I was extremely stressed. Every time I turned around there was a new emergency. This I figured, is just life as a mom. And sometimes, it’s true. Life with kids is very hard. There are dangers that our kids know nothing about that they walk into. There are dangers that our kids don’t care if they were warned about, they do it anyway. They act out, we act out, people have accidents, life with kids can be crazy. I wanted to get the stress in my life under control. Part of that, had to do with my children.
This is what lead me to the book, “The Child Whisperer.” My type 4 oldest son and I clashed on a daily, sometimes minute by minute basis. He was getting violent. We were always angry. No discipline was working and I was ready to commit him or me. After 6 months of considering this book, looking over reviews, contemplating the price, praying about whether this is something I thought would benefit me, I went for it.
I did not read this book straight through; it’s pretty big and covers a lot of material. I already knew and loved learning about energy profiling. I also knew that we usually have a Dominant personality and a Secondary right up there with it. I went straight for the one that sounded like my son: Type 4 Serious Type. And I couldn’t stop reading it. With my normal responsibilities, it probably took me a a few days. But then I went through it again, took notes, asked my son questions about it, and started to understand. As I’ve been seeking more to understand him, our relationship has gotten much better. He has been seeking to understand his other siblings, (I have one child of each type) and learning to get along with them. He acts out less and is more confident. I am way less frustrated and less stressed. So, I wanted to express some things that I have learned about my Type 4.
#1 Type 4’s need their own private space. Sharing a room with his complete opposite Type 1 brother, there was extreme conflict constantly. My Type 4 was constantly asking for his own room. He even opted to sleep in the unfinished basement just to have his own space. Before reading “The Child Whisperer” I had just said, “Too bad. Learn to get along with everyone.” He in turn would threaten his younger brother from entering the room at all and claim it all for himself. This was a constant daily battle. After reading the book and talking to him about it, I suggested we make a little cubby for him in a corner of their room. He agreed. In fact, even after just talking to him about it, he set forth in creating it. Now, yes, the other children were jealous and we’ve had to set forth discipline if they enter his area without permission, even make areas for them, too, but it has been a BIG stress reliever in our home.
#2 It’s okay not to smile. A friend of mine was telling me about a party she had thrown. She said she was shocked when a young man (around 8yrs) with a serious expression on his face said, “This is the best party I have ever been to!” She told me that she wasn’t sure she believed him. I assured her that he was probably a Type 4 and to take him at his word.
My son constantly walks around with a scowl on his face. I used to get frustrated when he wouldn’t “smile” for pictures. It takes a while for Type 4s to process emotions and expecting my son to be “happy” like the other kids was actually preventing him from being able to do so. I cannot make him be different than he is and trying to do so was telling him that it’s not okay to be who God created him to be.
#3 Say exactly what you mean and stick to it. My Type 4 would get upset at me because I said “No” to something. He would be so upset that he would leave the room. While he was calming down, I was considering how important it was to either of us and tried to come up with different plans. He would come back and I would offer other suggestions to try and make him happy. (part of my Type 1 Secondary) He would become angry that I had “changed my mind.” I have since learned to ask for time to think about a decision first, stick to that decision, and allow him to be mad about it. In doing this, he doesn’t get upset about my decisions as often in the first place, and if he does, he gets over it quicker.
#4 Do not publicly humiliate a Type 4. In our home, we have 4 kids that I Homeschool. In Disciplining, we would talk about the issue and even follow through on discipline methods in front of all the kids. This was devastating to my Type 4 son. He felt like I was shaming him in front of the world. I have since learned to take him aside to talk about the issue at hand. This has promoted him to ask to talk to me privately about other issues. My husband, amazed one night, replied, “I hope this continues on and that he never stops talking to us.” I agree!
It is even harder, though, to teach the other children not to make a big scene about it. “Mom! He did this to me!” being shouted from the other room makes my Type 4 son feel 3cm tall. In fact, I recently heard this comment, “They just want me to look bad.” I do not want him to think that his own family is against him, and that is something that I try to work on.
#5 Type 4’s do not enjoy surprises. Some of you who are Type 4’s may disagree with this one. If that is so, your Secondary may be a Type 1 who loves surprises and doesn’t mind change. This is not the case in my Type 4. When my son wakes up in the morning, he already has a plan of what he is going to do for the day. If I wake up and talk to him about what my plans are for the day, he may get very upset.
One Saturday morning, he said, “So, when are we going shopping?” We go grocery shopping most Saturdays, but this particular one, we didn’t need to. After saying so, he ran off upset. While talking to him later, he said that he was angry because he had wanted to look at some superheroes and had planned it the night before in his head. He felt that he would never get to look at superheroes because we don’t usually go out shopping any day but Saturday. My husband decided to take him to a shop that day that just sold superheroes.
