I want this toy.
I want to buy that.
I want a treat.
I want, I want, I want is sometimes all I hear out of my son’s mouth. Even though he’s four, these words used to infuriate me. My first instinct was that I’m raising a spoiled brat who is never content with what he has…but I’m happy to report that for the most part I was way off.
So what changed?
I recently learned that when my son says “I want…” it’s usually just his way of expressing that he likes something, just like you or I might say something is “pretty” or “cool”. This shift in understanding how he communicates came this summer after my family went through Communications Counseling at Wired Within.
I had been talking to a co-worker about my struggles getting my son to listen. After asking him to do something, or telling him not to do something, he would often ignore me. I felt like the only time I got his attention was when I was yelling when he’d ask, “Mom, why are you yelling?” I felt like we were constantly butting heads, and yes I know he’s young, but I’m focused on creating a relationship of open communication with my kids now and into the future. And I don’t think it can start too early.
Enter Wired Within
That’s when my co-worker told me about Wired Within and how understanding the personality types of everyone in your family can make a big difference with communication, discipline, and even education. I was intrigued and figured we had nothing to lose, so I signed up for a family session. In the two hours we were there, I was simply blown away by the information we received.
Since my kids are so young, they can’t take personality tests. But the counselor, Vinny, had some trains set up and asked my kids to pick their favorite colors. He asked my son to tap his fingers against each other and on the table. He then watched the four of us interact with one another. Within minutes, he was able to pinpoint each of our personalities and he it’s crazy how spot on they were.
We learned that my son’s personality type is focused on fun and play, that work and responsibility are an afterthought. Playfulness is his channel, and how he best hears and learns. My husband is a lot more playful than I am, and that’s why he responds better to my husband’s requests and discipline. It’s also why school may become a challenge as he gets older.
My first reaction was “Yeah that’s great, he needs things to be fun, but life isn’t always fun”. First, the counselor said that’s the number one response from my personality type, which was a little scary. Then he went on to say while that’s true, it’s most important for my son to feel happy and content at home, wanting to talk to us. He’ll learn that life’s tough on his own, and our home should be a safe haven.
Parenting for My Son’s Personality
That said, Vinny also gave us tips on effective discipline for his personality type and words that get his attention. For example, he told me to use the word “unacceptable” when describing negative behavior. I had used that word a lot in the past, but I quickly realized why it wasn’t effective. For instance, after my son ripped a toy out of his sister’s hand I responded with “That is unacceptable behavior”. Nothing. He acted like he didn’t hear me. I then rephrased my words to say “Your behavior is unacceptable”, and he instantly collapsed into tears and told me he was sorry. It hasn’t worked like gangbusters every time since then, but the awareness that tweaking a word can change the way he hears me has made a big difference.
Parenting for My Own Personality
And, speaking of awareness, our session made me realize that I was adding stress to certain situations because of my often unrealistic expectations. For example, I’m very time-rigid and get stressed out if we are even a couple of minutes late. While it annoys my husband, we joked that it was leftover from my reporter days of always being under deadline. Come to find out, it’s one of my personality traits. Vinny explained that when I’m stressed, it stresses my son out and therefore he is not happy or having fun. In these kinds of situations, my son will escalate the situation to try and ensure that someone (me) feels worse than he does. It’s a defense mechanism of sorts. I asked, “So I need to hide my stress from my son?” and Vinny said, “No, you need to figure out a way to not get so stressed out.” After I laughed out loud, he went on to explain that, yes, while I have a household to run, work, school, and everything else moms deal with being a few minutes late isn’t the end of the world or worth disrupting family harmony.
I’m happy to report that I’m making progress, making a conscience effort to not freak out over time. And I have to say it’s all due to just being aware of how we all communicate and respond to different situations. Having this knowledge has helped me understand myself, my children and my husband better than before. The information we have has made me a more patient person, a better advocate for my children, and a better wife and mom.
This parenting seminar is specifically for parents of kids from 2-7. In these developmental years, learning obedience and respectfulness are paramount to their future success as a child and your ability to parent them. We also will help you discover submission through leadership, how to get your child out of distress and find out what motivates them to make decisions.
October 24th, Watermark Books, 4701 E Douglas from 6-8pm for $5
This marriage seminar is specifically for anyone who has ever experienced the challenges of communication in marriage. We will help you discover what causes the frustration within you that leads to conflict. How can you recognize your own distress and how to help your spouse out of distress. Learn how to process in the correct communication channel for your spouse and how to handle conflict resolution the right way for you.
November 14th, Watermark Books, 4701 E Douglas from 6-8 for $5
Parenting, work relationships and marriage can feel incredibly supportive or deeply hurtful. After going through consultations with Wired Within, you will be able to speak to others in ways that tap into their motivations and meet their psychological needs. Once you learn to treat yourself with elegant care, and develop compassion for others who are made differently, you will find more success with less stress in all parts of life.