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Helping families make the most of personality differences.

8 Results tagged "Encouragement"

Problem-solving
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TAGS: Decision Making, Guiding, Listening, Relationships, Choices, Communication, Encouragement, Problem Solving, Teenagers, Timeout

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

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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While you are clearing away decorations from the holiday and putting things back in place consider tossing that Time-Out Chair. Replace it with a Problem-Solving Chair.

Time-out is a staple in the set of parenting tools for managing a child's inappropriate behaviors. Children are emotionally upset and go to time-out. Children are aggressive and go to time-out. Children are destructive and are sent to time-out. When their time is "up" the parent asks if they are sorry or if they are ready to behave. Most children say, "yes." Many may not know what they are going to do differently but they are sorry they got into trouble. Time-out was a good alternative to spanking children but we can do even better.

Changing the chair to a Problem-Solving chair still removes the child from the moment and allows them time to regain control. The Problem-Solving chair requires the child to solve the problem and have an action or coping plan if the problem occurs again. The parent needs to take 3-5 minutes to talk with the child so the parent is more involved in the process than they are with the time-out method.

To successfully complete the problem-solving process the child would use the Z-model by looking at the problem from the perspective of the Sensing, Intuitive, Thinking, and Feeling approach.

1. Sensing: Ask "What happened? What was happening before that?"
2. Name the problem.
3. Talk about ways to solve the problem.
a. How have you solved that problem in the past? What have others done? (Sensing)
b. What else could you try? (Intuition)
c. Are you able to do your idea? Do you have the skills, the time, the tools? (Thinking)
d. How will others react when you solve your problem the new way? Is it important for you to learn a new way to solve the problem? (Feeling)

For example, imagine the child got frustrated because he could not get his truck to work. The wheels kept getting stuck and would not roll so he threw the truck against the wall. He is sent to the problem-solving space.


Tell him when he is ready to talk about solving the problem you will be ready to talk with him. If you are in the middle of doing something when he says he is ready, tell him you will be ready, too, as soon as you finish stirring the sauce, for example.

Then sit with him in the same space. Be at eye-level if possible. Ask question #1: What happened? What was happening before that?

Ask the child question #2: name the problem. If he is unable to say what the problem was, give him two choices and let him select. For example, you might say, "Is the problem that the truck's wheels were not working or is the problem that you do not like playing with trucks?"

When the child selects that the truck's wheels were not working say, "Let's decide how to solve that problem if it should happen again."

Sensing: Is the truck broken?  Can it be fixed?  Can you learn to fix it?  Will you need help to fix it?

Intuition: If the truck wheels cannot be fixed can you think of other ways to use the truck?  Can you think of other games to play? 

Thinking: Is this a special toy?  Is this an expensive toy?  What is the best way to get toys repaired?

Feeling: Is this toy important to you?  Is the wall important to the family?  How will people react to you if you ask for help or decide to fix the truck or to play with something else?

If the wheels on the truck do not work next time what will you do? 

Now you have a plan that will show you how to make good choices.

Invest the time to not only remove the child from the stressful situation but to use the moment to teach them problem-solving skills that will serve them for their lifetime.  This strategy also causes development as the child uses their personality preferences.


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TAGS: Decision Making, Guiding, Listening, Boundaries, Choices, Communication, Encouragement, Mothering Styles, parenting, Problem Solving, Self-Management, Teenagers

Help or Hire?

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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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.

My granddaughter was scratching an itch on her hand and I suggested using some hand lotion to help with the problem. I told her the lotion was in my bathroom. She got up, went there, and then called "I can't find it."

Now, my first impulse was to get up and find it for her, but we have a policy in the home called "Help or Hire." Any time people need help because they cannot do the task, they overestimated their skills, or they are emotionally exhausted and just need some TLC, then Help is always there. But if the person is very capable and still plays the helpless card then they must HIRE the help.

I thought my granddaughter was more than capable so I answered her with these words. "I trust in your skills to find the lotion but if you want to hire my help it will cost you 50 cents."

She thought for a moment, decided to give it one more try and magically she found the lotion. We help when help is NEEDED but hire when we just don't feel like doing it on our own. The system works. Sometimes my fee is money and sometimes it is chores. I don't worry about always charging the same rate. I just tell them I am a consultant and my rates can change.

Another version of this is the lost and found box. One mother said she put any electronics she found laying around the house or on the floor (IPADs, phones, Nintendos, Wii controllers) in a storage box. She tells her children the article has been impounded and they have to pay the fee to get it out of impound. She explains that is what the police do with cars they find abandoned. The parent can determine the amount of the impound fee. Again, I encourage you to allow the impound fee to be paid in money or chores. Tied to this is a clear expectation and awareness of the location where the electronics should be kept.

Be careful with impounding! Kids can also impound electronics that parents leave scattered around the home so do not start this system unless you want to follow it, too.

What if after your "Help or Hire" offer they say, "Never mind. I'll do without." That is a choice. You would not use this strategy if YOU asked them to do the task. It is to be used when they ask for your help.

