When my two kids became teenagers, something began to happen that was unique in my experience of parenting so far. Many other parents had warned me about how awful it could be, especially with trying to get my teens to do anything and to stop arguing with each other. I didn’t realise just how true these words would turn out to be! 

It’s not that they argued all the time, but I can remember there were a few times where I didn’t quite know what to do with their temper tantrums. I would think to myself, “Shall I ignore that behavior?”, or “Right that deserves a punishment!”

Back then I didn’t know about the DISC Behavioral Model, and had no idea that my daughter and son were too very different kids when it came to the needs, emotions and fears of their style. For those that haven’t heard of the four DISC Styles here they are:

  • D-Dominance Styles focus on tasks, like to be in control and under stress become argumentative. 
  • I-Influence Styles focus on people, like social approval and under stress become sarcastic.
  • S-Steadiness Styles focus on people, like a steady pace to their environment and under stress become submissive
  • C-Compliance Styles focus on tasks, like to  plan and analyze and under stress become withdrawn.   

Can you see now why at times I didn’t know how to relate to my kids when they were arguing and under stress? Many parents find it easier to give in to their tween or teen’s demands than getting into yet another argument. I’m an S Style so this sounds exactly like me!  We become more lenient than we’d like. This may also be particularly true for parents who didn’t like the strict way that they were raised, so they relax the rules. S styles are patient and relaxed, and will avoid conflict because they like a stable and harmonious environment. 

“As kids hit puberty, that’s when conflict within the family increases,” says Madeline Levine, Ph.D., author of Teach your Children Well. The constant door in your face, ‘I don’t want to talk about it’ and rolled eyes can be daunting.  But the exhaustion and the worry about the sudden change that comes with it is not a reason to back off on the mandatory rules. You can let some minor things slide, if you really hate conflict, but it’s crucial to your credibility as a parent to continue being tough about the things that matter. Here a couple of tips:

  1. It’s about becoming more assertive by speaking your truth with a peaceful confidence. “Pick your battles, but don’t bow out,” Levine says. “Forget about the hair color and save it for the piercing. Parents can’t afford to back down.”
  2. Develop and practice courage for becoming more determined, especially when you feel the need to just give up to keep the peace – reach beyond your comfort zone. 

Being too critical and structured

Did you experience parents who always seemed to focus on areas where you could do better rather than areas you enjoyed? Some parents, especially C Style ones, can put pressure on their kids at a young age to do better. Now I’m not saying that this is the wrong thing to do. However, it is all about balance. 

When teaching my DISCovering Me program to youth I have heard on a number of occasions statements like, “Yeah, Dad was hard on me but I know he loved me” or “Mom always expected so much of me because she loved me so much.” These statements may hold some truth, but they’re hardly the entire story. 

Now we know that loving your children leads to wanting the best for them and wanting them to succeed and be happy. By the way, this often relates to whatever happiness means to us However, it’s confusing for a child to feel hurt or stung by a constant stream of negatives about them from someone who asserts their love, (that’s us by the way) and they often grow up believing that showing love equals coming down hard on someone.

Parents, especially if they are C Styles who have high standards when performing tasks and like to be correct all the time, frequently have no idea how a steady diet of criticism will impact their kids in a negative way. When you criticize children harshly – without showing compassion and without mincing words – they feel badly and as if they are bad. They think to themselves they have disappointed you.  Their inner voice is constantly saying they should try harder. 

Also, as a parent when you are constantly criticizing your child and focusing on the negative, it can create an “I’m not good enough” belief in them, causing them to over-achieve and to have anxiety. Sometimes these demands are unfair and sometimes they are not. It’s all about balance, and knowing what DISC style your child is – the emotions and fears.  Here’s a couple of tips if you see yourself as a C style parent:

  1. Learn to develop and practice trust, for believing that all will turn out for the best without having to control things or make it happen. Stop worrying over every mistake that you or your child make. Believe in their ability to do the best they can. 
  2. Have the confidence that things will go all right, and learn to relax a little. Practice becoming more joyful and learn to appreciate the gifts that each day brings, and to see the humor in things.      

If you have found any of the tips here helpful please share my Blog with other parents that you know. And I also have a Parenting Facebook group you might like to join here where you can take my 5 Day Journey. Over the 5 days you’ll be given lots of tips and resources for developing more kind and compassionate children:   

Facebook Parenting Group

If you would like to learn more about the Four DISC Styles, or how to effectively deal with conflict check out our courses at PeopleSmart Academy here:

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