As a parent, it’s natural to sometimes feel disconnected from your kids. As kids grow up, they grow into being their own person--- They make their own decisions, set their own goals, and develop their own distinct personalities. A child at age 4 can sometimes seem like an entirely different person when he or she turns 14. Not that that the changes in a growing child are for the worse—It’s simply difficult to adjust to the changes in the relationship you had with them when they were younger. But rather than mourn the dynamics of the relationship you had with your child when they were small, you might instead try reinventing that relationship.
Here are 5 ways DISC can help you reinvent and recharge your relationship with your child.
1) Appreciate your children for who they are, not for who you want them to be.
Parents that have the same personality type as their child have an advantage when it comes to building a relationship— When you share a common personality type, it’s easier to understand where your child is coming from, how they think, and how they feel. Conflict is still possible, of course, especially if you and your child both share dominant D personality styles. But, as a whole, understanding comes easier when you share common traits. For those of us that don’t share a personality style with our kids, it takes a little more work to be able to see eye-to-eye. When you have a working knowledge of DISC theory, you understand that if you have an I personality, you might be frustrated with the fact that your child is shy or softspoken. Or, if you have a C personality, the lack of organizational skills your child possesses might drive you crazy. Remember that through sheer force of will, you can’t change the nature of your child’s personality. Work with their style, rather than against it, Appreciate the fact that differences in personality require different approaches, and be willing to adapt as necessary.
2) Remove emotional roadblocks that make it difficult for you to talk to your child.
There are bound to be times when your child drives you crazy. That’s ok—They probably feel the same way about you. DISC promotes interpersonal empathy that can diffuse anger, resentment, and petty annoyances. Sitting down with your child to talk about DISC personality styles can be an eye-opening experience for both of you. When you both understand that differences are based on innate personality traits, it’s much more difficult to feel anger towards the other person. Realizing that someone’s behavior comes from an instinctual place can help prevent negative emotional reactions to them. Better still, when you are familiar with the ways that different personality styles best communicate with one another, you’ll be able to make your conversations more productive, open, and effective. And to avoid any potential difficulties, when talking with your child, remember:
- D likes to be in charge
- I needs to be liked
- S needs stability
- C hates confrontation
Whether those traits apply to you or your child, you can find a way to recognize where your emotional reactions are coming from, and move past them in a positive and loving manner.
3) Be appreciative of your child’s strengths.
There are dirty dishes in the sink, and clothes strewn all around the bedroom. None of the chores are done, and you child seems glued to his phone. Yes, there are going to be things that frustrate you. But don’t let them get in the way of also seeing what’s amazing about your child. Look at their DISC personality style closely, and you’ll see that every personality type has amazing and admirable traits. Tell your child that you see those traits, too, and not just the dirty socks on the floor.
4) Give the right kind of advice.
Here are a few examples of advice that, unless delivered with great patience and explanation, will fall on deaf ears:
- Telling a child with a D personality to stop being so bossy.
- Telling a child with an I personality to stop talking so much.
- Telling a child with an S personality to stop being so stuck in their routine.
- Telling a child with a C personality to stop worrying.
Make sure that any advice you give your child is compatible their personality style. Finding the right way to frame the right kind of advice can be crucial, too. For example, S and C personalities require a more gentle (and less confrontational) approach than D and I personalities can tolerate.
5) Find activities you can enjoy together.
It’s important to find ways to spend time with your child. Shared activities are a must. The best way to go about this is to think about your child’s personality, and suggest an activity that they will enjoy. A few suggestions include: A D-style child might enjoy playing a competitive game. I-style children would like to spend time doing something fun and social with you. Establish a family tradition for S-style children (movie night? Taco Tuesdays?) Plan an outing to the museum for your C-style child. Don’t force your child to do things that only you enjoy, and then leave the activity feeling frustrated that they didn’t get as excited about it as you did. Always take their personality style into consideration when planning for the time you spend together.
In the end, the most important thing to remember is that all personality types have value. There isn’t one that’s “better” than the other. A DISC assessment can help create awareness of the strengths that different personality styles possess. Whether that means giving your child a copy of your DISC profile or asking them to complete one of their own, you can completely change the dynamics of your relationship for the better.