Thursday, April 14, 2011

Different Child, Different Needs :)

I have to say first off that I feel like a new woman today. I have been SO frustrated this week at potty training and a huge part of that was we started the week off with a messy downstairs and neither Emersyn or I are happy in that kind of environment. Brett must have gotten sick of my whining because he helped me clean last night while we watched American Idol and I woke up today, feeling like I can conquer the world. :) I should have known better then to start potty training in a messy environment. Emersyn's behavior is totally affected by the tidiness of our home. Speaking of behavior, let's get to what the title of this post is about.....

Brett and I have taken a couple "Love and Logic" classes at our church and really believe in the principles that it teaches. Like everything, you have to discern all teachings with a grain of salt but for our personalities and our parenting style, we have had success with this *method*. There are a lot of parenting books out there and just like everything parenting wise, you have to go with what works well for YOU! :)

With that said, we just started a parenting class that is called "Different Children, Different Needs". The curriculum uses the DiSC method along with "Love & Logic" techniques. The idea is that by learning your temperaments as parents along with the temperament of your child, you will be able to have a more harmonious home and enjoy parenting more. One of the quotes that really resonated with me was "children are not things to be molded, but people to be unfolded" - unknown. Having controlling tendencies myself, I struggle with sometimes trying to make Emersyn into something she is not. She is perfect just the way she is and me trying to make her into something else is not going to benefit either of us.

Obviously we do indirectly mold our children....I'm certain that Emersyn LOVES America's Funniest Home Videos purely because of how hard her Daddy laughs at the videos. :) But in regards to her personality, this is something that God knit together in her while she was still in my tummy and it's my job as her parent to help unfold the wonderful person that she is and all the potential that lies within her.

I used to be frustrated that Emersyn wasn't more outgoing or even polite to all the people at church that say "hi" to her. She is very shy and is the kind of kid that often glares at you when you say hi and will cling to me, as if you are trying to abduct her. I used to get really embarrassed and frustrated but as we both have grown up, I realize that this is just her personality and it's not *naughty*. Yes, rudeness is not tolerated but if you try to overwhelm Emersyn with hugs and enthusiasm upon meeting her, she will not respond well. Let her warm up to you and she is a delight, trust me. :)

One of the first steps in the class we are taking is for Brett and I to take our DiSC profiles and see what temperaments we are. Temperament is different then character. Temperament is who we are and isn't something we can really change. Our character is based on decisions we make and how we live out our life.

Brett and I took our test and this is what we discovered...

Brett's test is on the left. He is considered a high *D* with a little *i* in him. This is considered a "Doer-Expressive". My test is on the right. I am considered a high *i* with a little *C* in me. I am considered an "Expressive-Thinker".

As a "doer-expressive", Brett's probable strengths include the ability to effectively think outside the box, being a leader, optimistic, flexible, and independent. His probable weaknesses include the tendency to be dictatorial, pessimistic, non-demonstrative, and stubborn. (Wow, this test is RIGHT ON, ha ha). You may wonder how it is possible for someone to be both optimistic and pessimistic? Well, the first graph on each of our assessments represents when we are happy and the second graph represents how we respond when stressed. This is Brett to the core....he is SUPER optimistic, much like myself, but when he is stressed, we are complete opposites. One of my weaknesses when stressed is I am too optimistic, ha! For instance, Brett tends to fear the worst in financial situations, while I live in denial sometimes and just assume it will all work out.

As an "expressive-thinker", my probable strengths are being charismatic (sounds conceited but I'm just reading what the chart says, hee hee), meek (this doesn't seem like a strength to me personally but that's what it says...maybe it means I am gentle?), intense at times (like when it comes to the tidiness of my house!!!), and agreeably compliant. My probable weaknesses are being overly fearful (right?!?), overly optimistic, possessive, and too compliant. I didn't understand what possessive meant initially....I think I share well with others. :) But then I realized, when I get stressed out (or pregnant, ha) I get extremely possessive over my time and even my family.

Brett and I both have *expressive* in us which explains why we are SO much fun to be around. :) But, we have a lot of differences too which keeps life interesting, that's for sure.

I know that a lot of people might consider this to be psycho-babble in a sense. However, Linda who is teaching our class (who happens to be our senior pastor's wife) has taught this for the last 30 years to families, churches, corporations, etc. and has seen tremendous success. She is someone I admire greatly and I am so excited to learn more from her.

Finding out our temperaments doesn't give us permission to treat each other badly and say, " was the thinker in me" or "I would have gotten this done if I was more of a doer". Instead, it helps us understand each other better and strengthen our marriage. I can understand that Brett's personality makes it so that him expressing how much he loves me constantly is not something reasonable for me to expect. Nor can he expect me to be as organized as he might like, given my personality. As a thinker, organization is something I strive for and love but the expressive in me can make that a challenge. :)

We did an assessment for Emersyn and found that she is a high *C* or "thinker". This is her to the core. Emersyn wasn't the screaming happy baby. She was happy, no doubt. But she was a major observer. A friend of mine was holding her once as an infant and said that she felt Emersyn was judging her with her inquisitive stare. Knowing Emersyn now, she probably was, ha! Thinker children are cautious, attentive to key details, highly intuitive, does things the right way, organized, etc. Their weaknesses can be overly perfectionist, picky, critical...

The study stresses not to put your child in a *box* because of their personality but rather, strive to understand them. Because she is shy in a crowd, that doesn't make her naughty or *bad*. She has a lot of little friends who will run up to anyone and be the center of attention happily. That's not Emersyn. She would rather play quietly with her baby doll. Lucky for me, this makes her an extremely easy first born child, although along she can also be extremely stubborn. :)

The study show how God is the perfect mix of these four temperaments and how there are different people in the Bible that exhibit the different temperaments. The four gospels were even written by four completely different people and each were written in a totally different temperament style.

It's fun learning more about ourselves and why we sometimes have the tendencies that we do. I want to be the kind of mother that loves, nurtures and supports. I think that we too often think that our children NEED to be a certain way and sometimes that's going against how God has made us. I will never make Emersyn feel like there is something wrong with her because she is more quiet then her friends. She is perfect just the way she is and I intend to spend the next 16+ years encouraging her to delight in that.

Again, this isn't something I'm clinging to as fact, just adding it to the arsenal of parenting resources that I consider valuable.

Happy Thursday!


Sherrie said...

Ahh parenting, the hardest job in the world. I too have read many books and came to the conclusion that I can't make my kids behave or act like me either. Jaiden is messy-I have tried and tried to instill my traits in him with no success. I just close his bedroom door now. LOL. We compromised. As long as his bed is made and no laundry on the floor, were good. Sometimes you just have to let it go.

I can totally relate when you talk about Ems not being super social. You know what I am talking about-I have the most scowling perfected child alive (Ash). Ha Ha!

You are a great mother! ~S

Melissa said...

I did this test years ago! When i was a youth advisor w/ a youth group, they had all of us do this test. It's been awhile but i believe i was an IS or an SI. I don't remember what the S is, though! I have the stuff around here somewhere!

This sounds like an awesome parenting technique! I love it!

P.S. i used to be shy like Emersyn when i was little. I'm MUCH MORE outgoing now. :) I mean, i can be shy in a huge group of ppl i don't know, but not horribly so. :)

sister sheri said...

Love all this! I am a total thinker and then relater. Wishing I had a smidge of your expressive to round me out!