Oh oh…. I said it out loud (well sort of). The feisty child one of my favorite temperament types! I just can’t help it! I love interacting with a feisty temperament. I know that sounds silly but even as a preschool teacher I was always at my best when I was engaged with the feisty kiddo. Maybe ‘favorite’ isn’t the right word to use. I guess it was just that ‘I get them’. I understand the feisty traits. I ‘get’ where they are coming from.
Now just to clarify, I’m pretty sure my parents would not have labeled me as feisty. My feisty traits were sprinkled with a whole lot of adaptability. Which, for me, held the negative parts of feisty in check. So when it comes to feisty temperaments I understand that sense of being determined. Of wanting what I want. Of being persistent. In the moment of feistiness, I know how your ‘gut’ feels. What your stomach is doing. How fast your brain synapses are firing. I understand that, I get it.
So what did I learn about interacting with a feisty temperament? Most importantly, that a calm, cool and collected demeanor is the best way to approach the feisty child. You see, amidst their feistiness they won’t be able to hear your ‘reasoning or logic’. Their feistiness is in the way. It’s too loud in their head, they literally can’t hear you. But, they can still see your reactions.
That’s about all that you can do sometimes. SHOW them. Model for them how you want them to respond or behave. There’s little time or room for long drawn out liturgies and lessons on appropriate language or the use of gentle touches. Feisty kids need that ‘extra‘ moment to see calm cool and collected from you. They are looking for you to ‘show‘ them how to tame that feisty feeling that has overtaken their body.
So very hard sometimes yet so very vital to teaching them self-control.
What are some techniques you have ‘shown’?
…that’s the phrase that came to mind when I thought about this week’s blog. Which, when it comes right down to it, I do want my child to be unique. A customized order. An individual. Not a cookie cutter replica of her friends. Having said that, I guess I should then expect myself to parent her as if she IS customized.
While we search for THE right answer to our parenting questions,we really do come realize that there isn’t just ONE right way, not even in a family with multiple children. Parenting is all about understanding each individual unique child and beginning to dance with their customized self. In the moments where parenting is frustrating, I have learned to give myself permission to be frustrated while at the same time learning to appreciate that I have created something unique. Customized. Created by me with input from her, her friends, her neighbors, her community and her world. Taking all those pieces and watching and wondering at the same time.
Sometimes its important as a parent to step back and let the child lead the dance that we have been talking about over the last several weeks. Other times it’s important to be the adult and make the decisions (and follow through). Parenting is a back and forth, leading and guiding and following all at the same time. THAT’s what makes it customizable. It shouldn’t look just like the next door neighbors family, or your own childhood experiences or the tv show on a popular network.
You and your child should customize your world together and enjoy the journey along the way.
How have you customized your journey?
I like to think of learning about temperament as ‘cleaning off a window’. The window is the way we can ‘see into’ who our child is and how they respond to their world. At first, the window may be dusty or clouded and we aren’t able to see through it clearly. As we learn about our child’s temperament, we begin to clear the cloudiness off the window and can begin to anticipate the child’s responses or even predict a particular behavior. A clear view through the window can help us understand why they do what they do.
Like Janet said last week, allowing time to give the ‘slow to warm’ or ‘shy’ child a chance to ‘get used to it’ is important to supporting their self-esteem. The same can be true for allowing them extra time to learn new routines, try new foods or get acclimated to new clothes or shoes. It’s important to remember that for this temperament ‘newness’ of anything really IS a challenge. Allowing them the opportunity to try, test and experiment can be an easy way to show them you support their hesitant temperament.
One of my favorite things about temperament is that it starts with genetics. Ultimately our children respond the way they do based on the genes we gave them. As they grow, their temperament genes can be influenced by how the adults in their lives respond to them. As we encourage, support and dance with their temperament, we are guiding and influencing how they continue to respond to their surroundings. A supportive environment begins to create a ‘good fit’ between the adult and the child. That ‘fit’ becomes a piece of the foundation of the child’s self-esteem.
Share with us how you have encouraged and supported a ‘slow to warm’ or shy temperament?
In light of all the recent publicity around corporal punishment and children, I thought it might be appropriate to revisit our January 2013 podcast and subsequent blogs.
Click below to read about alternatives to physical punishment of children and how you can guide and discipline them in a more loving way.
Corporal punishment and alternative methods of discipline or our January 2014 topic Anger and parenting
Look back through some of our other topics while you’re there. We would love to talk again about some of them!
This was an easy one for me. I need access. This little phrase means several things.
Maybe you thought it was the child saying “I need a phone because I need access”. Actually, when I typed the phrase it meant “I need access to your phone.” Those are the rules. Like Donna talked about, phones need to come with rules. Access is an important one. As the adult, it is our responsibility to monitor what happens with the phone. We need access to it. Social media on smart phones and texting on other phones can be exciting and dangerous at the same time. We need to monitor and have access. It’s not really a negotiable issue. Having a phone is a big responsibility and a privilege. Parental access to it is a must.
What are some negotiable and non-negotiable rules with your kids’ cell phones? Share them with us.
GREAT QUESTION! How about right now?!
If you look up Children and Chores at www.extension.org you will find several different articles on children helping with household chores. And guess what? They can start right now helping with all kinds of things. Even toddlers LOVE helping to put socks in the basket or towels in the drawer.
Allowing children to help around the house gives them hands on experiences for learning as well as a feeling of independence and responsibility.
It is important to share with the child how you want the task done, let the child do it and then DON’T re-do when they are done. Did you catch that? It’s OK that there is a wrinkle in the blanket or the fork is upside down. Let them know how proud you are of the work they did and keep modeling the way you would like it done eventually. Remember, you probably had a wrinkle in your bed at that age as well.
