Parents often report how the removal of items and privileges actually makes their children's behaviours worse. They admitted to knowing this, but chose to do it anyway as they didn't know what else to do.

Parents are tired of yelling, tired of disciplining, they are exhausted and overwhelmed. Many of today’s parents are using bogus threats, discipline tricks and shaming techniques to try and modify behaviour in the hope that it will magically change.

Enforcing adult imposed consequences never fixes the underlying problem that was driving the behaviour in the first place, and really only serves to create a me-against-you feeling which erodes the adult/child relationship causing more misbehavior.

When you say to a child:

“Whatever it is that you are attached to, whatever you love (your iPad, time with friends, treats) I will take that away from you when you are not good."

It becomes a me-against-you game, a deeply entrenched power struggle, rather than an effective parenting tool. It results in dysfunctional behaviour due to the child’s emotion's being stirred-up at losing the favoured item. "I hate you" and "I don't even care" are some of the responses you might get, while other children turn inward and feel a huge sense of shame for not meeting your expectation.

Pam Leo from Connection Parenting says it straight, 'you can not make a child behave better by making them feel worse; when children feel better they behave better.'

So, how do you make children feel better?

This is accomplished through understanding who they are. Without an understanding of their Nature, you wont be able to make them feel better, which is simply done by affirming their strengths which in turn boosts their self-esteem.

Find your child's nature here.

Here are some examples of the strengths of each Nature and what you can say to affirm these strengths:

Social: Making someone smile - "you bring so much joy to our family"

Strong: Accomplishments and getting a result - "you are so good at getting things done"

Sensitive: Caring for others whether it's humans or animals - "you are always looking out for others"

Structured: Producing quality, improving something - "you work hard to make sure things are just right"

Positive reinforcement of who they are creates more of what you want.

A common statement I hear from parents is, “My kids are so different, it makes no sense! They share the same genes, environment, routines and parents! What makes them so different?”

My answer in one word: Nature.

Each child has a unique Nature, an innate temperament that can be observed through their:



Expression, and

Thought Processes.

The key to understanding your child, why he behaves the way he does and what he needs, is his Nature.

I have helped many families who were scratching their heads, wondering why one child was acting out and the other seemed to be following instructions just fine. I explained that a harmonious balance occurs when the Nature of the child is recognised and supported. That is, when the environment provided supports the nature of the child they become happier and more cooperative, almost instantly!

This information can be used as a tool for Parents, Nannies and other caregivers to:

1: Create a match between the environment and the child's nature,

2: Raise the level of self-esteem in children and teenagers, and

3: Strengthen the bond and relationship with their child.

The terms I use to classify the four Natures are: Social, Strong, Sensitive and Structured.

The first two are High movement:

The Social Nature is playful, upwardly buoyant in movement, fun-loving, random, cheeky and creative.

The Strong Nature is active, forward and swift in movement, reactive, determined and competitive.

The other two are Low movement:

The Sensitive Nature is nurturing, downward flowing in movement, caring, intuitive, and peaceful.

The Structured Nature is thinking, Still or Stepping-back in movement, literal, perfecting and serious.

Children (and adults) have the ability to express all four of the Natures listed above, however they tend to lead with one dominant Nature, supported by a secondary Nature.

The first step in understanding which of the four Natures your child leads with is to sit back and observe.

Parenting requires continuous observation and reflection. Seeing your children, with this information in mind, will help you to see who they really are and what motivates them. If you can imagine putting on a different pair of lenses, a pair that helps you to see through the behaviour, through the circumstances and see things from a child's point of view, you will start to see that their tendencies and preferences are not wrong, they are part of who they are.

Your children are sending you messages all the time, clues about who they are and what they need. The problem is, if you don't stop and observe, you cannot decode these messages.

For Example: That Strong Natured child of yours, the one that won't take no for an answer, is showing you his gift for negotiation and persistence, and may someday be the CEO of a successful company. Of course, you should not give in to his every want, but that idea and even that whim is a very valid feeling. That feeling needs to be validated lets him know you hear him, you understand, but your firm and consistent response, will send him the message that you are in control and he is safe.

You could say:

“Wow, I can see you really want to do that. I know, it's hard when we really want something right now”.

With information on each of the four different Natures, you can create an environment that Nurtures their Nature. In turn, you will see happiness and cooperation.

Which Natures do you have in your home?

How can you identify a child’s dominant nature?

Look at their movement and expressions.

Do they normally express high and loud movement (Social and Strong) or low and quiet movement (Sensitive and Structured)?

If you’re not sure which nature best describes your child, they may be experiencing one of the following scenarios:

a) They could be living in their second nature

This happens when it’s not safe to be in their primary nature. An unsafe feeling can arise for children when they get the message that who they truly are is not recognised, valued, and appreciated. So, they feel safer being someone else. Many adults are still living in their second nature.

b) They could have been moulded into a different nature

This can happen if a child lives in an environment where another nature is dominant. For example, a Social child living with Structured parents may begin to behave in a structured way from a desire to make the parents happy.

c) They could be acting all the natures out

This means they are most likely a Social nature. Social children have the ability to jump into the role of a different character easily. That’s why Socials make great actors! They often think that being like others makes them fit in when really, they were born to stand out.

If you would like help decoding your child's Nature, send photos and a description to



Helping Families Solve Problems

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