Last November we drove to California to visit family for Thanksgiving. Although taking a road trip with a 5 month old made me a little nervous, I was really excited about having a chance to do some reading. I love to read but it had been a very long time since I had picked up a book for "pleasure". In this stage of motherhood, time often demands that I "shelf" the pleasure books. Because I love to learn new things, I typically opt to read books that will teach me something (if I can make the time to crack one open). I had several parenting books gathering sufficient dust on my bookshelf so I grabbed one for the ride, hoped it would be good and read it aloud while my husband drove. The book happened to be Different Children, Different Needs by Charles F. Boyd and I can honestly say that it has changed my outlook on my parenting.
This book starts out by clarifying what the Bible means when it commands us to "train up a child in the way he should go" (Proverbs 22:6) by explaining that the Hebrew meaning behind "the way he should go" more accurately could be described to say "according to his bent". In other words, God has created each of us with a unique bent to our personality. We will do best to understand our child's bent and parent them with that in mind. Failing to do this results in children that are raised feeling that if they could change who they are (be more assertive, more calm, more creative, more like their brother, etc) we would love/accept them more. God has created each of us with our own set of strengths, gifts, weaknesses and tendencies. This book used the popular DISC personality assessment model to helped me to not only understand the personality of my children, but to see how it is God given. It also helped Trent and I identify our personality types and understand the natural strengths and weaknesses with those personalities. Practically, this book also went into great detail providing ideas on how to tailor our parenting style to train our children according to their "bent" (even breaking down each specific parent/child personality combination). It also touched on how the differing personality types of you and your spouse can affect your marriage.
After reading this book I was able to better understand Hunter's personality (Ashlyn is still a bit too young to identify and Quinten–well ya, he is too:) and appreciate his temperament rather than try to fight or change it.
As a few examples:
-Part of Hunter's personality is to have a strong desire to lead. This can be a strength; the world needs leaders, especially good ones. Our challenge as parents is to help him recognize this God given gift and see how he can use it to help others. In addition, he needs to keep in mind that sometimes he may be tempted to lead others in a way that is inconsiderate of their desires. Knowing this about him, we can affirm his strength and help him learn how this strength can also be a weaknesses, if he is not careful. We are working to be more intentional about verbally affirming his strengths as we see them displayed. When he asks the waitress at a restaurant if he can please have more to drink we can say "Hunter, you were not worried to ask for something that you needed, that is called being assertive, good job!"
-Another aspect of Hunter's personality is his desire to do things in a systematic way. I have mentioned this in a few posts, such as the time that he wanted to run naked through the living room. Knowing how important routine is to him and how well he responds to doing things "in order" we have found ways to incorporate list making in our home. We have a list for "what do do when you get home from school", "what to do before you watch TV" and "what to do to get ready for bed". I mentioned these lists in the post "saying good night Ledeboer style" These list have worked AMAZINGLY well and it feels great finding things like this that help us to train him according to his "bent".
Since reading this book, I have mentioned this book to countless friends. Two of my friends have borrowed my copy. I asked them if they had any feedback to share on it. Here is what they said:
“Any book that helps me understand my children better is a good read. Once you figure out the personality type your child leans towards, it is fun to follow how their minds generally process things. It can be very eye opening.
It definitely helped me understand some of the frustrations in our household. Now that I understand where they are coming from (and even where I am coming from!), it makes it easier to step back and evaluate the situation correctly." Serena H.
"As a parent, I want my kids to thrive and this enlightening book has helped
me learn to encourage them according to their own God-given design. I love the
added benefit that these insights have also helped strengthen my marriage at
the same time." Meredith M.
After reading this book, I was inspired to dust off the parenting books
sitting on my bookshelf and learn some more. Each book on my "reading list" focuses on a different area of parenting. I find that it really
helps me to have something specific to be learning about and working on
as I parent. Being intentional is a good thing. I have made a goal to
read one a month this year. I have just finished Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp which focuses on the area of discipline and how to speak to the heart of your child. It has been another excellent read!
What about you? Do you have any great parenting books (preferably by a Christan author) to recommend I add to my list?