As a parent, you are facing a unique set of challenges during this pandemic. You might be working from home or concerned about having reduced hours to support your family. You might be struggling to keep your kids engaged with virtual learning. Your kids might be extra restless due to their extracurriculars being virtual or suspended entirely. If you have multiple children, you might be finding that each of your kids is handling the pandemic restrictions differently. This is completely normal – kids have different personality profiles or temperaments that show up in how they uniquely handle challenges or stress.
Some kids are pleasing types – they are most focused on relationships, how others view them, and earning approval and praise. These kids might strive to please through achievement or helping others. This might be nice at first, until you get slightly annoyed by your child’s constant need for approval. They are highly sensitive to rejection, other people’s anger, or a loss of a relationship. During the pandemic, these kids might really be struggling with not being able to see their friends and receiving positive affirmation from their teachers or coaches. Pleasing kids are friendly, thoughtful, rule-following, and responsible.
How to support a pleaser? Help your child know that their needs matter and that you value and love them apart from their achievements.
Some kids are comfort types – they avoid taking risks, being challenged or stretched, and prefer things to be low stress and predictable. These are the kids that aren’t as productive and test your patience. Their strengths are that they are easy going, have few demands, mind their own business, are predictable, and get along with others. Comfort kids avoid stress, expectations, and responsibility. Right now, these kids may like the comfort of being able to stay home, but are having a really hard time getting anything done.
How can you help a comfort kid? Affirm their strengths while supporting them in trying new things and taking on small responsibilities at home. Let them know it’s normal to get scared of something new or not feel totally confident. You might even share a time you felt that way to build connection with them.
Control kids like to be in charge of themselves and others. As a parent, you might notice you feel challenged, tense, or irritated by this. These kids might struggle to have a lot of friends while also wanting greater intimacy. They are easily stressed due to their constant need to control themselves, others, and situations. Control kids have a lot of strengths, too: they make great leaders, are organized, productive, assertive, and handle responsibility well.
To support a control kid, encourage them that it’s okay to be spontaneous, have fun, and use their creativity.
Superiority kids need to be the best in comparison to others. They always want to be more competent, more right, more helpful, and better than others. The struggle for superiority kids is the constant internal question, “Have I done enough yet?” These are the perfectionists, the straight-A kids, the idealists. These kids loathe meaningless activities or feeling average. Parents of superiority kids might love that these kids do so well in school, but struggle with how overwhelmed they often feel.
Support your kid by valuing them apart from their achievements. Pay attention to them at times when they weren’t the best, made a mistake, or got it wrong. Show your superiority kid that you notice them when they are not being perfect.
If you are needing support with parenting or find that your kid is really struggling, one of our therapists would be eager to come alongside you, your child, or your family. You don’t have to face this season alone. Give us a call today!
Written by therapist Jessica Olson
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