What they need from you is simpler than you think.
True to their all-or-nothing nature, a Type 4 child can be the easiest child to parent—or the most difficult. If you and your child have experienced conflict, you can do some simple, powerful things to straighten things out.
In this episode, Carol and Anne share two key ways to make parenting this child easier for you, and help your Type 4 child feel loved.
This Episode’s Parenting Practice
Listen to this episode and then based on what you hear, ask yourself: How can I create more respect with my Type 4 child? By creating respectful rapport, your child will feel more supported and parenting will get easier.
Transcript of podcast episode
Carol: Welcome to The Child Whisperer Podcast. I’m your host, Carol Tuttle, author of the bestselling parenting book, The Child Whisperer. I’m with my co-host, Anne Tuttle-Brown.
The Type 4 child, in my opinion, can be the easiest child to parent or, in some parent’s worlds, the most difficult, which is true to their nature.
Anne: Black or white.
Carol: Either/or. There’s one side or the other, and they usually play out in extremes. For me, my Type 4 son was very easy. For his dad, he was probably one of his toughest children. So, we learned a lot about that. And we’re talking about getting back to basics. And this is the last in our series, looking at the Type 4 child. What’s the primary need of a Type 4 child?
Anne: Let’s go to the beginning of the Type 4 section in The Child Whisperer book where it introduces the Type 4, More Serious Child. Their primary connection to the world is intellectual. Their primary movement is straightforward and exact. And the primary need, which we’re going to be discussing today, is to be respected by their parents and family members and respect them in return.
Carol: And that’s actually a byproduct of choices that are being made, respect to something that’s developed based on how you’ve been parenting this child, what are they experiencing from you. So, you have to think of respect as a byproduct of a function and…
Anne: Respect is built all the time.
Carol: Yes, yes. And it’s something that you can support your child with on a daily basis with some simple implementations.
Anne: The first thing you want to do to create respect is to validate their opinion. This does not mean you have to agree with their opinion, but you’re giving validation.
Carol: And, actually, a Type 4 child can, if their opinion is sort of countered, dismissed, ignored, they’ll get more opinionated and they’ll get more forceful in their opinion, which will seem sort of mean, or too blunt, or too critical. But if you allow them an opinion, support them in having an opinion, you know, it doesn’t get so exaggerated.
Anne: What would be some good phrases to validate their opinion without having to go into a discussion or a debate if you don’t agree with their opinion, just to create the space for it?
Carol: “I appreciate your opinion” is a very simple one. “Thanks for sharing your opinion.”
Anne: Another thought would be to say, “I hear you,” and then repeat what they’ve said back to them.
Carol: And maybe go into it a little more as, “Well, what do you mean by that?” Or…
Anne: “How did you get to that conclusion?”
Carol: Yeah, “How did you get to that? What were your thought processes about that?”
Anne: And this is from The Child Whisperer book. One of the most important ways to achieve respect is to give your Type 4 child a voice in family rules and activities. These children need to feel like they have some say in what happens to them and the authority that is exercised over them. So, you may be thinking, “Well, my Type 4 child’s only 5, or they’re 12. Like, how can they be involved in the family rules and activities?” That’s where you give them what they can oversee and also just hear them out. Maybe their opinion or their idea really doesn’t jive. But how did they get to that? “Tell me how you got there.” And then, you can talk about it, “Oh, I can see that. Maybe we could do it this way,” so you’re making them part of the conversation. What are some areas that a Type 4 could engage when it comes to family rules and activities?
Carol: Well, let’s say they’re not being cooperative, they’re not compliant to the rules, they’re being difficult. Probably in a private setting, I’d have this conversation rather than a family conversation. I would say, “Well, what’s your opinion?” I would use the word very specifically, “What’s your opinion of our family rules?”
Anne: “They’re stupid.”
Carol: They might say that. And it’s okay, you don’t have to try and convince them. And that’s where you just listen and learn about what they think is going on. And sometimes, they’re going to be…again, if you don’t implement that they’ve been involved in setting them up and some of the side effects and consequences, they might think they’re stupid because they feel forced and they’re just being told what to do and they want to execute their sense of authority and a right to be themselves. And, again, in the book, I go on to teach that you might think they’ll be really ridiculous rules or they’ll be really lax consequences. If anything I’ve seen, they’ve actually been more strict with the rules and the consequence when they have a say.
Anne: And then, they hold themselves to it because they are the ones who created the rules. I’m thinking of my Type 1 sister. She has four boys. Her oldest two are almost, you know, entering the teenage phase, and they love their video games. And she is getting tired of saying, “No, you can’t play your video game. Have you done this yet? Have you done this yet? Because there’s an expectation of what you need to do and get done in the house before you can have screen time.”
Carol: Well, they switched to homeschooling this past year so they’re in the house more.
Carol: It’s more readily available if they’re around it. It’s like that easy next activity.
Anne: Yes. And so, she created a list of what needs to be done. She was going to talk it over with them, have them sign it, put it up on the fridge, “Now, these are the rules. That’s not Mom telling you over and over and over again. We all agreed on these. You’ve signed it.” Her oldest is a Type 4. I could see that being a very like, “I even signed it. This is a contract. I am accountable to that now. Not trying to push my mom or, you know, tell her those rules don’t work or I have different ideas.”
Carol: Did they come up with them with the kids’ help?
Anne: Yeah, the two older ones, definitely. And it was just a conversation of, “What works for you works for me.” And not everything that either one said went, but it was an opportunity to…there’s a practice that’s taught in a book that I love. That is, “How to talk to your kids? Well, listen and listen so your kids will talk.” And when you come to a disagreement, you get a piece of paper, and you draw a line down the middle, and you say, “Your ideas and my ideas,” or whatever, and you just list them all out. And at that point, it’s just the idea of…
Carol: It’s just basic communication.
