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As a newspaper columnist, Nancy Devlin, Ph.D. has written over 700 articles on subjects related to education and parenting. Welcome to her Classroom!

More on Temperaments: Why Children Misbehave

Last week we talked about four general temperament types:  the Sensing Perceptive, the Sensing Judging, the Intuitive Thinking and the Intuitive Feeling types.  Using this list, LaVonne Neff in her book “One of a Kind” came up with four reasons why children misbehave.

The Sensing Perceptive need freedom:  “I won’t stand for being penned up, watched, and told what to do all the time.  I’m going to do what I want to do all the time.  I’m going to do what I want, no matter what they say.”

The Sensing Judging need security:  “I don’t know what is expected of me.  I’m going to test their limits until I find the ones that really hold.”

The Intuitive Thinking need to understand:  “Their rules do not make any sense.  Why should I pay attention to them?”

The Intuitive Feeling needs affection:  “They don’t really love me, so it doesn’t matter how I act.  Maybe if I hurt them, they will begin to pay attention to me.”

How parents discipline these different types makes a difference.  Neff describes one mother’s dilemma:  If I punished the Sensing Judging child, she changes her behavior.  With the Intuitive Thinking child, punishment does not make any difference…unless he thinks I have been unfair.  Then he turns absolutely beastly.  I don’t know how to punish the Intuitive Feeling child because she seems so wounded by the slightest reprimand that I don’t dare punish her more severely.

Parents style differ also.  Sensing Judging parents have well ordered households and expect compliance by their children.  Sensing Perceptive parents give their children more independence.  Their discipline tends to be haphazard and they see themselves as buddies to their children.  Intuitive Thinking parents try to be fair and believe in logical consequences.  They are tutors to their children.  Intuitive Feeling parents long for communication and identify with their children.  They are their children’s friends.

You do not have to have a particular temperament to discipline effectively and your children do not have to have your temperament in order to flourish.  If you are having difficulty, however, you might look at the difference in your temperaments and try discipline according to your child’s style.

Do you allow your Sensing Perceptive children enough freedom?  Do you provide security in the form of predictable expectations for your Sensing Judging children?  Do you give good explanations for what your require of your Intuitive Thinking children?  Do you Intuitive Feeling children feel loved right down to their bones?

Next week we will discuss these temperament styles according to their learning styles.

Enjoy every minute you have with your children.







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