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30 Days to New Ways!

kids and colors

Over the course of the last 30 days, I have been part of a 30 day blogging challenge. We were committed to blog every day for 30 days. Now some of you may blog often and think it’s quite fun, but honestly, I hadn’t experienced the same! In fact, I had two blogs that had been started over a year ago, and maybe 5 blog posts between the two of them. I was absolutely overwhelmed and under inspired! The task of starting a blog felt so huge. I didn’t even know where to start. I felt that a certain basis had to be established before I could freely blog the daily topics that emerged. So, as is typical for my personality, I thought about it a lot, and then would usually opt to take a nap instead!

Then I heard about the 30 day blogging challenge. I’m not even sure how I heard about it, but I believe it was on Facebook. It intrigued me! Maybe, I was just delirious at the end of a long day?! I like doing things with others, so it appealed to me to not be taking on this task alone. And I like to do competitive things…I guess the word “challenge” engaged that sense in me!

As a busy and sometimes weary mother of seven, (who can hardly find time to visit the bathroom alone!) I couldn’t exactly tell you when I was going to find time to blog. And probably in the moment I signed up, I was admittedly, a little caught up in the fun aspect of what was going on. I’ve been known to fall for things that others are hurriedly getting roped into. So as I worked on my first blog, the night it opened, at nearly midnight…it hit! What have I done!?!?! What was I thinking?!?!? Well, I am proud to say that this is day 30! I wrote many more posts just before the midnight deadline, crafted a few in the early morning hours when I discovered I was much fresher and able to concentrate, and maybe even a few in the quiet moments I could find in the bathroom where I could be alone! I learned a lot. I learned that I CAN make time for things that matter. I CAN find things in my every day that can be shaped and used to help others. I CAN get things done and accomplished. I CAN become motivated and excited when things get done. And most importantly, I learned that my desires and interests don’t have to die! I CAN find time to do the things that make me feel alive, refreshed, and able to influence other’s lives. That’s a lot to learn in 30 days! So to Bradley Will, thank you for heading up this challenge and helping me realize I really CAN!!

Now, my challenge, after the challenge…figure out how to continue finding time to write, blog, parent, and experience life! And if they say that it takes 21 days to form a habit…I’m 30 days in to finding time for what feels meaningful in growing and helping others.

Sometimes, we sink so much of ourselves into the daily parenting tasks that we feel we may be losing ourselves! And let me tell you, a tired, spent, emotionally dead parent doesn’t parent well! Take some time today to evaluate where you might be. Sinking your heart into parenting is part of the job. Giving your all is admirable. Those things don’t have to change! But don’t forget the value in finding things that help you stretch, grow, and experience a healthy fulfillment. It fills within you, this well of energy and joy that allows you to give a better you to parenting!

How can you use your next 30 days to better yourself as a parent?

  • Finding something you can invest in each day for 30 days, that creates joy in you?
  • Finding one thing each day that you can be thankful for?
  • Trying a new approach for 30 days?
  • Taking 30 days to get a better and deeper understanding of your child’s personality?
  • Learning about yourself and your personality in the next 30 days?

Here’s to using your next 30 days for new ways!!

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The Same…But Different?

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Question:  I have two kids that are both organized but are otherwise very different. What does that mean, or how can I figure them out? Are they both the same personality?

Sometimes, there are traits that might be seen in different personalities. Being a leader and being organized are two that are quite common. So people may see organization and automatically assume that a child is a Proper Melancholic. But the truth is, other personalities can be organized in other ways or for other reasons. A Powerful Choleric can organize people and tasks. A Peaceful Phlegmatic may take time to organize something that makes life easier with just a little order and no effort, like a spice rack. A Playful Sanguine can organize fun things or otherwise simple things such as fun outings. But a Proper Melancholic organizes things on a regular basis because that is how they function best. They use systems and organized means to getting things done regularly.

Being a leader is another trait that can cause some confusion. A Playful Sanguine may be the leader of the pack as a group heads out for a fun activity. The Proper Melancholic may take the lead to getting details in order and making sure that things are done fairly. A Peaceful Phlegmatic may lead a group in order to help things go smoothly and in the absence of another who wants to lead. But the Powerful Choleric is a natural born leader. They function best and most comfortably in this role.

