Yesterday, I made a visit to my mom. I found her in her garden planting onions… (several hundred onions…) One of the first things that I said to her once my active five year old was busy climbing a rickety latter to the top of the orchard trees 🙂 was,
“Mom… is there a way to parent without messing up your kids for life?”
I’ve been personally struggling the past few weeks with losing my temper. Talking in a ‘mean voice’ as Buddy points out quite often. It’s startling to me how much I’m learning that my own mental and emotional health reflect upon the behavior of my children. If there was ever an argument for taking time for yourself, this is a big one. Being in a good place helps me be nicer, wiser, and more pleasant. Which makes it a whole lot easier for my kids to do the same.
Energy begets energy.
If that energy is positive, it helps bring more positive energy.
If that energy is negative, it invites more negativity.
My question to her was in jest. Sort of 🙂
But the truth of the matter, is that every one of us has a different nature and personality. Part of the test of life is learning how to co-exist with our differences. Parenting brings the added challenge of learning how to parent specifically to each child, for what works for one, often times doesn’t work for another.
A few years ago I discovered the book, The Child Whisperer. If there was ever a parenting book that has taken much of the mystery out of figuring people out, this is it. Author, Carol Tuttle, brilliantly reveals the four different energy types found in children (and of course adults fit these same types). Each type thinks and processes their world differently, moves differently, and has specific gifts that they contribute to their world. The book was released at a crucial time for me. At the time I had a profoundly energetic three year old. Our daily existence together was running me ragged and I was certain that I was the worst mother ever. When I read the book and discovered that he was an Active/Reactive Type 3 child, it was like the clouds parted and angelic choruses sang triumphant refrains.
My first thought upon discovering this was, “You mean… he came to Earth that way? Nothing is wrong with him??!”
Most of the friction in our relationship came from me constantly trying to change who he was. His natural movement and energy. No wonder we were struggling!!
Since that time, parenting has become more clear. Many times, it makes parenting easier, but I want to be careful with tossing out the easy word 🙂 Life and relationships always present challenges, but understanding one another changes things dramatically. Understanding the nature of myself and my child has made it easier to find solutions to our challenges in a way that support both of our unique needs. It’s helped me to let go of trying to change him into someone else, and most of all, it’s helped me to SEE him. Truly see him for the incredibly talented awesome kid that he is. He has talents that I never knew about, until I learned more about his Type 3 nature.
After studying this material for a few years, both the book, and the amazing added resources found on the Child Whisperer Blog and Podcast, it was really exciting to see how I could use this information even for a baby.
Our newest delightful addition to our family is a fun loving Type 1 child. I suspected her type 1 nature while I was pregnant, because of the quality of her movement inside. Sure enough, I was right. True to her type 1 energy, she loves people and loves variety. Baby’s can’t communicate on their own, so it’s often a guessing game to figure out what they are upset about. Knowing her nature has been a great way to quickly diagnose why she’s fussy. Totally fascinating!
I also use the material to understand myself and other people in my life better. Children’s energy types don’t change as they grow and mature, so all the information in the book is relatable regardless of age. Carol talks about what extra curricular activities will be best for each separate type, how to potty train each type, sleep challenges, discipline, motivation, routines, even tips through the teen years and dating!!—for each separate type. It’s really one of the most fascinating and useful parenting guides I’ve ever read. And certainly one that I keep on reference for each new stage.
Hopefully, I’m not the only parent out there who worries about my own mistakes scarring my kids for life:) Parenting is a trial and error education! How grateful I am to have been able to learn about Energy Types as a tool for making it easier and proving the truth of Stephen Covey’s Habit “Seek first to understand and then be understood.”
Brooke Snow delights in the pursuit of a meaningful life. Sign up for her FREE e course “Living A Thriving Life” to learn more about how to find true balance in your life. Brooke lives in Northern Utah with her calm husband, adventurous 5 year old son and bouncy baby girl.