Going with the flow, not letting change throw you around remains an major skill To move ahead on the path to the good life.
Change starts with birth and ends with death. Before thinking about your child and change, think about you and change. The ability to accept change is partly built into us at birth. Some of us rush to the new and the adventuresome; some wait a bit before joining in, and some would prefer to stay with the old.
This inborn responses to change comes with our genes in the form of temperament traits. Jerome Kagan, retired Harvard researcher and professor, sees temperament traits as one of the first influences on how we become who we are.
So which are you? Eager Beaver? Careful Cat? Shy Sparrow? Extrovert? Introvert? Bigger question? Is your child the same as you or on a totally different wave length. That is what the experts call “fit” as in “goodness of fit.”
Often we pick partners who are our opposite. Eager Beaver? You might pick a Shy Sparrow to hold you back or to make you feel bolder and braver. A Careful Cat or Shy Sparrow You might pick an Eager Beaver might bring you out a bit.
Two of my grandsons are at the opposite ends of the bold to shy, extravert or introvert ways of being. Guess what? One parent is an Eager Beaver; the other a Shy Sparrow. And I am more the Shy Sparrow, while my husband is an Eager Beaver.
Two other thoughts before a few suggestions. One thought, people are far more complicated than the above shows; according to Kagan temperament is only one of a hundred things that explain the way we are. That is good news. With a bit of help, A Shy Sparrow might become if not an Eager Beaver at least a Careful Cat.
I am a Shy Sparrow at heart. Know me in some situations and you’d question that. Look at how I stood up on Oprah. My shy self was in full retreat. I do not even remember being nervous. Get me to a party where I know no one, and watch me shudder and try to fade into the woodwork or fly away like the Shy Sparrow I am at heart.
In the Oprah situation, I was sharing knowledge that I was confident I knew. In the second, I didn’t know much about what I could share with socially adept strangers. Context matters.
The second thought related to the above: how our temperament plays out in our lives is not set in stone. Eager Beavers can be squashed in some situations or by some life events. Think of the Eager Beaver child in a classroom that demands more quiet compliance than the Eager Beaver ordinarily displays. A Careful Cat will do best in such a class room.
My mother recognized my Shy Sparrow and made things like my appearance on Oprah possible.
Parenting tip number one: Know your child’s temperament traits. Honor them; do not try to force a sparrow to become a beaver.
Parenting tip number two: Know the various temperament traits surrounding your child. Label them as such. That will begin to teach your children how to figure some things out about other people, Figuring people out build’s emotional intelligence. Moreover, it helps the child figure out a bit about him or her self, another building block for emotional intelligence.
Parenting tip number three: Encourage both the Eager Beaver and Shy Sparrow to acquire some of the Careful Cat’s ways. The middle way works best in most situations.
Parenting tip number four: Prod don’t push. The turtle wins more races when trying to teach your child a better way of being. One of my Mom’s mottos was “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gain.” When I was hesitant about something, she’d repeat that and then add, “Try it, you might like it; if not no great loss.”
Parenting tip number five: Strengthen every family members self-soothing skills. Buy my eBook Self-soothing: Create Calm in Your Life. Right now it costs less than an ice cream cone and lasts longer.
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO
Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful. Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it? Comment and tell me why and how to improve.
This post was not inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt, but by Facebook Friend Dorian Cole. Thank you Dorian.
OTHER LINKS OF INTEREST
These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.
- Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
- The five components of emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)
- An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents (amazon.com)
- Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises.