I was recently asked this question by a parent.
Well, first of all, a clear understanding of why he is not talking is critical, and this could range from the child being an introvert through to big issues at school such as bullying, poor marks, or a lack of self esteem or resilience. From my experience in education and dealing with many parents and kids, I have found the root cause in many cases to be a fear or anxiety. No, maybe not fear of the parent, but maybe fear of what the parent may say or do.
Let’s examine things a little further. Do you know if your boy is an introvert or an extravert? It’s more than just about being shy, or outgoing – in fact, it really is not that at all. An introvert derives their energy internally, from within, and after a long day at school with many people and activities, they prefer to recharge on their own, often in a quiet space, free of distractions. The extravert, on the other hand, is stimulated by other people and may look for even more stimulation after a day at school. So what?
Well, as a parent of an introverted child, you will need to respect the need for down time and a special space. If you want to know about how the day has gone, or you just want to shoot the breeze, don’t expect much to happen. You need to be sensitive to an introvert’s needs and when they are ready, they will share. Often this requires active listening on your part, so that you can pick up on cues – something that is said in passing – that you can build a discussion on. Let conversation occur in their timing. The introvert child often struggles with making small talk, so don’t expect that to happen either.
On the other hand, if you are the parent of an extraverted child, you would think that they would come home ready to share all of the events of the day. Well, not necessarily so! They may be craving more interaction with more of their friends, so a one-on-one conversation may backfire with them. In fact, you may get some of the best conversation when you engage them in activities with other people – like some pick-up basketball or a going for a jog through the neighbourhood. Be aware that they usually enjoy an audience and that they may even speak before they think.
Another factor to consider and ask yourself is why do you feel they are not talking to you. It issue may go far beyond the introvert/extravert concept. Maybe they have been bullied, made fun of, or can’t handle the pressures of school. Maybe they broke up with their girlfriend and are devastated and don’t know where to turn. Whether introvert or extravert, the key here is letting them know that you are always available for support and unconditional love – whatever that may look like in your family unit. If they know that you will be there to uphold them, they will communicate in their time. They may be sharing a lot of information with their peers, looking for support and guidance there. When they find that avenue lacking, they will come to you. Countless studies have shown that kids will often communicate first with their peers, but they one they ultimately respect and depend upon is the parent.
So, don’t give up! Whether your boy is an introvert or an extravert, listen actively and commend them when they do engage in conversation. Always keep the lines of communication open.
I recently came upon the website http://www.b-di.com/ a site for understanding behavioural individuality. The applications to education and pedagogy should be obvious, but they are often overlooked or dismissed as not rooted in sufficient research. I have found quite the opposite. The understanding of temperament and its application to the classroom setting can yield big dividends for the savvy educator, and by extension, to the adroit administrator (whose “classroom” is the whole school). According to http://www.b-di.com/
“Programmatic research on temperament and education has been conducted by two researchers, Barbara Keogh at UCLA and Roy Martin at the University of Georgia. Much of Dr. Keogh’s work focused on special education students and how their behavioural style impacted their learning. She found that classroom teachers perceived a temperament dimension of ‘teachability’ in students, and it was the most important element in predicting how well youngsters would progress academically. This behavioral style characteristic was related to “easy temperament” in both special education and regular education children. Other temperament categories, called task orientation and reactivity were also related to educational functioning. Some temperamental features even predicted overall student achievement better than their scores on tests of cognitive ability!”
Definitely food for thought. This is what Kate Jones & Associates “Awesome Parenting Series” and other workshop offerings based on temperament theory is all about – deeply understanding the individual’s “colour” and then, “accentuating the positive”. In the next blog, I will reference the research of Roy Martin. Have a “colourful” day!
Have you ever thought about what makes you happy? Is it the bright new “toy” that you just bought? Is it a trip to the sunny South when it is freezing at home? Is it getting the kids to go to bed? Is it finally getting the promotion?
All of these things are just that — things. External pleasures. Fleeting. True happiness comes from within. The word happiness seems to be overused. In fact most of the researchers in the Positive Psychology field cringe at the word happy because really they are talking about positivity. And positivity, according to researcher Christopher Peterson, is “what makes life worth living.” We can choose an attitude of positivity, or using the more common term, we can choose happiness.
That all sounds a little theoretical I know. So let me give you a quick example. Recently when I travelled to FLorida to encourage my daughter in Disney’s half marathon Princess Race, I Face booked fun, sunny photos. Some Canadian friends embraced my joy of being with my daughter, while others told me they were jealous and not to rub it in since the weather was so cold for them.
Yesterday, back in the freezing cold weather I changed my cover page from a skating scene to one of my lounging in a hammock with the comment that I know it is cold but I’m thinking Spring. Today I’m blogging about taking on the attitude of positivity — being happy from within, despite the snow and cold outside my window. Take on an attitude of happiness.
Happy March 1 everyone!
While some temperament types have real difficulty saying “no”, others wonder what all the fuss is about saying “no”. I’m afraid I belong to the first group.
So for those of us who want to say “no” more often and stress less, Dr. Newman makes a few good points. Let me share a couple.
She suggests that at work, “if you stretch yourself too thin, you run the risk of making mistakes or doing a mediocre job.” Clients tell me that they fear saying “no” at work in case they get a pink slip. Yet, if they wind up taking on so much that they can’t do anything well that pink slip may be inevitable.
Dr. Newman shares a lot about families. My personal favorite is, “when you say yes continually to others….you tell yourself and your family that you are not important.” One of my colleagues books a manicure every second Saturday, more because it allows her an hour of pure bliss away from her family then because she needs her nails done professionally.
Turns out, according to this author, that “no” can create a lot of positive energy in our lives. It is up to us to choose when and how to start using it a little more often!
The above title was actually an answer to the age-old question, “how can I change my personality?”
Sometimes in a workshop I hear things like “I’m not as funny as the other temperament types” or “I wish I could be more like my colleagues because…’, or…. well you get the picture.
I saw the above answer posted in response to a question on answers.yahoo.com.
I loved it! Short, to the point.
So often we see the gifts or talents that someone else possesses and we want them. Well, it just stresses us out. As though we don’t have enough stress from life events or from those every day occurrences that “get under our skin” we add to these stressors ourselves.
Instead of asking how you can change your personality, I think the real question is, “How can I make the most of my personality?” What specific talents do you have to offer? And we all have wonderful talents, albeit sometimes hidden ones!
Take a moment today and think of something about your personality that you don’t want to change.