Tag Archives: independence

6 Warning Signs You Need to Empower Your Harmony Child
Harmony Child with Mom

Harmony children* are just what the name implies — they thrive on harmony. They hate fights, anger and tension and will do what they can to avoid it. Unlike an Integrity child*, Harmony kids can easily comply with your wishes and back down when faced with anger. Similar to the Dandelion child* who does well in any environment, your Harmony child is likely to be flexible and can transition well.

Whereas an Integrity child has you tearing your hair out, Harmony kids make you feel like a great parent. They will work hard to meet high expectations. This child can get very upset and angry but gets over it pretty quickly. Things that stick to your Integrity kid like Velcro, roll off your Harmony child like water off a duck’s back. This child is easy to live with and doesn’t often stress you out or give you reason to worry.

They make great friends and generally have lots of them. They are easy to like as they are good at understanding all points of view. They can move from group to group with their chameleon-like qualities and rarely cause discomfort or discord among friends. They generally fit well in school because they are malleable and work diligently. They make great mediators and can stand up for the kid who gets bullied.

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Feb. ’19 Q&A – Food Demands, Imagination and Fear, and Religious Doubt

Stop Catering to Food Demands

Q. My kids, 5 and 3, have had catered food of their choice their whole lives, and we can’t figure out how to switch without enduring weeks and months of misery at the table. When we tried a year ago, we gave up after about a week and a half of screaming and crying at every dinner. After a long hiatus, I tried again, thinking the kids would help plan the menu and cook. They agreed to try a homemade mac and cheese. They took a few bites, declared it disgusting, and started crying for their usual (pbj for my son, pizza for my daughter). We also had other items they like on offer—pineapple and bread—but they wouldn’t eat. After 30 minutes of crying, my husband and I agreed to give in but to get advice on how else we might do this more effectively, and less painfully. An additional challenge is that we are vegetarian and tend to prefer healthy, fairly sophisticated foods. Since they won’t eat mac and cheese, they are unlikely to eat barley pilaf with kale, shiitake and marinated tofu. I’m willing to compromise my own palette to aid their development, but I end up feeling quite resentful when I am stuck eating mac and cheese (even with veggies) when they don’t even eat it.

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10 Ways to Keep Up with Your Teen

Sometimes it’s all you can do to keep up with life. To keep up with your teen can seem daunting.

Your relationship with your teen can make or break your teen’s experience and relationships with peers, friends, school, and family. Research shows that connection with family is the #1 preventive factor in substance abuse, addiction, pregnancy, and school failure throughout the teen years.

Connection means that when faced with a dilemma or decision, your teen will first think what would my parents say? instead of what would my friends say? Connection does not guarantee smart decision-making—your teen is in the developmental risk taking years—but it puts you first and foremost in your teen’s mind. If your teen fears punishment, thinks you will not understand, knows she can’t talk to you, she will turn to her friends for the support and understanding she needs.

Here are 10 ways to keep up and keep connected:

1. Understand development — Your teen reverts to the egocentricity you haven’t seen since toddlerhood. Everything is about him. He is evolutionarily programmed to take risks in order to discover what you cannot teach. His prefrontal cortex is not fully developed until 25, which means he is less able to control impulses, allow thinking before acting, and foresee the consequences of his actions. Expect this!
2. Be playful — Your teen is likely to think you are “clueless”. If you can play along you will gain points in her estimation. Counter with humor, “Back in the 1800s, we didn’t even have electricity. Can you help this old lady with her iphone?” Light-heartedness may lead to laughter. Learn to tease her in a way that she likes, and she will tease you back. Humor cures most ills.
3. Don’t take it personally — Your teen is going to throw barbs that can hurt if you let them penetrate. When you hurt, you are likely to retaliate. He can leave the house anytime he feels like it. Don’t kick him out the door with nagging, threats and blame and into the precarious security of his peers. Wait for your emotions to calm, but don’t let it go. Come back with, “I didn’t appreciate your comment. Can you say what you wanted in a more respectful way, please?” Be willing to take a certain amount of attitude before you draw your line.
4. Set limits but allow independence — Your limits need to grow with your teens need for independence. Work out agreed upon limits and rules together. Let go of “No, you can’t.” She will show you she can. Get in the habit of “I don’t want… that doesn’t work for me… let’s figure this out so we’re both okay with it.” Letting go is the hardest skill for the parent of a teen.
5. Trust — Beneath this egocentric, inconsiderate, risk taker, your teen has all the capability and kindness he has ever had. That child did not vanish although you wonder sometimes. If you send messages that you do not trust him, he will learn to be untrustworthy. When you show your trust in that wonderful person you know is still in there, he will not want to betray your trust. Trust involves allowing him to discover the mistakes he needs to make for himself.
6. Accept — Unconditionally accept your teen no matter what. That does not mean accepting her behavior or agreeing with her. It means accepting that at this stage of development, given her circumstance, she will make mistakes, she will think she knows everything, and she will likely dismiss you. When you accept this, your reactions can calm to responses and fair limits.
7. Be honest — Your teen wants to know what’s going on. He can see through attempts to skirt issues that feel uncomfortable or when you are being dishonest. Get in the habit of talking about the world, what’s going on in your life and your community. Don’t wait for his questions. Teens don’t want to let on they don’t know, so they don’t ask.
8. Find windows of opportunity — Just because your teen chooses to spend time alone or with her friends and barely acknowledges your presence, she still wants you there. Keep a look out for those windows when she will connect. She wants to—just not most of the time.
9. Make your house the hub — Encourage your teen to bring his friends to your house. Make it inviting with food and a welcoming atmosphere. Disappear when appropriate but also be a friend to his friends and have fun.
10. Do your homework — find out what your teen is interested in and get interested too. Together watch favorite TV shows, look at fashion magazines and catalogues, attempt to play video games, go on bike rides, concerts, etc. Teens still like to have fun with their parents.

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