needed to be her decision. I could listen, I could lend support, and perhaps even encouraging words, but all in all, she needed to be the one to decide.





Parenting in a Crisis
Read More - Parenting in a Crisis

Parenting in a Crisis: Who Do You Want Around?

When it comes to a crisis, especially one involving physical injury, you do not want me around! Several experiences come to mind in regard to my own children and let me be the first to say, I’m not too proud of these moments.

I like a well-planned out life. However, accidents typically do not happen on a schedule! I have a preference for Judging, and planning every moment of everyday makes me happy!





End of school...please!
Read More - End of school...please!

End of School, End of Report Period, End of Patience

There is nothing I hate worse than seeing potential wasted. Getting that dreaded email or phone call from an exasperated teacher certainly does not help the situation.

Our school district has an online Parent Portal where parents can log in and monitor their child’s grades throughout the year. Now with five children this can become a full-time job in and of itself, so thankfully over the years there has not been a big need in my family to utilize this site, except with one child in particular.





PeopleStripes.org article
Read More - PeopleStripes.org article

School Morning Routines… or Not

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.





PeopleStripes.org article
Read More - PeopleStripes.org article

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

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 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.



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.


LINK COPIED TO CLIPBOARD




Choices
Read More - Choices

Using Choices to Increase Individuality

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?"





PeopleStripes.org article
Read More - PeopleStripes.org article

“My Teacher Hates Me! I Hate My Teacher!” – The Joys of a New School Year





Learning Styles
Read More - Learning Styles

Learning Styles – Meeting the Needs of the Student





Compliance and development
Read More - Compliance and development

The Delicate Balance Between Compliance and Development





PeopleStripes.org article
Read More - PeopleStripes.org article

How was Your School Day? From No Response to an Overabundance of Details

Kids spend a great deal of time away from us during the day, either through day care or school, depending upon age and parents' schedules. So, what goes on during this time? If you are like me, one of the first things I ask the kids when they come home is, "How was your day?"





PeopleStripes.org article
Read More - PeopleStripes.org article

What’s Your POS (Parent Operating System)? And Where Does it Come From?

A major challenge for some parents is learning how to support your children without forgetting about yourself. I developed habits and policies – my Parent Operating System – through experience and reflection. A foundational piece came after one “my project is due tomorrow” event.





PeopleStripes.org article
Read More - PeopleStripes.org article

Help or Hire?

Children love when we wait on them hand and foot. Who doesn't? Sometimes, without meaning to, we inadvertently encourage children to feign helplessness because we rush to help too soon. Here is a suggested strategy that works well for those occasions.





PeopleStripes.org article
Read More - PeopleStripes.org article

Over Scheduled – Knowing When Enough is Enough



For Me: Type Tip #7

If you are adamant about an opinion or a procedure, add the phrase "for me" at the end so the child knows other opinions may also have value. Instead of saying, "pineapple pizza is disgusting," say "pineapple pizza is disgusting for me." That was undoubtedly your intent but the explicit phrase opens the door for the young listener to have a different opinion.


LINK COPIED TO CLIPBOARD




Family Meeting
Read More - Family Meeting

Family Meetings – Creating a Safe Environment Where Everyone has a Voice





Problem-solving
Read More - Problem-solving

Toss That Time-Out Chair: Use the Z-Model





Introversion-Extraversion
Read More - Introversion-Extraversion

Two Worlds: Extraversion and Introversion





Anything you can do...
Read More - Anything you can do...

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better





The View From Here
Read More - The View From Here

The View from Here





College Search Adventure
Read More - College Search Adventure

The College Search Adventure





PeopleStripes.org article
Read More - PeopleStripes.org article

What do Game of Thrones and Type Have in Common?





Failure might be an option
Read More - Failure might be an option

Failure is not an option - or is it?





PeopleStripes.org article
Read More - PeopleStripes.org article

Meet, Greet, Repeat – Sweet!





Not the typical gift
Read More - Not the typical gift

Not the Typical Gifts for Our Kids





Preparing for the 21st Century
Read More - Preparing for the 21st Century

Preparing for the 21st Century