These are just two of the traits that one might notice. Why is this important? It’s important, because seeing that personalities may have some similarities but actually be very different is key. One must look beyond just the trait or action and look to see the motivation. The reason someone does something is often times more telling than what they are doing. This concept closely relates to the mottos (or default settings, as a previous blog explained) that different personalities have. Is the motivation to:

  • Have some excitement? Do it the fun way? (Playful Sanguine)
  • Have some control? Do it their way? (Powerful Choleric)
  • Have some order? Do it the right way? (Proper Melancholic)
  • Have some rest? Do it the easy way? (Peaceful Phlegmatic)

If you can figure out why someone is doing that particular trait or action, than you can see which personality it relates to. Then these similarities can be more easily understood.

You will quickly see the personalities at work all around you. Whether you are watching your child, your spouse, your friend, or even just the clerk at the grocery store—you will see personalities all around you! You will be able to pick up on clues that tell you what personality someone might be. It will be fascinating to start seeing all the pieces fit together. Don’t forget to look deeper than just the trait you first notice. You will be amazed at how this insight can truly transform the way you see others and the way you relate as well!

Encountering Speed Bumps…Personality Struggles

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We spent a little time talking about personality strengths. Equally important, is talking about the personality traits that tend to cause some glitches. Some refer to them as weaknesses, but I prefer struggles. It can be hard to look at traits that sound less than desirable. And sometimes as parents, it can be difficult to look at these struggles as we may fear painting our child in a negative light, or that we have in some way not trained them to do things better. But it is very important to set those fears aside and really attempt to get an accurate glimpse at what our child’s personality is all about. When we do this, we can help them grow in those areas.

The Playful Sanguine child is easily distracted. This can cause problems as they attempt to complete tasks. They may be disorganized both in thought and action. They tend to get easily bored and want the level of activity to stay engaging and entertaining. They are prone to tell lies, as they easily exaggerate their stories and fib to thrill their listener or make themselves look good. Playful Sanguine children will share just about anything that comes to mind. That phrase “too much information” was surely tagged for them. They express a variety of emotions and rather easily, others may observe them to be overly dramatic. They are quite extroverted, so their thoughts and feelings are right out in the open. These kids are very trusting of others, while they may simply appear naïve, this could truly be a matter of safety. They may know no stranger and be easily lured into an unsafe situation.

The Powerful Choleric child is insistent and headstrong. They can easily be perceived by others as bossy as they lead the pack and make demands without the niceties of please and thank you. They are constantly on the move and have to be reminded to stop and think first before acting or speaking. These kids are often times over confident and need some help taming that confidence. They may tend to disregard authority and struggle to show respect for authority. Their argumentative nature can get them in sticky situations, and they often need reminded that someone else may know more than they do. Their bold and opinionated manner may make them appear unsympathetic to others.

The Proper Melancholic child is more of an introvert. As a result, the struggles they have tend to be quieter, but not necessarily any less of an issue. These kids are easily discouraged, and if you should find them sad or mad, they do not want to be cheered up. It is hard for them to see the needs of others over themselves and can appear selfish. Because they careful attention to the details, they don’t typically miss a thing. This can cause them to be easily disappointed by others. While keeping record of these details and others wrongs, they can become critical of others. When things are not going well, they tend to get moody. They often feel fearful of things not working out perfectly. This attention they give to perfection can cause them to frustrate others or make them look picky.

The Peaceful Phlegmatic child is also an introvert and their struggles can be as quiet as they are. But no personality is without struggles. This child may get lost in the shuffle as they don’t necessarily keep themselves in the action. They are not real go-getters, and may try to avoid work when at all possible. They can be hard to motivate and will need frequent rests and breaks. Procrastinating will come easy to their unmotivated ways. They are so laid back that they can tend to be perceived as uninvolved or disengaged. They may withhold speaking the truth if they fear it could cause any upset or discomfort, even when speaking the truth is important. They struggle to make decisions, and as a result can be easily manipulated by others. Most generally, they are agreeable, but you will know when you hit a nerve as you will detect their quiet will of iron.

