Stapleton Pediatrics Blog

Seeing Your Child with 20/20 Vision

When you envisioned yourself as a parent BEFORE you had kids, what did that vision look like? Chances are that vision was quite a bit different from your current reality and chances are that vision involved a child that bore a striking resemblance to yourself: a child you understood!
As a temperament specialist, I work with countless parents who are struggling to understand their kids and one thing I have consistently observed is this:
 
Life has a way of giving us what we need rather than what we want.
 
This was certainly the case for me.
I was expecting my daughter to be a mini me who would enjoy making crafts with me, going shopping with me and keeping me updated on her innermost thoughts. Instead, life gave me a beautiful little girl who was my complete opposite in every way! Parenting her had been a rocky road and by the time she was five we were really struggling. I was blind to her strengths because they didn’t look like mine. I was heartbroken as I found myself becoming more and more negative and our relationship becoming more and more strained.
 
When I looked at her these were the things I saw:
 
How I was perceiving my 5-year-old daughter
Indifferent
Argumentative
Rigid
Insensitive
Stubborn
Lazy
Manipulative
Unrealistic
Imitative
Unplanned
 
Could this be where you are today with your unique child? Is your biased perspective taking over and not letting you see who your child was truly created to be?
 
We have so much influence as parents because
 
the way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice and the way we see our children becomes the way they see themselves.
 
Take that in for a moment. Do you have an accurate picture of who your child is? Even if they are a relatively easy child, can you honestly say your perception of their gifts is 100% accurate?
 
What if there were a way to have assurance that you are parenting your child in just the way they need to be parented in order for them to be the best version of themselves possible? What if there were a scientifically proven tool for discovering: their motivation, perception of the world, decision making style, social needs, stress level, activity level, brain functions and hidden strengths.
 
Here is the good news!  There is a scientifically proven tool that has been around for over 2000 years and this tool is called temperament. When you can accurately assess your child’s temperament, you will gain the most powerful parenting tool on the planet: Understanding.
 
We all have a biased perspective, seeing the world not as it actually is, but what we expect it to be based on our past experience. If you are a rule follower and you were raised by at least one rule following parent, chances are, you are expecting your child to be a rule follower as well. And when they aren’t, you may blame yourself for doing something wrong.
 
 Often times parents see the behavior of their children as a reflection of themselves. If their child’s behavior is judged as unacceptable than the parent’s ability to raise that child must be unacceptable as well.
One parent put it like this:
 
“Once I understood my daughter’s temperament, I was finally able to relax! Instead of fighting against the tide and trying to force her into a certain mold, I began to go with the flow of her temperament and let that guide me.”
 
Nurture vs. Nature
So how early can you determine your child’s temperament?
Many studies show that temperament is present at birth and it does not come as a result of good parenting or bad parenting. Temperament lays the framework for explaining why some babies are fussy, sensitive to noise or strong willed, while others are fairly mellow, relational and content. Your temperament is your hardware (nature) and your outside influences are your software (nurture). Parenting styles, situations, siblings and birth order are all software. Current psychology believes that personality is formed from a balance of both.
 
How does the process work?
The process starts with parents taking an assessment for themselves and their children. This assessment is based on the most widely studied body of temperament research: Jung, Myers Briggs and Kiersey. The assessment however, is just a tool to point us in the right direction. So you might be asking, “what separates this process from a test I took at my office or anything I have done before?” The difference is having an expert who has looked at thousands of temperament patterns in children and adults determine the main cognitive preferences of each family member in order to assess their true type. These preferences reveal strengths that may have been hidden from view and enable parents to see where conflicts are occurring and where solutions are possible.
 
 
I believe that we are all created with strengths rather than weaknesses. Weaknesses form from overusing, underusing or misusing our strengths.
 
I wasn’t expecting to have a daughter who was my polar opposite, but because of her, I now work with countless families helping them understand each other at the deepest level.  I now honor and appreciate my daughter by focusing on her strengths and teaching her how to use those strengths to become the best version of herself.
 
What I used to see What I see now
Indifferent Independent
Argumentative Influencer
Rigid Logical
Insensitive Stable
Stubborn Self-Assured
Lazy Efficient
Manipulative Strategic
Unrealistic Optimistic
Imitative Popular
Unplanned Relaxed
 
My daughter received far more satisfaction out of doing something “all by herself” than she did by doing it with me by her side. I used to see this as indifference, but now I realize how independent she is and really admire that quality in her. When she got asked to homecoming and decided to shop for her dress online rather than spend hours shopping at the mall, I acknowledge her efficiency and practicality, instead of being hurt and disappointed.  I have realized that some things are not worth fighting about! I have chosen to focus on the fact that she is a fun, free-spirit who is not bothered by what I consider to be a messy room. According to her, it’s not a “mess”, but rather “a display” of all her favorite things. I trained myself and now I train other parents to focus on their children’s strengths with 20/20 vision so that the weaknesses fade from view.
 
Parenting is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you’d have. It’s about understanding that they are exactly the person they are supposed to be, and if you are willing, they might be the teacher who turn you into the person you are supposed to be.
 
Most importantly, parenting by temperament is a way to teach your entire family how they can honor each other according to their unique design. Some temperaments are RARE and very few people in the world understand them. A family should be a safe haven where each individual is SEEN and appreciated for who they were truly designed to be.
 
Posted: 4/18/2018 10:12:02 AM by Stapleton Peds | with 0 comments


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