A lot of times I seem motivated to share my dismal failures as a parents. But I don’t want to share too many of them or I will feel like a loser. Yesterday started out squarely in the failure category and Devan melted into a pile of rage in his room while I stood outside his door and shook with anger at his defiance. We both felt out of control and I felt especially hopeless about how I can deal with his behavior in more responsible way. All I’ve been teaching him is anger.
So I swung by the library and grabbed a few more parenting books, figuring that I need to start somewhere. And I think that God was watching out for me and I picked out the absolutely perfect book for us right now. It focuses on identifying your child’s unique Meyer’s Briggs personality type, and then tailoring your parenting to meet their specific needs and world view. Effective strategies for one child are worthless with the other. Craig and I had already been ‘typed’ during per-marital counseling and found it to be eye-opening. It makes sense that the same sort of ideas would apply to our children.
Craig and I had a real light-bulb moment when we realized that while we both fall SOLIDLY in the “Judging” category, Devan is most certainly a “Perceiver”. How this plays out in our house is that I ask Devan to do something rather straight-forward :
” Pick up your blocks.”
Devan, to whom time in an infinite resource and who is rather enamored in the moment, will find a dump truck to drive down a road to load a block and then drive under the table bridge and through a blanket and then up on his bed where a crane will find the block, swing it over to the box and drop it haphazard on top of other toys that shouldn’t have been in the block box in the first place. 10 minutes later, there are three blocks in the box and I hear the sounds of Devan’s truck and machines, happily chugging away.
Mom gets a little pissed off. Mom’s perspective? I asked you CLEARLY to put them AWAY and you DIDN’T. Why can’t you just LIIIIIIISTEN??
Devan: “I AMMMMMMM!”
Mom: “You CLEARLY are NOT.”
Tears. Frustration. Bewilderment.
It all makes so much sense now. Devan really felt like he was doing what I asked. He may not even begin to do it in the way I would think makes sense, but he was making an attempt and I squashed his spirit.
I’m calling this whole revelation a parenting success because as Craig and I read though Devan’s personality type and laughed at how dead-on it is (changing his clothes 3x a day just because, needing to know the EXACT rules, lives for surprises), I think we both had a whole new understanding of what we need to be doing to parent him successfully. We need to be doing so much more than demanding strict discipline and obedience, but rather understanding his way of seeing the world and interacting with it, and helping him learn behaviors that will help make him successful and happy as an adult.
He’s not ever going to be a mini-me and I need to stop being mystified by that. I was a dreamer, had my head in the clouds- he is as literal as you can be. I hated sports growing up and always knew my kids would excel at arts and music. And while Devan likes crafts, he seems to have an inclination towards sports and activities so that is something I need to let him explore. Never thought I would be a soccer mom (or football mom, basketball mom, baseball mom) in a million years, but if that is where my child shines then that is what I will support him in, even as I continue to expose him to the arts, hoping there is a spark there as well!
Whenever I am mad at my kids, I am always asking myself WHY are they so incredibly difficult? What is wrong with them? And without a doubt, a few hours later the passage of time has clarified that each incident has stemmed from some failure on our part as parents. This is the hardest job I will ever hold, there is no question. And there are going to be a lot of failures, probably daily. But I’m feeling extremely hopeful that we have a lot more successes coming our way as well.
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