Friday, June 26, 2009

Alrighty then. :shifty: I've been doing some digging, and I actually got some really decent advice from some non-parents who share dd's personality type, by asking what they wished their folks had known about them. They provided some really helpful insight.

I pulled out my "Nurture by nature" book, and, as far as I can tell, in the Myers-Brigg personality theory , she's an ENTP "The Innovator". Obviously, this could evolve and change over time, and I don't want to pigeon hole her, but, for practical purposes, this is amazingly accurate assessment and info. On this site , ENTP children are described by this quote:

ENTPs are lively children who question established truths and norms, dream and scheme, and develop unusual ways of doing traditional childhood things. The ENTP child is oriented toward doing the unique, which may mean taking risks and outwitting parental, school, and societal authority. They enjoy creating projects and following interests that are unusual and different.

ENTP children enjoy inventing new toys, dances, and languages. Because they are outgoing in their personality style, they often engage other children in their projects and assign them particular roles to play. ENTPs rarely accept things just as they are. They like to test or explore to see new meanings and relationships. When things do not go as they want, they use their ingenuity and cleverness to bring people and situations around to their point of view.

A few quotes from Nurture by Nature (Paul & Barbara Tieger) describe preschool ENTP children thusly:

ENTPs are also not as motivated to comply with orders simply because they are told to ir in order to please...adults. Even as small children, they have the courage to stabd up to adults and will challenge their parents whenever they see fit. Since youn ENTPs actually derive great energy from arguing, it is usually better for parents to decide on what their position is, [b]state the reasons behind their limits..clearly and logically[/b], and then stick to it.
(It goes on to suggest entering respectful bargaining, but only on strategically chosen points.)

Becoming gentle or nurturing is a learned skill for young ENTPs...As (they) begin to learn that feelings are the logical and natural effects of actions, they will better understand and even be able to predict what effect their behavior will have on others (pg 140)

That's my daughter to a "t".

Here are some (paraphrased) thoughts from adult ENTJs I've conversed with:

"I hated it when my parents tried to force me to be "nice" like everyone else. They always seemed convinced that I lacked something emotionally that others had, like I didn't have a soul."

"I wish they (parents) would have taken the time to explain things to me, rather than getting angry whenever I broke their rules. All I wanted was to know why."

"I hate feeling that my opinion didn't matter."

"I felt demonized."

Many have mentioned, even as adults, sadness for being rejected because they don't follow rules for the sake of rules. :o/

Stepping back and thinking about it, in many ways, dd is a very, very reasonable little girl. If you take the time to explain things to her, 9/10, she'll cooperate with you. It's the taking time to explain WHY it's not OK to do something to the length she'd like to take the conversation that gets me running screaming for the hills. (I'm more of an INFJ)

Dh shares some of her personality traits, and suggested this script for moments when I absolutely *can't* take the time to explain: "You're a very smart girl, and I think you'd understand most of my reason if I could tell you. Right now, I can't do that, and I need you to trust that I want the best for you." Very wise.

Someone else suggested identifying the source of their struggle (wanting to create something, needing to feel capable, needing independence, etc) and then helping work a solution together that speaks to that. Very gentle discipline. Rock On.

For an ENTP, that sort of empowering and confidence building might look like: DD takes my chapstick to create a robot. I point out that she's taken it without asking, explain how that effects me, and involve HER in problem solving-what might be acceptable for robot material, and how to work to pay restitution for the chapstick.

Here's a couple more quotes I found helpful from Nurture by Nature and You Can't Make Me, But I can be Persuaded (Cynthia Tobias):

Real and lasting self-esteem for ENTPs comes from seeing themselves as the creative, competent, and resourceful people they are. (Nurture by Nature, pg 148)

Standing firmly behind ENTPs in all their high energy and flamboyance communicates a lasting appreciation for the bright and fresh originals they are.

SWC's (strong willed children) would rather have a compelling problem to solve than just a list of chores to do. Try soliciting my input regarding the chores. (Cynthia Tobias, "You Can't Make Me", pg 50)

The more I hear from these personality types, the more I realize that, mostly, they want to be treated with respect. Not just non- punitive (though many of them have pointed out to me that corporal punishment was an especially embittering violation of their person ), but actually valued for their ideas and capabilities. If a parent of a willful, creative thinker has even a *shred* of the "I'm the parent and you will follow me blindly because you're a mere CHILD" paradigm in their thinking, they're going to attack the problem from a totally wrong angle and make life a living hell for both themselves and the child, and likely destroy lifelong relationship in the process. :(

I think, for me the biggest obstacles to overcome have been (and continue to be):

-Loss of the "small child" ideal. From the moment she was born, she was like a critical, observant, opinionated *adult*. Rather than the usual childhood stuff, I find myself answering questions about the function of white blood cells (and the white/red ratio), the laws of entropy, and the concept of alliteration. She'll even argue whether my explanation is accurate. :rolleyes I feel rather intruded upon intellectually...for the next. 14. years....nothing gets by her undetected.

- My own intuitive introversion. I'd rather spend most of my time in my own head, and trying to constantly train an extroverted problem solver is exhausting for me. It's a prolonged daily foray into the "outside" world, and that is VERY counter intuitive for me to have to describe my thought process out loud while simultaneously trying to stay two mental steps ahead of her (and parent two other unique children).

-Defeating my own "children should be subservient" background, and combating that attitude from others for my child.

May post more later...those are my general thoughts for now.

1 comment:

  1. good thoughts! And yes that is extremely exhausting!...but rewarding too all at the same time. I have soem kids like that....but most especially one....he is a delight(and can be all awful at the very same time:):)