Type 4’s need to know in advance (at least the night before) what the plans are because their whole day is usually all planned when they wake up. I also warn my Type 4 son before any other child when we have 5 minutes before we are going to leave.
#6 Time is very important to Type 4s. While dating my Type 4 husband, he used to feel very disrespected because I was always 10 minutes late. If I tell my son that I’ll work with him in 5 minutes, he will come looking for me in exactly 5 minutes! It’s not that he is trying to be rude, but that he feels a literal commitment. Again, back to “if you say it, mean it.”
Also, “We should do that sometime.” means today or tomorrow. My son recently talked to his grandparents about how he wanted to sleep over. After hearing, “Yes, we should do that sometime,” my son took that to mean, “Tonight.” He was very upset and said he felt “lied to” when he found out that’s not what was meant.
We have since learned to phrase it as, “We’ll check our schedules and get back to you in a few days.” If we don’t get back soon, he feels betrayed and unloved by that lack of action. Again, it is also okay to say, “No, not right now” or “I’m not sure. I’ll get back to you in a few minutes” or “tomorrow” to a Type 4 even if they get mad about it. They get over a “no” a lot faster than “sometime.” But get back in the time that you said.
#7 Type 4’s have an keen eye for imperfection even in themselves. My Type 4 son can walk into a room and notice whatever has been changed or whatever is out of place within seconds. My parents recently got a new side table. Within seconds of walking in the door, my son said, “You got a new table?” This has often been an issue when he points out individual things he feels are wrong in his siblings. It will often come back to him instantly. “Well, this is wrong with you.” This can be a big ouch moment. It has helped to talk to him about the way things are said. It has helped even more to allow him to use that keen eye in other things.
My dad was building a deck in the back of his house. He asked my Type 4 son, who was 5yrs, “Where do you think the best place for stairs would be.” My dad was shocked when my son had a better idea. My Type 4 son even took the time to draw a picture of the best place to put the stairs.
Often when we have had times where my husband and I would get upset with our son and would talk to him later, we would find he was talking very critically and unhealthy about himself. This has been the biggest reason for changing the way we talk to him. He may seem tough because he is blunt, but words hurt him deeply. He does not take being picked on lightly. And if he is not allowed an outlet for his gift of a keen eye, he will turn inward and pick on himself.
#8 Do not take away things that are important to Type 4s. A big issue for Type 4s is being respected. Because I am a Type 2, I also have a big issue with that and we clash greatly on what that means. I felt that since my son wasn’t being respectful, I needed to take away things that were important to him to get his attention including big planned events, pets, and favorite toys. This was being disrespectful to him causing more disrespect in return. It was not worth the devastation to both parties.
This can be completely different if it is a decided consequence for everyone. For example: You are throwing your toy, so I need to put it up for a while. (See: Discipline vs. Punishment) And if all parties are in agreement that it’s not worth the consequence, it’s okay to change your mind.
#9 Type 4s love to play with toys even though they are mature in many other areas. When my son was little, his favorite thing to play with was “Cars movie” cars. He would collect them, line them up, and eventually play pretend with them. Recently, I found him playing pretend with them and I was shocked. I thought he was “too old” for that.
My husband is also a Type 4 who collects toys of his favorite movies. Recently, I saw them playing superheroes together and I started laughing. He smiled and said, “What? It’s amazing how the right toy can make you feel young again.”
#10 Being introverted does not mean that Type 4s don’t have friends. When my son was little, it really concerned me that he did not want to play with other children. Now, at the time, he was an only child. He also did not trust other kids. There was no way that I could get my son to go into nursery at church, join in the library singing time, or play on the playground with other kids. He would grab onto the door and fight for his life. He would cry and scream. We would sit and stare at the door together for two hours. There was no way I could get him to get along with other kids. His aunt began teaching his class when he was 4yrs and he trusted her and began to adjust.
The thing is, he is right. Little kids are unknowingly mean and he didn’t want any part of that. He simply didn’t trust them. When he was 7yrs old (and after a couple siblings had arrived), there was a family that moved into the area that we both connected with and trusted. They were Home-schooled, as well, honest, funny, and yet sensitive. My Type 4 son felt understood by this family and trusted them. He has since felt the same about another family. My Type 4 son knew exactly what he wanted in a friend and I trust his judgement on that. He can get along with many people, but he doesn’t feel the need to be close to those he doesn’t trust. And that’s okay.
So, while in the past, I have probably seen the worst in my son in these things, I understand, now because of The Child Whisperer, that he has many gifts. I am still learning from my Type 4 son and sometimes still revert to old behaviors, but I am grateful that I have learned so much in the past 6 months on how to respect my Type 4 son. This has also helped me to understand other Type 4 people in my life where I may have felt judged by certain comments, upset when they shut me out, or confused when I tried to change to make someone feel better. So, if you’re having trouble with a Type 4 in your relationship, Be Patient, Be Honest, and Keep Trying!
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