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Helping families make the most of personality differences.

15 Results tagged "parenting"

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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.



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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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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!



Framing Your Brainstorming:
Type Tip #6

You know the scenario - you are coming up with ideas fast and furious. If you want others to follow your way of expressing your thoughts, put a frame around them that explains how others should listen. For example, if you are brainstorming ideas you may say, "I am playing with possible ideas but have not selected any one." Now the listener knows these are not final choices but possible choices. This allows the young listener to better sort the information being shared.


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