Friday, August 2, 2013

Back to School Quandaries

"I hate school and I'm not going!" Katie shouted, stomped to her room, and slam!

"Oh boy, here we go again," Katie’s mom sighed, "What do I do?"
That’s right!  It's that time again - BACK-TO-SCHOOL!  For some, that's really good news; for others, it's the plague of death.
So, just what do we do when our kids struggle with school?  Sure we can force them to go, but the real question is why don't they want to go?  If there's not a legitimate issue that needs to be dealt with (bullies, inadequate comprehension, etc.), then let's consider strategies that will motivate our kids to look forward to school.

We motivate our kids when we understand our kids.  When we understand how our children tick and specifically interact with others, they feel loved and accepted for who they are. 

Everyone falls into one of two categories – task-oriented or people-oriented.  First - is your child outgoing and fast-paced, or more reserved and slower-paced?  It’s important to know the difference if we want to motivate effectively. 

Let’s begin by discussing our “people-oriented” personality styles. Using the “D-I-S-C” Model of Human Behavior, we'll see where your child fits in. 
For example, does your child enjoy friends?  We’ll take it a step further - would this be a lot of friends (party atmosphere) - or just one or two close friends in a more secluded, quiet environment? 

If your child’s focus is to be popular and around lots of friends, you may have an interactive “I” child.  Talk to them about it - better yet, let them talk about it (they love to talk!).  Plan an afternoon to listen to their stories, shop for the latest fashions (remember popularity and attention is key to them), and mention the fun, high-energy activities with their friends.  Give them a chance to burn energy after school each day.  Sitting still most of the day is difficult!

Perhaps your child is more reserved, would rather spend time with one or two thoughtful and caring friends.  You may have a sweet “S” child.  Plan a get-together before school starts with that supportive friend.  Maybe they can walk to school together.  Help them feel “safe” and “secure” (note the “S” words here).  Let them know how much you support them and will be there for them at the end of each day – ready to help with whatever they need.  Plan a little rest and quiet time after school.  Being around a lot of action throughout the day can wear them out.

Thank goodness we’re all different, but not all kids feel comfortable with these differences.  Build them up for who they are – and you build up their self-esteem - for a lifetime!
Next article - we’ll discuss our “task-oriented” kids!  Stay tuned!

Personality Insights for Moms - Winner - "BEST Parenting Book of the Year" award.