Children: wonderful but challenging!

If you’re a parent, chances are that at some point in your child’s life you have been completely baffled by their behavior or response in a certain situation.  Perhaps it seems out of character for them, or it is just so opposite of how you would react that you’re not quite sure what to do!

Or maybe you’re the parent who feels like you don’t fully understand your child, and you struggle to communicate with them in a way that produces results.   If you can relate even a little bit, I think you will be thrilled to learn about this book – The Child Whisperer!  (Find it here)  Regardless of how old your children are, or even if they are still living at home with you, I think you can benefit from this book.

**Please note, this is not a child-rearing book.  In fact, I would say that you definitely want to read other child-training books and resources for further insight on raising your children.  However, I have noticed in reading other books that there is usually a one-size-fits-all approach, and so I appreciated the different approach in this book; however, this book barely skims over the topic of discipline, which is why I wanted to mention that you should be aware of that.**

The book is written by Carol Tuttle, who has spent many years studying energy profiling, and it is that skill that she introduces in the realm of the parent/child relationship.  I found it helpful in identifying the different energy and tendencies of my children, and I was also able to use it to further confirm my own energy profile (though she has other books for adults, including a full course on dressing according to your energy type, which I found interesting!)

Carol shares that there are four basic types of energy exhibited; we exhibit all of them to a certain degree, but we usually express one dominant energy type and one secondary type to a lesser degree.

The book is over 400 pages, so this is a very brief overview – you may find it helpful to read through it and see how your child’s energy type shows how they act and react in life.

  • Type 1s can be described as active, animated, bouncy, bubbly, busy, cute, energetic, funny, happy, an actor, outgoing, random, and social; and sometimes negatively labeled as a daydreamer, flighty, idealist, irresponsible, or messy.
  • Type 2s are often described as agreeable, calm, careful, cautious, detailed, gentle, kind, low-key, pleasant, quiet, relaxed, sensitive, subdued, and thoughtful; and sometimes they are negatively labeled as slow, whiny, pouty, or shy.
  • Type 3s have the highest level of energy and are described as adventurous, assertive, determined, feisty, loud, outgoing, passionate, persistent, quick, rowdy, and strong-willed; and negatively considered to be wild, pushy, aggressive, demanding, or hot-tempered.
  • Type 4s are sometimes labeled as articulate, bold, clear, concise, loyal, dignified, exact, literal, logical, mature, precise, poised, polite, reflective, serious, and structured; and can be negatively described as bossy, critical, harsh, judgmental, a loner, and opinionated.

That is just a very brief list of some words you may have used to describe your children, and if so, you may want to focus on that particular section and see if you can identify more about how your child is wired.

I found it interesting to note that I believe my kids to be different energy types than I am. My Type 1 barrel-of-energy little guy can inflict a lot of pain as he comes bouncing into me all the time, and yet he gives the best hugs and smiles so big telling me how much he loves me.  While my Type 2 quiet energy differs from his expansive drive, I notice that when I comment on how I love his energy, he just brightens up and grins with a twinkle in his eye!

I believe my other son has dominant Type 4 energy; he mirrors a lot of what I do, and he is very observant and focused.  When he understands a rule, he sticks to it exactly (at least most of the time; he’s still a kid of course!).  He also wants to make sure everyone else understands the rules and follows them exactly as well … so you can imagine that this creates quite a conflict with the two very different energy types in my children!  I love knowing that we can celebrate their differences, and we can approach them in a way that honors who they are, while still teaching them right from wrong and training them in a godly manner.

I found it interesting to note that my Type 4 son needs a “warning” before things are going to change.  So when it’s time for him to switch activities, or if our daily schedule is changing, it helps to give him a head’s up so he can be prepared for the change.  However, my Type 1 energy son is so buoyant and expressive that he needs a much shorter window of time to change; if I mention we may go shopping or get a treat later, he thinks “later” is right after I make the announcement!  In general, Type 1s are much more open to change and ready for anything they perceive to be fun.

I am still working to implement all of the information I read in this book!  There are many descriptions offered for identifying your child, and certainly no need to label your child, but yet understanding how they process the world around them could make for a much more pleasant home for all of you!

Have you read this book before?  Using the brief descriptions above, do you have any idea which dominant energy type would describe you?  What about your children?  Is it the same or different?  I hope this is a help to you and produces a better environment in your home.  On to the next book!!

– Hannah

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