It can feel overwhelming to deal with struggles. You can almost feel a black cloud when discussing these undesirable traits. But they too are part of each person’s make up. Oftentimes, I find that struggles can be strengths taken to an extreme. That perspective makes struggles feel much more manageable. If a child is a natural born leader, but takes that trait too far, they can become bossy. An imaginative child is refreshing and creative, but when that creativity permeates their stories and causes them to lie, it can create many issues. A child who cares about doing a task precisely will be a great asset in a group, but will easily frustrate, or be frustrated, if they let the problematic details affect their mood. A child who is agreeable and laid back is easy to manage until you are stuck in the drive thru and they can’t decide what they want to order. Helping keep their strengths in check can help minimize their struggles. And if a certain struggle keeps erupting, try to go back and identify what that trait was as a strength. This is a strength-based way of helping our children grow.

Stay tuned tomorrow as we put some of these pieces together. We will talk about personality combinations and how to figure out where your child may fit.

 

 

Understanding Where it All Started…

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It might be helpful to take just a short little detour and understand where the study of personalities even began. After all, this is not something new! The Greek Philosophers like Hippocrates, Galen, and Aristotle talked about personality differences. They connected personality differences to body fluids, such as bile, blood and phlegm. Thankfully, we won’t be looking at personalities according to body fluids! Studies have come a long way since then.

Personalities are based on four different types. In this system they are classified by name and colors. But that doesn’t mean there are only four kinds of people. There are combinations of personalities and different degrees of those combinations. Likewise, there are things that can color the “hue” of an individual to look slightly different than another person with the same personality combination. These influences may include birth order, family of origin, childhood experiences, adult experiences, and spiritual beliefs, just to name a few.

So you can see that studying personalities doesn’t seek to fit someone in a box, rather just to give an idea or foundation on where a person usually functions. On the flip side, knowing the personality traits does not allow someone to excuse any kind of change or growth, as “Oh well, that’s just the way I am or the way they are!” Studying the personalities gives us a starting point as well as a great framework to stretch and grow in areas that are helpful.

You can probably imagine how this might be helpful in parenting. What we do with one child might yield a great result, but with another, it could be a total flop. Communicating in a particular manner with two kids can yield two totally different responses. Understanding the personalities helps us make sense of that and also helps us to establish ways that we can interact on a unique and individual basis with each of our kids. This allows us to connect with them on a whole new level. And that is why I find it beneficial to spend some time learning about the personalities and seeing how they can improve the relationships in your family!

Feel free to check out the blog posts on Verbal Clues, Visual Clues, and Personality Strengths. Tomorrow we will delve into the Personality Struggles. I am confident that you can gain some useful insight about how to tame the tantrums or understand the eruption of emotion you may face.

For more information, visit TheYouZoo.com or to contact the author of this blog, visit JamiKirkbride.com.

 

 

Wait a Minute!

kids colorful

We have discussed the verbal and visual clues that you may be getting from your child about his/her personality. We also took a look at the strengths of the four personalities. At this point, I often times hear parents say:

  • I know exactly what my child is! That is great! You probably know your child well. Let’s look a little closer and see if we can figure out not only the primary personality, but also the secondary. Isn’t it fun to start getting a picture of your child’s personality? You might be right on track, and you might modify your opinion with more information.
  • I think I know, but I am not exactly sure. They don’t have every trait listed. Most people won’t have every trait listed. What we are looking for is the personality that seems to have the most. So don’t get frustrated. We have only looked at the strengths, but we are still going to look at the struggles and emotional needs. Those will shed light on your child as well.
  • I have no idea what my child is! That’s ok! Your child may have a personality blend that is harder to identify or you may just need more information. That’s okay…let’s keep moving toward learning about the struggles and the emotional needs of your child.

