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Helping families make the most of personality differences.

4 Results tagged "Chores"

PeopleStripes.org article
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TAGS: Decision Making, Guiding, Relationships, Boundaries, Choices, Chores, Communication, Differences, Homework, Mothering Styles, parenting, Problem Solving, Self-Management, Teenagers

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

Mollie Allen, M.Ed.
MOLLIE ALLEN, M.ED., is a certified coach, teacher and consultant working with groups and individuals. With undergraduate degrees in Child Development and Special Education and a M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision she worked in schools and in private practice with students of all ages and levels for 25 years.
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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 of those "my project is due tomorrow" events.

It was after 10 pm and I found myself on a dark, wintry road driving to anyplace that had poster board. I was frustrated! It wasn't my project! It wasn't the first time this had happened. Why was I here? On the return drive I pondered: what was going on and how could I make it different? I had to find a way to reduce or eliminate my frustration without feeling like I'd left my child in the lurch.

Over the next few days I reviewed my internal conflict. I like learning and taking classes. I wanted my children to be successful in school and I wanted their projects to be fruitful learning experiences, not times of regret. I resented being taken off track and dropping home and work obligations to run errands at the last minute. I wanted to be positive and interested in school activities but on some occasions, I was not a happy camper and it showed.

I am a natural planner and organizer. According to personality type as offered by the Myers-Briggs® instrument, I have a preference for Judging. I like things settled and lean toward making decisions; I tend to separate my work from play. I am one who keeps a calendar visible in the central living space. There is a clock in almost every room. I keep index cards, memo pads, greeting cards, envelops, pens, and pencils handy. I label, alphabetize and number color-coded files.


Clichés such as "things in their place" and "in a timely manner" were invented for people like me. Yet with all that modeling it didn't seem like my habits were contagious at all. In fact, some of my children were developing their own and very different KOS (Kid Operating System). In personality type language, I saw preferences for Perceiving emerging. There was a tendency to lean towards further exploration and combine work with play. That attitude towards curiosity meant alternatives were flowing until the last possible moment - then a decision was made.


There had to be a way for us to learn to live productively and positively with these differences without me abdicating my values (and carrying frustration) and without their projects becoming a series of crises. How to honor what I knew about myself while accepting and supporting their way?

During a discussion with my children I recapped that winter night errand and how frustrated and angry I was and why. I suggested we inventory supplies, designate a big cabinet to hold school and craft supplies and decide what would be appropriate to be on hand all the time. Things like index cards, tape, scissors, various types of paper, compass, ruler, etc. Then we generated ideas of what is used sometimes, yet good to have on hand: rubber cement, oven baked clay, glue sticks for the glue gun. Behind the cabinet we stored poster board of various sizes.

I moved my ever-present magnetized shopping list and walked them over to the refrigerator where it and a pencil were now easily accessible. I made it very clear that I would take responsibility for purchasing what was on the list and would no longer go out on the spur of the moment for supplies. In order for the supplies to be available, it was their job to keep an eye on the cabinet contents and to write what was needed on the list. Of course, there were a few slip-ups but overall it allowed for more family-friendly evenings in the after-supper kitchen/homework room.

The immediate reward was a reduction in my own frustration and an increase in my interest in their homework and projects without wondering if I might trigger something for me to do. An unexpected reward was the problem solving and solutions that came about from this very different way of operating. From calling a neighbor to borrow paper, to kitchen concoctions and last-minute costumes, this change fostered my children's progress towards independent learning, and often included some fun.

Once I began to "let go" it gradually became easier for me to set my responsibilities apart from theirs. This became essential as a parent of middle and high school students. One frustrating evening and a few days of reflection lead to a central piece of my POS, and years of positive difference.


You can learn more about the individual personality types of your children by having them take the MMTIC® assessment. Get a better understanding of your own preferences by taking the MBTI® assessment.



Compliance and development
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TAGS: Decision Making, Guiding, Boundaries, Choices, Chores, parenting, Self-Management, Teenagers

The Delicate Balance Between Compliance and Development

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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As parents, when we want compliance from our children, we should not give them choices. We give them rules to follow. They may have choices at times for HOW they follow the rule but not IF they follow the rule.

For instance, my children were expected to clean their rooms. My daughter would clean as quickly as possible to be done with the chore. My son would create games while he cleaned, and the process could take hours until a friend called to play and then the job was finished in moments. The rule was CLEAN YOUR ROOM. Their style came out in the way that task was completed.

Even rules as immediate as COME HERE NOW can be done with style. One child might bounce a ball as they walk toward you and the other might come moping and dragging. Because it was a rule, there is no question about whether to come now but how, is still an option.



