Chapter 11 of the wonderful book, “Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles: Winning For A Lifetime” by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka is about how we make decisions. Sometimes we can trigger the other people in our household without even meaning to simply because some of us have a response to things that is feeling, and some of us have a response to things that are analytical.
Thinking means we are guided by facts, information received, and respond to that. Feeling means we often make decision guided by “what feels right.” This doesn’t mean that those guided by thinking are insensitive or unfeeling, or that those guided by feelings are too sensitive. There is a great checklist on page 179 regarding “if your child is a thinker”, and includes such things as does logic guide your child’s decisions, they need to know “why” things are done and loves a good debate, values justice and fairness, doesn’t enjoy talking about their feelings, and much more. Page 180 hold the checklist for children who are feelers and includes such things as needing to work through emotions before being ready to problem solve, highly valuing harmony and avoiding conflict, being deeply concerned with how decisions affect others. It is very illuminating!
So, if your child is a thinker, you need to deal with facts first and deal with emotion coaching later! This child may need help to understand other people’s point of view. Another suggestion by the author is to let these children feel competent because they highly value acheivement and are often their own toughest critic. You can help them set goals that include dealing with outcomes and how those outcomes affect others. You may have to teach them to be tactful and how being tactful is different than lying. Validating their competence is also really important. It is also important that if this child has siblings, the rules are fairly applied. You may also need to explain “why”‘s more frequently, but it is important NOT to get pulled into intellectual traps.
The feeling child needs their feelings validated, and they need solutions that “feel right” for all the parties involved. They may need reassurance that they are liked – so for these children, it is really important you have a relationship with this child so you can work cooperatively. Yelling and criticizing doesn’t work work with any child, but a feeling child needs that cooperative feeling in order to focus and do what needs to happen. They may also need to learn how to be assertive and how they don’t have to and can’t please everyone, and they need to learn how to consider both feelings and facts.
The last few pages are broken down into categories for us as parents – are we extroverted feeling parents? Extroverted factual parents? Introverted feeling parents? Introverted factual parents?
This is a great chapter for all of us who want to bring balance to our children, and give them tools that will help them so much in the future!
I would love to hear what you thought about this chapter!