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Helping families make the most of personality differences.

9 Results tagged "Self-Management"

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.



PeopleStripes.org article
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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.




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.



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: Relationships, Boundaries, Class Participation, Compromise, Differences, Learning, parenting, Self-Management, Teenagers

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

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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It never fails, at some point in time, your child will have a teacher they do not like, or who does not like them. I've always dreaded the tension leading up to that moment where our child finds out who their new teachers will be. It will either be a huge celebration or pure agony as one awaits the start of the school year.  

Upon agonizing news, I've known many parents who immediately call the school demanding that their child be moved to another teacher. There are good teachers and bad teachers, just like in the work force where we each come upon great managers and not-so-great managers.

Do you run away every time you are faced with a conflict? When does one need to step in and demand a new teacher, or new manager, or do you just slip away quietly to a new school or job? Could this be the perfect opportunity to learn how to deal with interpersonal conflict?

I've always struggled with knowing when to step into a difficult situation and when to let it work itself out. Interpersonal relationships are core to our very existence. Whether we like it or not we do have to interact with other human beings, whether it be classmates, teachers, co-workers, or bosses.


My philosophy has always been to teach my kids to work through conflict with healthy communication. So, what does that mean? We each have different personalities: sometimes they don't click so well together and sometimes they do. Understanding compromise and speaking our own truth, with respect, seems like the key behavior, yet it can be so difficult to do.

Learning how to work through difficult situations is an important life skill, so my philosophy has always been to encourage my child to stick it out and see how the year progresses, assisting as needed. Many times, all the rumors they first heard about a teacher didn't ring true for them and they had a wonderful year. The only time I ever stepped in was when the school had switched teachers around the following year and my daughter ended up with the same teacher two years in a row... the first year didn't go so well, so I knew I needed to step in to prevent a similar situation the next year.

Talking with teachers at the beginning of the school year and establishing a relationship right at the start has certainly helped me, and I hope the teachers, too. One of my daughters has an innate and odd reaction to conflict situations. She smiles. Yes, that is right, she smiles. It took us a while to figure out that this was her natural reaction to uncomfortable situations or when she, or anyone for that matter, is being reprimanded.

You can imagine how we reacted at first... oh, she could sure get us wound up! We realized that this could cause some major problems in school so at the beginning of each year, we would meet with the teachers to explain that she really wasn't trying to make them even more angry, but that she would react like this through any tense encounters. In sharing this with them, potential conflicts could be prevented.

Discussing learning styles, how our children take in information and make decisions, their comfort level with classroom interaction, and homework habits, goes a long way in helping teachers understand our children's different personalities. Not that it should ever be an excuse for lack of participation or incomplete homework, but instead, a way to get to know and better understand our child as a student.

Some years are easier than others, my hope, however, is that through it all, not only will our children learn math, writing, and science, but how to work with others, how to appreciate differences, and how to respectfully speak up when those differences arise.


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



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