Development is giving true choices. Whatever way the child selects is allowable. Parents might allow their child to select his/her own clothes. Parent might allow their child to choose to ride a bike to a friend's house or walk. Parents might allow a child to choose to play drums or flute in the school band program.

When a child makes an independent choice, development occurs. As much as possible we want to give children the freedom of wise decision making, but some decisions are not theirs to make. That's when rules apply.

When an appropriate situation arises, the parent first needs to discern if this is an opportunity for development or if compliance is required. Sometimes as a parent, I was just too tired to give choices. Normally, I would let the children choose their evening book for us to read together. Choosing a book could become a 15-minute exploration of their options.

Some nights I was too tired, so I chose for them. "Tonight, I choose the book. You can read with me or not, but I get to select." Today I would say the same thing, but I would tell them why. "Your way of finding tonight's book to read is a long process and I am very tired. I want to enjoy reading with you rather than sitting here waiting for you to decide." If I were not tired I would say, "Explore as long as you like. We have until 8:30 to finish our reading time together. You decide how much time you want to explore and how much time you want to read." Then I would set the timer on my watch.

One parent's rule may be another parent's development moment. One time you might use a rule while the next time, allow options. Those are the joys of parenting.

A rule should be considered non-negotiable in the moment. A child cannot change a rule when it is stated but can ask for time to discuss it for a future occasion. When you give a rule, it should not be challenged for compliance at that time. Negotiate later. Expect the rule to be followed now.

Perhaps you are thinking, what if my child does not follow the rule? What if they do not do as requested? Then restate the rule. "In our house when I ask you to come now you say OK and come right away. Come now." If your child starts to whine say, "You may not want to come now but when I ask you to come, you must do as I ask." Parents will want to be careful not to overuse this rule and to balance rules with opportunities for choices and development.

In family meetings, parents can ask children if there are any rules they want to negotiate. If they ask for the right to make a choice (such as bedtime) and it is not an age-appropriate choice for them (e.g. 4-year-old vs. 14-year-old), explain that there are three kinds of decisions in the family:
1. Parent decides
2. Child decides
3. Parent and child decide together

Then explain that bedtime for their age is a parent decision. Decisions appropriate for their age should be respected but that does not mean relinquishing decision making to a child who is not ready to make wise choices for that situation.


You can learn more about the individual personality types of your children by having them take the MMTIC® assessment. Get a better understanding of your own preferences by taking the MBTI® assessment.



PeopleStripes.org article
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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!



It’s Your Turn to do the Dishes
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TAGS: Guiding, Chores, Problem Solving

It’s Your Turn to do the Dishes

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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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. Of course, that plan takes more time. My husband’s approach to life more closely matched that of my daughter so he thought her way was good and effective. My son’s way drove him crazy. 

My son thought that every piece of work should be treated with respect but handled with fun. Therefore, he would make up games to play while doing the dishes. He would clean half the table, then do part of the floor, then play with the hose used to rinse dishes. He was fine. He was happy. He was working. My husband was pacing the room totally agitated. His comments included: “Why does he have to do that?” “Why can’t he finish one thing and then go to the next?” “Why must everything be a game and take so long?” 

 So when it was my son’s turn to do the dishes we made my husband leave the house. He had to go take a walk or do something else and when he came back, if there was anything wrong with the job that was done, he could criticize my son. If there was not, then my husband had to acknowledge that it was not the output that was problematic but the process—the way my son had chosen to get the job done. 

 

 

 Acknowledging we have children with inherent and different ways of getting a job done means we should shift our focus to the output. Did the job get done well? One child may take longer but that can be OK. If a time limit is necessary just tell the child that they only have an hour and the child will get the job done within that time frame. The other child may be more time efficient but the quality of work may be the same. Judging a child’s work by the product completed rather than the process allows different styles to each be effective in the home. 

 What if the child does not do a good job? Then likely it is not about style differences. Perhaps the child needs to be taught how to load the dishwasher. Perhaps the child is pulling a “con” to see if they can pretend incompetence and someone will take over the job. Perhaps they are just being lazy and refusing to do the job competently because they don’t care. 

 When any of these happen, you reach in your bag of parenting tools and pull out other interventions. I would suggest telling the child they can leave the kitchen when the job is done adequately. Then ask if they need any help or guidance to understand what is expected. DO NOT show them by doing the job for them. DO NOT lecture on what they should be doing. Instead, remain calm, state once that the kitchen cleanup is their task for the evening and you look forward to reading a book together or doing something fun when they finish. Walk away. 

 Praise the completed task. Make no comment on the way the job was done. You can ask if they need any advice for their next time to clean the kitchen but allow them to get the job done in their best way—but get the job done.