Think for a minute about some of the difficult days that you may have with your child. Despite your unwavering love for them, you probably feel some undeniable frustration with some traits that continue to rear their ornery little forms! Our next blog post will take a look at the personality struggles of each personality. This can take some courage and a decision to see your child with a new perspective. Ready or not…tune in tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

There’s No Excuse for Child Abuse…National Child Abuse Prevention Month

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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. It can be easy to sit back and state that children deserve a safe and loving atmosphere, to say all children should be cared for and protected, or that children should never be hurt. But when it comes down to it, what are we really doing to make sure those things are true. I have been one of those who feel sad at the sight of posters that depict a sad or scared child. But what am I really doing to help prevent child abuse? Compassion alone is not enough.

As a mother of six, I recall feeling near the end of my rope a few times. I remember a bout of post partum depression that I thought would be the end of me. I had family, friends, resources, and a faith that helped me hang on. But I remember clearly understanding how easily child abuse could happen. Still, there is absolutely no excuse for child abuse! What does that young parent resort to or attempt when they have had no positive role model for parenting through the tough times? What does that exhausted parent do when they feel they are simply pushed to the end of their rope?

Sitting and thinking about National Child Abuse Prevention Month this morning, I began to ask myself some questions…What am I actively doing to help? What do I have to contribute? How can I realistically and purposefully make a difference?

I thought about my personal mission statement, “to educate, encourage, and equip parents to live, love, and parent to the fullest.” I thought about how I have used this passion to create The You Zoo book. This is a powerful, yet easy to use parenting resource that can help a parent/adult/guardian:

*  Discover a child’s natural strengths and struggles,

*  Recognize the emotional needs a child expresses,

*  Meet a child’s individual needs, and

*  Understand individual personalities and how to interact more effectively.

These are the very things that can help bridge a gap between parent and child, help create connections, and foster a fresh love and understanding. These are the very things that contribute to the well being of a child. Preventing child abuse takes more than just a feeling of compassion when moved by the images of the posters plastered around town or the emotional message we hear on a PSA. What can I do today to make a difference? Today, I am going to make some calls. I am going to write some letters. I am going to make some connections. I am going to actively pursue options for getting this powerful resource into the hands that need it most.

Maybe you are a parent who feels you are at the end of your rope? Will you take the time to seek out a resource that can make a profound difference in your life? Maybe you know of a parent lacking resources or tools for their parenting adventure? Will you take time to seek out a powerful resource to make a difference in the life of a parent, and as a result, a child? To find out more about this resource, please visit TheYouZoo.com. While reading more about this book, you may think of a particular parent (or many, including you!) that could benefit from a practical and powerful parenting tool. How can you make a difference today? How can we move beyond compassion and into action? Will you join me today in putting this resource into the hands that could benefit the most? Together we can!

Visit TheYouZoo.com today! Let’s make a difference for our children!

 

Universal Children’s Day

Hooray, hooray!! Today is the day…the day we honor children!!

November 20, is recognized as Universal Children’s Day! This is one day out of the year that several countries have chosen to honor children. Some countries do it on other days, but this is the original date chosen. So just how do we honor our children. The following are just a few ideas:

  • We treat them like they are special for the unique way they were created.
  • We value their differences and don’t expect them to be just like us.
  • We recognize their individual emotional needs and aim to meet those needs in specific ways.
  • We acknowledge their strengths and encourage them to continue in those areas that come naturally to them.
  • We understand the things that might trip them up and help them grow in the areas that might be a struggle.
  • We adjust our approach to work well with who they are and what they need.
  • We help them love and accept themselves.
  • We communicate in meaningful and effective ways.
  • We forge a relationship that conveys a deep love and commitment to them.

This is a great checklist to see how we are doing in relationships with children in our life. Maybe you are aware of a child who is not getting these needs met. Challenge yourself to connect with them and relate with them. It can be life-changing!

Maybe you aren’t sure of where to start. The You Zoo book is a great tool to understanding a child. Whether the child is your own or a niece, nephew, grandchild or neighbor child…this book can help you gain new understanding and insights into their world. You may benefit from this tool or you may know someone who can benefit from this resource. Feel free to visit TheYouZoo.com for more information.

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