What are some chores that you have your children helping with? Share with us!
Guest Blogger- Family Life Intern Mackenzie K.
As Donna and the podcast suggested, anger is natural for children. There are countless issues that may cause a child to feel angry: not getting their way, frustration over things that are hard, learning difficulties, family problems, or friendship issues.
Often times we want to tell our children that they should not be angry. Their anger sometimes seems irrational and unjustified to us as parents. In reality, the emotion of anger is not the problem; it is how they handle that anger.
So allow your child to feel angry. We all know how hard it is to try to change your emotions. Help your child identify their feeling as anger. Saying and labeling the emotion like this may be helpful, “You are angry because I won’t let you eat candy before supper” or “I can tell that when you don’t make the circle perfect it makes you frustrated”.
Now that they can recognize their anger, they can learn how to address it. There are some great strategies and tips to try when helping your child learn to handle their anger in the article below:
Getting Along: When I’m Angry
Does anyone have any experience using these techniques? What has worked best for you and your child?
Yep, we all get mad! Infants, toddlers, elementary kids, middle schoolers, high schoolers, college kids, young adults, the middle aged and the aging. We ALL get MAD! So if we all get mad then why sometimes do we let others people anger confound and confuse us so much?
Understanding how my own emotions impact my behavior was a huge part of me being able to understand why my children get angry and how they show it in their behaviors. I realized that my emotions created my behaviors and my children were reacting to those behaviors. Think of it like a circle – Behavior, Reaction, Behavior, Reaction and so on and so on. As the adult we have to figure out how to make the behaviors and reactions less intense and emotion filled. Easier said than done right? That’s where our blog begins. Join us and help us start the discussion.
Here are some of my favorite temperament places. Parent Child Help – Mary Sheedy Kurcinka , Behavioral-Development Initiatives and Preventive Ounce
In this month’s podcast we learned that the research around corporal punishment is not a black and white issue. Then through the blogs several of you raised different perspectives. Ultimately it comes down to what is really a simple question – “How should I respond when my kid is misbehaving?”
Because this is such a big concern for parents, we decided to devote the spring webinar to the topic. Mark your calendar for March 14 from 8:00-9:00 pm. Plan to join us as we:
- Discuss three common ways parents use guidance and discipline with their children
- Talk about why children misbehave
- Figure out the difference between punishment and positive discipline
- Explore discipline teaching tools appropriate for different ages and temperaments
Watch for further details about the free webinar here on the Science of Parenting site.
Guest Blogger – Family Life Intern Mackenzie K
You are at the grocery store and just about done with your shopping. It’s been a pretty pleasant trip, but then you round the last aisle. Your child sprints toward the Fruity Pebbles. “Please please please”. You respond, “No, we aren’t going to get those this time”. And it begins: the kicking feet, flailing arms, and high-pitched screaming. You are the victim of another grocery store tantrum via Fruity Pebbles or Death.
When it happens to you as the parent, it makes you feel embarrassed, and (let’s be real) frustrated with your child. You just wanted a quick simple trip to the store, and now you have a screaming child drawing a lot of unwanted attention to you.
So how do we address the problem of our screaming child? Some of us may want to spank or threaten. Some of us may want give in to the child’s request in order to stop the fit. Some of us may yell back. Some of us may simply walk away.
According to researchers at Zero to Three, the key to this scenario is staying calm rather than losing it. Don’t let your anger get the best of you. Also, make sure to validate your child’s feelings. They really do feel frustrated! There are some great tips and techniques to try in the article below:
Zero to Three: When he doesn’t get his way
Have you used any of the techniques in the article before? How has it gone for you?
“Don’t talk to me that way.” “Quit slamming the door.” Isn’t it amazing how the first words that often come out of a parent’s mouth is a description of what our kids are doing wrong. Then we threaten and soon we’re in the middle of an argument. Taken too far, we may resort to harsh punishment like a slap to the face or a spanking. Later when we cool down, we may realize that nothing was learned and the same problem is apt to happen again and again.
This is where discipline enters the picture. When we want to change behavior, we need to do more than describe what kids are doing wrong. We have to name specifically what we want them to do. Kids do better when we use positives. Here are three simple examples.
- “Don’t slam the door.” — “Please shut the door quietly.”
- “Don’t yell at your sister.” — “Talk to your sister in a pleasant voice.”
- “Don’t be late tonight.” — “Be home by your 10:30 curfew.”
Some parents find they can improve problems with their kids by helping them earn privileges and rewards. This is kind of like the flip side of giving penalties when kids misbehave. It goes like this: instead of grounding your teen for getting home late, you extend her curfew 15 minutes if she gets home on time for two weekends. Or if you son eats what is served for supper during the week, he gets to choose what’s for supper on Friday night.
Your child needs to help decide what the privilege will be. And it shouldn’t be something you can’t afford or takes too much time. Obviously it needs to be something your child wants or values and must be something he can earn soon.
So what do you think? Would this work with your kids?
Psssst I know you listened to the Corporal Punishment podcast because it tells me how many times it was reviewed.
It’s ok, I know this is a hard topic to discuss out loud. I sometimes feel the most comfortable when I can look up information on my own and think about it first. Here’s the catch – information has to be credible AND reliable information. And here at extension we also demand that it be research based.
So how about we start there – I’m going to share some solid research based resources around the topic of corporal punishment for you to review and ponder over -and then we can talk a bit more. Feel free to ask us not to post your question individually and we will be happy to post it as a ‘subscriber submitted question’.
Here you go!
Should parents spank their children? This month that’s our topic~ yes we really are gonna talk about spanking and alternative ways to discipline children.
Listen to the podcast, check out the links and then join us for great discussion!