Remind them you will always be there when they NEED you but you will not disrespect their independence by responding to requests they could complete on their own. We can always do nice surprises for those we love but solving every problem for our children sends a very different message. Rather than a sign of support, intervening too soon can actually send a message of disrespect.




Learning Styles
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TAGS: Procrastination, Class Participation, Differences, Encouragement, Homework, Learning, Problem Solving, Self-Management, Teenagers

Learning Styles – Meeting the Needs of the Student

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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In addition to being a parent, I am a teacher. I taught middle and high school for several years. Math and Health were the main subjects assigned to me. Everyone loved health class, as we could talk about so many topics relevant and important to the kids (the Alberta health curriculum rocks!).

Math on the other hand was always a challenge. Not every child likes math. My philosophy and mission was that math is fun and it was my job to demonstrate that to the students. Often it was the kids who struggled to understand math concepts who hated it, so how could I better help them to learn those concepts?

I developed several math games (ex: GeoGolf which taught geometry through game play), brought in cross curricular projects (ex: math poetry), and most important of all, reminded them consistently that if they were really trying and still didn't get it, that it wasn't them, it was me.

As a teacher, I firmly believe that I need to teach in a way that reaches each student. In other words, I need to teach you in the way you learn best, which means I need many tools in my math tool box to express a concept in a variety of ways. I still remember Ryan. Ryan needed extra time to complete tests. I knew many teachers at the time who enforced "when time is up it is up," regardless of whether you had finished. I could never understand this, since we were testing an understanding of the concepts and not how fast you could process the questions.

For Ryan, I gave extra time, and anyone else who might have needed it, but for him, this made the difference between passing or failing. Much of math is formulaic and laid out in a structured way. Some kids loved this and if I could give them step by step directions, they excelled.

Not Dean. He spent more time coming up with creative solutions to those same problems, finding the right answer but in a completely different way. I loved his imagination and the ingenuity of his solutions. Rather than knock him for his creative methods, I would have him explain them, at times even to the whole class, which not only gave him confidence, but also helped others who needed a different approach to aid in their understanding.


Homework was another potent topic. Why do hundreds of questions if you already get the concept? Some kids needed repetitive practice to drive home the process, whereas others got it quickly. Giving plenty of class time to complete work, allowed many students to finish before heading out to extra-curricular activities and other after school commitments.

There is a balance. If you choose to waste time in class, then time will be made up at home completing those assignments. My point in all of this is just how important it is to honor different learning styles through an understanding of personality. Some kids need to see the value in solving math problems, whereas others enjoy the analytical experience.

Formulas, step-by-step details, and facts appeal to some, whereas an imaginative approach with many possibilities excites others.

Time management is a big deal in school, especially considering the incredibly busy lives so many of our kids lead. Clearly, some kids like structure, using a planner to organize their daily activities and homework assignments, and we know many who don't. I have both in my house! I will be honest, as a planner myself, I find those kids the easiest to work with in helping them succeed in school.

Yet I do admire my more spontaneous kids who tend to take it all in stride, procrastinating until the final moment then pulling off a dynamic feat in the end. As frustrating as that can be for me, I can't help but appreciate this talent and ability. Until... their brilliance culminates and finally bursts forth a plan, only to realize that the items needed are still in the stores, which closed hours ago. Sigh... There is never a dull moment, as a parent or a teacher! Appreciate differences, appreciate differences, appreciate differences: my daily mantra.


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



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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."




End of school...please!
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TAGS: Guiding, Procrastination, Boundaries, Encouragement, Homework, Learning, parenting, Teenagers, Testing

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

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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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. However, at the times I have checked all has seemed in order, then wham, near the end of a reporting period and definitely year end, chaos erupts! 

Year after year this has been the pattern with my daughter. Incredibly bright and high-scoring on standardized tests, yet negligent on doing homework or worse yet, doing it and not handing it in. As much as I appreciate her rationalization that doing homework is a waste of time when she already knows the material and can ace the exams, it does not help the grades. 



So far, she has been fortunate that teachers have allowed her to hand in assignments late, bringing a grade of D up to a B, although she is more than capable of an A. The anxiety in our house on that last night before graded assignments are due goes through the roof! To her credit, she will stay up all night long and get it done, but this Mom, who prides herself on structure and getting things done on time, preferably early, goes crazy in the process.

Dad, however, gets it. He has always been a procrastinator with little desire for schedules. Dad also recognizes, however, that there are times that structure and schedules are needed, and he often learned the hard way. His patience astounds me, and I for one am grateful to have him around especially at the end of the school year! 

Our daughter is going to be a Junior in high school this year, and I fear the leniency of teachers will diminish as she heads off to school, so perhaps like her dad, she will have to learn the hard way. In the meantime, I will continue to check Parent Portal and continually remind her to complete assignments and hand them in, encouraging her to keep track of assignments and due dates, and work a little each day to stay on top of things. 

Although she naturally waits until the last minute to get things done, she can learn to do them sooner, with a lot of guidance on our end. There will likely be some tough lessons in the future. But I will say this, I do admire her ability to take things in stride and get things done, even if at the very last minute.


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



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