Have you ever noticed that your child is unique, unlike any other child you’ve ever known?
Yes. Obviously. Of course.
Beyond knowing that very basic fact, though, there’s another level that perhaps you haven’t considered, consciously anyway. You may have a sense of it – that your child has a nature that is innate, and pretty much unchangeable. Well, you’re right!
Every child – every person – expresses a particular theme in their life. You can think of this as their temperament, their Energy Type, (in the system created by Carol Tuttle), their way of interacting with the world. A child’s theme is NOT the same as their personality, which is complex, shaped by many factors and beyond the scope of this discussion.
In Energy Profiling ™ each person is born embodying a particular Energy Type. It’s how they meet and move through the world. I’ve found this system very helpful in understanding and working with children and families.
According to this system, each of us expresses one of four Energy Types, with a secondary Energy Type that also influences the individual. What’s most important, though, is the primary Energy Type, as it determines a lot of your child’s behavior. It can also explain when your child’s behavior puzzles or confuses you, which is where the helpfulness comes in.
The better you can understand your child’s behavior and underlying motivation, the less frustrated and confused you will be – and the better you can guide and teach them! If you’re like I was as a parent of young children, less frustration and confusion is a godsend!
Very – very – briefly, the characteristics of the Four Energy Types in Energy Profiling ™ are
- Fun loving
- Bouncy with random movement
- Subtle and thoughtful movement
- Single-minded with their goals
- Active and determined
- Inward focused in where they find authority
- Straightforward and exact
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to understand and accept your child for the person they are, even if they do things differently than you do, even if what they do sometimes makes ‘no sense.’
For example, a child who is expressing Type 4 Energy might be:
- methodical and wanting the routines of the day to go a certain way – and no other
- resistant to the way you want them to do things because they already know the ‘right way’
- happy playing and doing things on their own
Knowing more about what a Type 4 child responds best to would be very helpful when you’re figuring out how to help them understand and roll with the days when things don’t go according to plan. It helps to understand that they look for their authority within themselves, rather than to you.
A Type 4 child may explain to you (often) how you’re wrong and they are right. While this can be irritating at times, it does help to anticipate it. As a result, you can talk with them in a truly teaching frame of mind, rather than a “I’m right because I’m the adult, and you’re wrong because you’re the child” frame of mind.
It also helps when you need them to understand and follow your guidance, even though it’s not what they think should happen.
When you understand your child’s primary Energy Type ™ you can plan for potential problems you’re likely to have.
When you have a child with a highly physical connection to the world, you’ll know that placing them in a situation where a lot of sitting and listening is expected will be challenging for them.
You won’t be upset with them just because it’s difficult for them to sit still for very long. You’ll plan for and help them manage that situation by one (or all) of the following:
- engaging them in very physical activity before and after the situation
- having them plan with you, if they’re able
- teaching them strategies to deal with situations when they must sit and attend
- and many other strategies – you may need a lot!
You teach and guide them by accepting their nature and working with it. You not only accept their nature, you appreciate it and thank the heavens for it.
“To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow – this is a human offering that can border on the miraculous.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage
Gilbert was speaking about marriage, but it applies equally to the relationship with your children.
In the bad old days – and too often nowadays – we were taught that all children had to conform to a particular set of behaviors, and that if they didn’t (not couldn’t) there was something wrong with them. They were punished for behaving in any other way.
- Quiet, cautious children were called ‘scaredy cats,’ and babies.
- Forward-moving, busy children were called ‘bossy,’ and ‘hyper.’
- Fun-loving, bouncy children were called ‘space cadets,’ and flighty.
- Serious, inward-looking children were called ‘know-it-alls’ and stubborn.
Does accepting your children as they are mean you let them do whatever they want to do?
- Do you let the busy child wreck the house?
- Do you let the fun-loving child avoid all unpleasant chores?
- Do you let the cautious child stay home all day, never having to attempt anything new?
- Do you let the serious child dictate how all routines proceed because they think they know what’s best?
In a word, NO.
You love your child because of who they are, every atom of them.
You do your best not to make them think that who they are is not okay.
you teach them how to get along with other people,
how to live with people different from them,
how to show people that they love them, and
how to be part of a community.
Energy Profiling ™ makes this easier and it helps you tailor your teaching and guidance to each of your children. What works for one won’t work for another.
What a gift this is – to know that you don’t have to treat all your children in the exact same way, because that isn’t best for them.
When I was teaching in the classroom, Energy Profiling ™ helped explain so much – and it gave me insight into what each student needed during the moments that were hard.
- Some children needed extra fun to get through a difficult chore
- Some children needed frequent breaks to expend energy
- Some children needed extra time to move from one activity to another
- Some children needed to be heard and listened to when they had something important to say
Wouldn’t you love to have a tool like Energy Profiling ™ to help you understand and guide your children?
I’ve read and re-read The Child Whisperer, by Carol Tuttle, where she lays out the whole Energy Profiling ™ system. I highly recommend you do the same, if you want to gain insight into why your child does the things they do.
This book is a big part of my toolbox when I’m working with moms and their children. I’m so glad to be able to have it!
Now it’s your turn –
What challenge are you experiencing with your child?
Do you have any clues into your child’s Energy Type?
How do you think this system could help you with your child?