- Helping families make the most of personality differences.

Helping families make the most of personality differences.

8 Results tagged "-Decision-Making"

Lesson in Self-Management

TAGS: Decision Making, Guiding, Boundaries, Problem Solving, Self-Management

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

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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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. Instead of making the world a perfect place, he could have seen the bike ride as a natural opportunity for teaching self-management to the child. We need to encourage children to make decisions and live with the consequence of those decisions.

The bike ride was a great opportunity for a parent to use guidance. They could have stopped before they took their walk or their ride, looked down the block and said, “Do we see anything that might interfere with our ability to ride our bikes safely and successfully? If there is something like that trashcan in our way, what can we do? What is our best solution?”

Guiding is helping the child process different possibilities and then evaluating their chosen option for its reasonableness and its importance. If a child’s behaviors are inappropriate or put them in a dangerous situation, you of course stop the behavior immediately. That is not a moment for guiding. But if we want them to use problem-solving methods in the future, then we should provide opportunities for decision-making with guidance. In the rush of events that envelop parents, many may become directive and take the lead in solving the problem for the child.

Recently, I saw a parent with a child about the age of 4 and the child was pouring his cereal. The space between the box, the bowl, and the milk measured a little over an arm’s length. The parent said, “No. No. Put the cereal box right beside the bowl. Pour the cereal first and close the box top and then put it over here because you are done with it. Here is the milk. Be careful when you take off the lid. Then pour it and put the lid back on. When you are done put it here.”

The child was clearly able to pour the milk and the cereal. This could be an excellent time to sit back and use guidance rather than directives. There is no rush. There is no danger present. The parent could give the same information in different words. “I remember when I was little. I did that once and I had such a long space between where my bowl was compared to the milk and cereal. I ended up making a mess and I thought I might do it differently another day. What do you think?”

If the child says, “It’s fine,” say “Okay, I was just sharing my experience. It didn’t work for me. It’s OK if you want to try and make it work for you. If not, what do you think might happen? By the way, the house rule is everyone cleans up their mess. Whatever you decide is fine with me.” Then walk away. Leave the final decision in the hands of the child, but you can guide them with your language to process their thoughts. Guiding is setting the stage for good decision-making.

What if the child says, “Leave me alone. I can do this," and then spills the milk all over the table? You can respond: “Sometimes even when we think we made a great decision, things go wrong. Sorry. You know where the cleaning supplies are stored.”

You can remind the child periodically that some decisions are the child’s to make, some decisions are Mom’s to make, and some decisions are made in a shared way. (That’s a topic for another day!)

You are always willing to talk through any decision as a way to help your child think of the reasonableness and the importance of their choice.

Parenting in a Crisis

TAGS: Decision Making, Crisis, Mothering Styles, parenting

Parenting in a Crisis: Who Do You Want Around?

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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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!

Different Views of Decision Making

TAGS: Decision Making, Differences, Mothering Styles, Problem Solving, Teenagers

Different Views of Decision Making

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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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.

We are close so I thought the process would go smoothly for us, but I was wrong, at least at the start. Our personalities came up against each other. When I gather information to make a decision, I look at the big picture. I imagine what the future might look like and all the possibilities it might bring. She, on the other hand, has difficulty looking beyond the present and draws upon the past when thinking through a situation.

For her, it was hard to look beyond all her wonderful experiences at her current school: the professors, her friendships, her many successes. Yet at the same time she was feeling drawn to be closer to family. The unknown was terrifying her and making the “right” decision was an overwhelming task.

Of course, I jumped in with my excitement of new adventures, new beginnings, and all the amazing opportunities that a new bigger city could offer her. Each time we spoke, she seemed to get more and more frustrated, sometimes ending our calls abruptly with an agitated tone. I was just trying to help! At least I thought I was helping but once I thought about it more, I realized that I was offering her advice and suggestions based on what “I” would want to hear and not what “she” needed or wanted to hear.

Lending her support meant listening and validating her experience and what she would be leaving behind. Then I could gently bring in those possibilities that lay before her, a little at a time. When talking about those possibilities, however, I would bring in the past. For example, she was so afraid that she wouldn’t make new friends, so I would remind her of how she felt that way when she first started college, and how quickly she made some wonderful new friends.

Rather than just focus on the future, I brought in her past experiences to remind her that she had done it before and could do it again. Although I’m sure she will still have some tough times ahead of her, she has moved and so far, is thrilled with her decision. This experience could have driven a wedge between us, but in learning to work with each other’s personality styles and respecting our differences, we came through it all—closer than ever.

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