Parenting: Children are from Heaven (cont.)

Many parents are still using skills of 200 years ago, some 1,000 years ago ... and some are using new skills that, although well intentioned, don't work because they're so new and experimental. Many people went from punishment to somehow trying to be their child's best friend and this child-centered parenting resulted in spoiled children. Spare the rod, spoil the child. The rod needs to be updated to communication skills so the parent remains the boss, but the children's rights are recognized. The child has 5 rights that I talk about ... they have the right to be different. Different learning styles, tendencies, etc.. They have the right to make mistakes ... they are forgivable .. certainly this is the message of love. Yet, every time they punish their children, they say unless they're big mistakes, that's not okay. The third message is that it's okay to express negative emotions. Most children in the past weren't allowed to speak! The fourth message is that it's okay to want more but you don't always get it. This is particularly given for little girls, but it's okay to want more. Women today don't know how to ask for what they want, and don't give themselves permission to do what they want. So, they push men away from their lives instead of asking for what they want. And, resent the man 10 years later. It's okay to resist mom and dad, but remember that they are the boss.

Event_Moderator {question presented} How difficult will it be for parents to implement these skills against old parenting patterns?

Dr_Gray It's amazing how easy it is to put this into practice and you will forget many of the things again and again. Anything that you learn takes repetition hundreds of times before becoming automatic. Hitting a ball with a bat takes several hundred runs before you know how to do it ... becoming a reflex. Repetition helps us to learn quickly. However, this is simple once you start practicing it. In raising children, you get to repeat it over and over .. they're basic skills. What makes it work is that your children will respond right away .. you see that it works. When things aren't working, you think, 'Oh, I've got to go back to the book or tapes and see what isn't working.' This is a much healthier attitude than saying, 'Things aren't working, now I'll punish my kids.' With some practice, it becomes automatic. Having said all that, I don't want to be seen as someone who says parenting is easy. Just with these principles parenting is much easier, but still a challenging job, especially if both parents are working. Raising a child is very challenging! The more skills you have, the easier it becomes. The result is much better.

Event_Moderator {question presented} You mentioned in your book that children can be put into one of four general temperaments. Would you explain those to us and explain how parents should deal with different temperaments?

Dr_Gray Children are different. What I found in my research .. teaching classes for 25 years, watching children, studying them, reading books about them, I've found there are 4 types of them. Generally one temperament is dominant. That temperament has a need or requirement. If you understand that, you know what your child needs to be more cooperative. If they don't get that need met, they'll become uncooperative and you'll have to punish them. An example would be ... a child needs sleep. Deprive a child of sleep for three days and there's no way the child will cooperate with you no matter who you are or what you do! Children have to have their basic needs met in order to be cooperative. What I've found is different children have different needs. One child has a greater need to be heard, to communicate, for empathy, for compassion, to talk about problems, for people to sympathize. So, if a parent is not this type of temperament, they will not know how to give the child what he/she needs. And, they'll give what the parent needs. Our instinct is to give the child what WE need, but not what the child needs. Another temperament is the active child. This child tends to resist authority, get in trouble, dominate situations, lack compassion for others, much more self-centered than others. They rush to the front and want it first. The active child is also from a positive point of view, the leader. Wants to be the center of attention. That kind of child. This child needs enormous amounts of acknowledgment and appreciation. If they're upset, you don't need to ask them a lot of questions like the sensitive child. You need to immediately give them a solution, responsibility and a role. They need lots of supervision and direction. A sensitive child can become resistant when you don't listen to their problems. The active child can become resistant if you don't forgive them for their mistakes. If you want them to follow you as the leader, you have to be a strong leader ... a strong leader takes responsibility for the final outcome. They should not be punished, but they generally are the most heavily punished ... most prisoners today were these types of children. I'm only briefly going through these temperaments.

Then there's the responsive child. This child needs lots of stimulation. Moving from one thing to another. They need the parent to give them opportunities to do lots of things. We see parents today taking kids to soccer practice and singing lessons, whatever. But, if you put this kid into that, it'd be too much stimulation for them, so you have to know your type of child. If a responsive child ( needing many experiences ) ... their shortcomings .. they won't finish things, if they're criticized for this, they won't feel nurtured and become cooperative. They need that stimulation in order to meet their needs. You have a child who needs more stimulation, they're not getting it, and you ask them to put on their jacket, they won't put it on! So, you say, 'the other day, I wasn't wearing my jacket either and I looked up at the beautiful sky and then it got cold and I put on my jacket, c'mon, put on my jacket right now!' So, you distracted them from what was bothering them. Where the sensitive child, where you talk about something else, they feel worse.