Oct 12
Parenting Corner – My Child Has a Challenging Personality

Q. My son has a very challenging personality,  and I’m worried because he doesn’t have a lot of friends. What can I do to help him?

A. Great Question! First, be specific around your definition of “challenging.” How does having a challenging personality show up for your son? How is it an issue for him? How does it serve him? The key to answering these questions is keeping in mind “him” not you. Often we parent based on our behavioral style instead of our child’s behavioral style; as a result what seems challenging for us may be totally natural for your child. After identifying your son’s “challenging” personality characteristics, consider re-framing them into character-building traits. For example, “bossy” can be re-framed as “natural leader” and “direct”, while “strong-willed” can be re-framed as “confident” and “strong-minded”. Since every personality trait at its extreme can be a detriment, once you and your son see the benefits of his personality, you open the door to discussing how it may be holding him back with friends. Ask open-ended questions like: What happens when you take a strong leadership position with your friends? How do your friends respond when you are direct? What impact does their response have on you? What could you do to get a different response? How would getting a different response help you? It is often helpful when working with kids to use specific examples of people in their life with different personalities; for example, “if you were quieter personality like Sam and someone who was very strong came up and loudly voiced their opinion how would you take it?” It’s important to give him time to answer the questions. That often means long moments of silence. Sit in the silence and allow him to lead you in the conversation. REMEMBER: Go into the conversation with curiosity. The goal is NOT to change your child’s behavior, it is to help him create an awareness and sensitivity to other people.

laughingLaura Treonze, serves as Chief Life Strategist with LMT Consulting, which helps executives and teams create massive success through self-awareness. Her life-changing approach has transformed individuals and families and has redefined the way non-profits and corporations “do” business.