The opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine.
If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that although my children appear to be clones, they are VASTLY different in every other way. For example, when Bubby was a toddler, she was a piece of cake to contain because she just wanted to sit in one spot and play with the same toy for a half hour straight. Buckwheat, on the other hand, has been constantly getting into stuff since 2010 and never stops. That is just one example -- I could go on all day about all the ways in which these kids differ.
Lately, it has crossed my mind that I cannot raise these kids the same way -- heck, I can't even parent them similarly because their needs vary so much. And let me tell you, it can be exhausting to employ two polar parenting techniques at the same time. What if I decide to have more children? Will that child be different from the two I have? Will I have to use a third technique? I'd lose my mind!
As if on cue, a friend contacted me about reading and reviewing a book titled The Child Whisperer, written by clinical psychologist and mother Carol Tuttle. I'm always interested in others' parenting philosophies so I thought I'd give it a try. Of course, as soon as the book arrived life decided to happen -- my uncle passed away from brain cancer, we went out of town for a week to California and then I had to go to the ER for intense abdominal pain (oh yes, I suppose I didn't tell you about that). Finally, as if to force me into a much-needed break, I came down with the sickies last Thursday. I decided that was as good a time as any to start reading Carol's book.
I dove right in and I couldn't put it down. The basis of the book is that every child -- and adult, for that matter -- fits dominantly into one of four Energy Profiles which influences the way they act and feel throughout their life. The four types are Fun-Loving (Type 1), Sensitive (Type 2), Determined (Type 3) and More-Serious (Type 4). Each of the four Types has their own strengths, abilities and tendencies which need to be honored and cultivated for the child's ultimate success.
Upon reading the book, I discovered that I am a Type 4 to an absolute T. Here are some of the characteristics of Type 4's:
Yep. I'm every single one of those. It actually kind of scared me to read that list, because not only am I a Type 4, but so is Bubby. But now that I understand myself better, I know what she really needs in life -- she needs to have a little authority and responsibility. She needs to play in her room with the door shut. She needs to know what is going to happen ahead of time. Also, she NEEDS to be on time. This is why every morning when I pull up to the school to drop her off, she asks if we're late. Even though we always arrive right as the playground opens and not a minute later. Because HELLO, the driver is a Type 4!
What I like about the book is Tuttle doesn't just describe each of the four Energy Profiles and leave it at that. She asserts that a child's characteristics (though some may be interpreted by society as flaws) are gifts that must be cultivated so that the child can learn to use them to their advantage. This cultivation happens when the parent recognizes each Type's needs and gives them freely to the child instead of trying to change the child into something else.
Type 4's need:
Tuttle hopes that by clearly explaining each of the four Types and their needs, parents will be able to understand their children better and fulfill those needs, thereby creating a harmonious relationship and decreasing the need for discipline.
I absolutely loved this book. I felt like I finally GET why my kids are the way they are. (In case you were wondering, Buckwheat is a Type 3.) Even over the weekend, I had some major breakthroughs with both kids.
Yesterday evening, both of my kids were outside. It was getting dark and soon became time to come in the house, but of course they didn't want to. In the past, I would have threatened to take away Bubby's bedtime story (actually a crucial part of her routine) and probably would have chased Buckwheat down and physically dragged him inside, which is never fun. But all I really had to do to get them in was to quietly explain to Bubby she would be a good example and a leader if she showed Buckwheat it was time to come in. For Buckwheat, I only had to challenge him to race me inside (Type 3's enjoy competition and challenges). Both kids were happily inside within a minute. No fighting, no bribery, no threats, no tears. It was awesome.
I didn't necessarily agree with or understand everything in the book, but it helped me see my children from a more loving and accepting perspective. I readily identify with the idea that our children are perfect just the way we are and we don't need to "fix" them. Yes, we must teach them manners, show them the difference between right and wrong and help them succeed. But all Types can accomplish great things and can become wonderful people when their true nature is acknowledged and honored. If not, they feel hindered and are never satisfied with themselves. Tuttle says most of her clients are people who were not raised true to their nature and haven't found happiness in their lives. I fully believe it!
I wholly recommend all parents -- heck, all PEOPLE -- get this book and read it. Cover to cover. It is empowering and intuitive. One thing I despise about parenting books is they often seek to debase their readers, accusing them of "doing it wrong." I never felt that I was being chastised by Tuttle and actually got the impression that she truly wants to help others through her expertise. It was refreshing!
Today, if you purchase this book through Amazon.com, you can save $317 on some of Carole's other Child Whisperer products. Read more about this deal here.
Every parent wishes their child came with a manual. Well, they actually do, and The Child Whisperer will teach you how to read it.