When your child is unsettled and uncooperative, they might be in an environment that clashes with their true nature.
Research shows children fall into four main natures: Social, Strong, Sensitive or Structured.
Just like adults, when children are in an environment that’s well suited to their nature, they thrive. But, when they’re in an environment that clashes with their nature, they struggle.
One of the most effective ways to create harmony in the home is to understand your child’s true nature. That way, you can create an environment where they feel safe, supported, and heard (even if their nature is different from yours or their siblings).
The Four Natures: Social, Strong, Sensitive, and Structured
How can you identify a child’s dominant nature? Look at their movement and expressions. Do they normally express high and loud movement or low and quiet movement?
Upwardly buoyant in movement.
Fun-loving, random, playful, cheeky, and creative.
Always on the lookout for fun.
Expressions move upwards.
Disagreeing, demanding, and angry when upset.
May appear flighty, aloof, distracted, and restless when unsettled.
Forward and quick in movement.
Reactive, determined, and competitive.
They are always on the lookout for action or to get a reaction.
Expressions move forwards.
Attacking, growly, pushing, and reactive when upset.
May appear aggressive, insensitive, and egocentric when unsettled.
Downward flowing in movement.
Caring, quiet, intuitive, and peaceful.
They are always on the lookout to keep others comfortable.
Expressions move downwards.
Whining, nagging, and fretful when upset.
May appear hypersensitive, anxious, overwhelmed, and timid when unsettled.
Still or structured in movement.
Observing first. Very literal, perfecting, intellectual, and serious.
They are always seeking information, asking questions and analysing situations.
Expressions are still and serious.
Critical, disapproving, and judgemental when upset.
May appear pessimistic, anxious, stubborn, and indecisive when unsettled.
With all that in mind, let’s look at the perfect environments for each nature.
1. Supporting a Social nature
A Social child acts out when isolated from people and positive interactions, if required to sit for too long, or if there is conflict.
Common triggers for social children:
Too much screen time
Not enough movement, fun or social time
Criticism delivered in a heavy way
Classroom structure too competitive or isolating
Tension between parents
A highly structured routine
Supernanny suggests: Have some fun! Take time to laugh together, and you will see their behaviour change. When requiring their cooperation, joyfully remind them of the task at hand and the standard of behaviour you expect. Remind them there is plenty of time for fun and games later.
2. Supporting a Strong nature
A Strong child acts out if an environment is too restricting or they haven’t had enough physical activity. If they do not feel challenged in their day-to-day activities, they will challenge their siblings or parents.
Common triggers for Strong children:
Too much screen time and not enough physical movement
Feeling unchallenged at school
Not having opportunities to be in charge or lead others
Feeling stopped, stifled or boxed in
Supernanny suggests: Give a Strong child control over as many things in their world as possible. Ensure they are always challenged. Make daily chores and transitions a competition to get them engaged. For example, race them to the dinner table or challenge them on who can pick up the most toys the fastest.
3. Supporting a Sensitive child
A Sensitive child appears whiny or tearful when they are uncomfortable or their environment is too overwhelming. They also feel deep concern for others. Their big feelings can take over and show up as anxiety.
Common triggers for Sensitive children:
Too much screen time and not enough personal connection with loved ones
Feeling unheard and invisible
Tension between parents
Not having information about their routine
Feeling rushed or pushed into things
Supernanny suggests: Provide a safe space where the Sensitive child can regroup and process their emotions. Touch is very important, as is information about what’s happening – next week and next month. A weekly visual planner will instantly put them at ease.
4. Supporting a Structured child
A Structured child either becomes withdrawn or bold and snappy when they do not feel respected as their own authority. They like to be trusted to take care of things that relate to them. Socialising will burn them out if they do not balance it with alone time. They have high internal standards and feelings of incompetence can lead to anxious and depressive thought patterns.
Common triggers for Structured children:
Too much screen time, not enough time alone with thoughts
Feeling disrespected and misunderstood
Controlling parents or authoritative figures
Not having anything to perfect or improve
Feeling embarrassed or put on the spot
Supernanny suggests: Respect the Structured nature for the wise old soul they innately are. Take them seriously and support their intellectual mind by answering their questions and ensuring information about the world is available to them.