Anne: Yeah. So, you’re not…
Carol: It’s like how to talk to anyone, listen to them.
Anne: Yeah, and you’re not knocking any of them down. And so, you just write everything down, and maybe the parent has, you know, some extreme ideas and maybe the kid does. But then, in the end, after everything’s written, then you go through and you circle what you really think will work. I’ve done this with my children, and there’s good ideas on both sides. And it becomes more of that trust and that unity. And then, the rules become the rules, and it’s not one person’s idea. And Type 4s really thrive with rules. And then, the expected consequences, that authority, that expectation, those boundaries really support a Type 4 in thriving and creating that respect.
Carol: What’s the primary movement of a Type 4? And remind us. Again, we’re going back to basics. So, let’s take a look at that.
Anne: The primary movement for the Type 4 is straightforward and exact, also still and reflective.
Carol: So, they’ll be…
Anne: So, you get that straightforward movement. It’s a constant.
Carol: Yes. That’s why their opinions will seem very straight forward.
Anne: Yes. And exact, yes.
Carol: And exact.
Anne: That’s why the More Serious child will be like, “Wow.”
Carol: That’s okay. You know, that’s just their manner of how they deliver. And they are really supported by giving them affirmative coaching feedback rather than correction in private settings. Remember that. Don’t correct your Type 4 child in front of others and work with him to learn how to work with their nature, their tendencies so that they have a conscious awareness to be amicable within the relationships that they’re creating.
Anne: Let’s keep this conversation going. But first, we’ve got a quick message for our listeners.
Woman: Knowing your Type and your child’s Type changes everything, doesn’t it? It helps you to understand one another better. It can help your outside too. When you wear clothes that express your Type, you feel better, you look better, and people understand you more easily, including your kids. Carol Tuttle created the Dressing Your Truth program to help you dress true to your Type and create a personal style that expresses who you really are. The best part, you can learn all the basics for free. Start loving how you look and feel at dressingyourtruth.com.
Anne: In regards to their more exact, still, reflective nature, this next tip will go a long way in creating respect. Think of yourself as a sounding board when your Type 4 child comes and talks to you. And all they need is someone to listen. No input.
Carol: A space to just put it out there, to put it…I discovered this one day in a conversation with my Type 4 son. It would’ve been in his teen years that he sought me out. We had developed a lot of respect. So, I was the go-to parent when he’d open up. Because that’s the other thing, Type 4s won’t open up to you if they don’t feel respected and that you’ll really hear them.
Anne: Yeah. So, this will come as a result of validating their opinion.
Carol: Right, right. So, he wanted to chat. And it was interesting because, for whatever reason, I defaulted to just listening. I didn’t give him any feedback, I wasn’t advising him, I wasn’t telling him how to fix it.
Anne: Maybe you were tired that day like, “Okay.”
Carol: I could’ve been. I don’t know. I just was…
Anne: “I don’t really know what to say.”
Carol: …moved to just be in the space with him and, “Yeah, okay. Yeah? You feel this?” Give him some empathy and understanding him. And then, all of a sudden, he just said, “I got it. I figured it out. I know what I need to do.” And I realized, “Oh, my gosh. He just needed to process this, sort of streamline his thoughts by hearing himself talk about it, and he was figuring it out during expressing himself.” I was fascinated by that. Of course, that’s what he would do. He just needed… he had so many thoughts going on in his head, he needed to verbalize them. And he was figuring it out during that whole process. And I say, “Do you see what you just did? You figured it out. You just needed a space to talk.”
So, now, this is common, еven today. He’s married, he’s a young man, adult. And I’ll say, “Do you need me just to listen or do you want some feedback?” I’ll give him that option. Because I want to know, “Do you want me to be the sounding board or are you looking for feedback, any guidance on this?” And that sets it up then for me to play that role that serves him in that time. It’s pretty magical. Because they aren’t people that will…it’s like, “Okay, I’m done,” you know? He was like, “I figured it out. Thanks. We’re good.”
Anne: “It’s all become clear. I see the big picture.” And I would even offer that to your Type 4 child if they aren’t opening up to you. Maybe you’ve been too chatty in the past and they’re like, “Oh, I don’t want to go through that big long thing again.”
Carol: “Oh, I don’t want them telling me what to do.”
Anne: Yeah. So, just say, “Hey, do you want to talk to me about that? Is anything troubling you? I would love to just listen. I promise, I won’t say anything.” You can say, “Uh-huh.”
Carol: Yeah, right.
Anne: “Oh, really? Okay.”
Carol: So, just create that space for them.
Anne: And I think that’d be a good practice.
Carol: And, again, the goal here is back to that primary need, to be respected by their parents and family members and respect them in return. These are the simple implementations that will create that. I know it will. I’ve seen it. I did it. It created that respect. My husband was sort of later to the party, but now he does that.
Anne: Yeah, and they have a good relationship.
Carol: They’ve shifted that relationship.
Anne: That’s your parenting practice this week, is how can you create more respect with your Type 4 child based on what we’ve shared today. What has jumped out to you and what can you do today to create that respect and rapport?
Carol: Thanks for listening. For more support, go to thechildwhisperer.com where you can purchase the book, subscribe to our weekly parenting practice email, and find a transcription and audio of “The Child Whisperer” podcast.
Anne: If you’re listening on iTunes, thank you for leaving a review. If you have a parenting question, please send it to [email protected].