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Helping families make the most of personality differences.

10 Results tagged "Self-Management"

PeopleStripes.org article
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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.


Choices
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TAGS: Decision Making, Guiding, About MMTIC, Choices, Communication, Differences, Preparation, Self-Management

Using Choices to Increase Individuality

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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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?"

Schedules and requirements can exhaust teachers, so even when their heart is willing the energy is not there. Parents and teachers can begin the differentiation process with their children by speaking in pairs of choices that resonate with Jung's theory.

Giving children a chance to select the way they think or feel is good for them because they will explore new and challenging ways of making decisions. The children may not know psychological type concepts but the parent and teacher can open the door to Jung's ideas by talking in pairs and giving type choices. Maintaining the same task expectation for all but allowing varied ways of accomplishing that task objective can increase individual development and expression.

Adults new to the theory of personality type ideas sometimes struggle with developing pairs of choices for the children. Having a standard set of options for each of the dichotomies can be a beginning point. These can be exchanged for a million other paired options.

It is important that the "choice pairs" contain an option from each side of the theory's dichotomies, and the children must have a choice. Offering these language choices several times daily gives children developmental opportunities and increases their chance to discover the best ways that work for them.

Some potential examples are listed for each of the dichotomies in Jung's theory. Encourage students to look at both perspectives but to start with their favorite way.

Extraversion-Introversion
  1. Would you like to talk about the story first with your friend and then complete the worksheet (E) or would you like to complete the worksheet first and then share your thoughts with your friend (I)?
  2. Would you like to study with a team (E) or on your own (I)?
  3. Would you like to talk out your ideas while you are forming your thoughts (E) or would you like to think about things before you share your ideas (I)?
Sensing-iNtuition
  1. Would you rather think about all the facts and information you know about this topic before you pick your idea of a project (S) or would you like to think of an innovative project first and then figure out how to make it real (N)?
  2. Do you like to follow directions that are clear and plentiful to do your best (S) or would you like a general idea of what to do so you can explore options of new ways to try (N)? If the child says they want directions, tell them they can remain and ask questions for as long as they need. More likely the Intuitive children will leave early and the Sensing children will ask questions until they are comfortable with their amount of directions given.
  3. Do you understand better when information is presented in order (S) or do you like making connections between ideas to learn (N)? Intuitive children seem to enjoy using mnemonic connections to help them recall specific information whereas Sensing children seem to like being able to memorize when the order is predictable and accurate.

Thinking-Feeling

  1. Do you decide what to do with your first thought (T) or do you decide what is more important and start there (F)?
  2. Do you choose what you think will produce the best project (T) or do you choose what you think will be important to the team (F)?
  3. Do you notice what is incorrect first (T) or what is well done first (F)?
Judging-Perceiving
  1. Do you want to get your homework done well but as quickly as possible so you have more free time (J) or do you want to determine the last moment you can start and still get it done well (P)? If the latter is your best way, calculate the last moment you can start and still get it done on time. You may want to add some extra time "just in case" there are unexpected interruptions.
  2. Do you do better when you know the plans for the day (J) or when there are unexpected surprises in the day (P)? Planful children can ask to be told when the schedule will change. Playful children can ask to take a personal "fun" break for 10 minutes if they have completed some of the work. The choice must be theirs. But all children must finish the work on time
  3. Do you like to work first and then play (J) or do you like to play around while you get your work done (P)? If your style is to be playful while you work be sure your playful style does not interfere with another person's working style.

What if your child can't choose? Tell them that either choice is a good place to begin. "Try one this time and try the other next time. The goal is to help you determine what is your best choice for you and to recognize there will be others in the class who might choose a different way."

Set a personal goal to incorporate dual options in your classroom daily and as many times a day as possible. Don't be overwhelmed-chose one set of differences to start and increase your use of language-driven choices from that point. Theoretically driven options encourage greater self-awareness in children, increase independence, and contribute to the healthy development of the child's personality.

The strategy and implementation are free. It takes only a moment of time and it makes a critical difference.


You can learn more about the dichotomies and your individual personality type by taking the MBTI® assessment; your children can learn their type by taking the MMTIC® 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."




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TAGS: Boundaries, Competition, Encouragement, Self-Management

The Challenge to Win Fairly and Lose Friendly

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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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.

The competitive child struggles most because many people misinterpret the spirit of the competitive child. They are usually not competing with the classmate as much as they are competing with themselves. It is difficult for these children to lose. They try so hard to do well and set high standards for success for themselves. When luck is involved (as it is in many card games and board games), they feel helpless to control the win. Their joy is not beating others. Their joy is in meeting their personal challenge. They want to be the best and they can become emotionally upset when they begin to lose. They are frustrated with their limitations and may react with an attack on others with comments like: “You must be cheating. This game is stupid. I don’t want to play anymore.” Losing friendly can become a real challenge.

They may need a moment alone to regain their composure when their frustration threshold is exceeded. They need to be taught that it is OK to feel badly, but there are expected social responses we need to share with the winner. Then ask if they would like to talk about a strategy to improve their chances next time. One such child was very upset playing “Clue” with the family because people were making special marks on their paper to help with guessing the solution. He did not know what they were doing or how to do it but he realized it put him “behind” in being able to guess the answers to the game of who did it, where did they do it, and with what weapon. Not being able to compete equally was frustrating. He needed to be taught the strategy of asking the right questions and keeping track of the information. Such a child would not enjoy playing a game he did not have an equal chance to win. 

Sometimes the young child will look like they are so upset. If you correct their attitude by saying, “No, you need to be able to lose sometimes because everybody loses sometimes,” that won’t comfort them. Instead, approach losing as a problem to be solved. Use active listening to hear the emotion the child is sharing. “So, today wasn’t your best day ever. If you were going to do the same thing tomorrow, what would you do differently to get a better outcome? What would you change about it?” We want them to feel empowered to manage their life and take charge of what works and what does not. Luck will be a factor they must address. With children who have a private nature, they may not be ready to talk when they are most upset. Tell them you will teach them about strategizing when they are ready and give them a code word to say (“hint”) when they are ready to discuss strategies. Avoid discussing the loss other than to identify critical elements to change. Talk about winning ways for the future.

What if the child is still frustrated? Give them time to calm down. The critical communication is: there are ways to win using strategic approaches but there is also luck, which cannot be controlled. Luck is what gives some games a bit of the unknown and a bit of fun. Teach them a simple social phrase to say in the moment but recognize that is only a part of the process of learning how to lose friendly. The other part is learning how to play fairly but smartly.

Keep the phrase “win fairly and lose friendly” as a guidepost in the moment. Take time to strategize for future games. Respect that losing for this child is a more difficult learning experience than it is for many other children.


Lesson in Self-Management
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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.



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