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Children and Families

Q: Why does a child insist on doing things his own way? Is it a stubborn streak that needs breaking?

A: Everyone — children and adults alike — take action by using their conative abilities, their conative MO.
When a child naturally insists on a given method of operation there can be a terrific tug of war if a parent, teacher, playmate or circumstance doesn’t allow things to happen that way.
To find out which conative talents a youngster will insist on using, that child can complete the Kolbe Y™ Index (which is suitable for youngsters up to 17, with a minimum reading level of fourth grade)
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Q: All our child wants to do is work with his hands. Since he's bright, shouldn't we encourage more reading and less playing around?

A: It seems you are putting a value judgment on certain kinds of work over others. Just because a child is bright doesn't mean they should be reading more or doing any other particular activity. Intelligence is very different from instinctive method of operation. Instincts are talents. A very bright child could have a talent for art and no talent at all for the detail involved in science.
The combination of instinctive strengths helps determine the appropriate kinds of activities for the child. Our cognitive needs require that we all learn basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic. How we apply that knowledge, whether it is as a Carpenter or a Nuclear physicist, will depend more on areas of interest and instinctive strengths rather than intelligence. That's one reason why it is so hard to assume because a father does something a son will do it the same way, or a career path for one sibling will be appropriate to the other. Individual differences within a family will be as great as they would be within any randomly selected group.
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Q: What's the easiest way to get a youngster to do what you want him or her to do?

A: The best way to get kids to do what you want them to do is to let them do it their way! Too often we not only tell the child what to do, but also how to do it. If you ask a child who is naturally unstructured and does things in a disorderly way to clean up his room at a specific time and to put things in a particular place, you may get rebellion. Ask the same kid to make a commitment to getting his room in a respectable — and clean-shape before friends arrive and you may have better results.
Knowing a child's nature helps you tap into those patterns of behavior that keeps battles over getting things done to a minimum. Of course, there are times when kids simply test the limits, so this is not a total solution, just a big help!
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Q: Why is my child such a neatnik?

A: Too much has been made of emotional situations influencing the way people act. While there may be some truth that certain kinds of training influences actions, for the most part how you do things is inborn or instinctive behavior. A natural neatnik needs structure, systems, and closure.
These needs are best fulfilled when things around them are orderly. They are able to accomplish more and have a greater sense of controlling their environment when they can put things "just so." There should be neither a positive nor a negative judgment given to this attribute since there are ways to meet visual and health standards with out conformative routines, yet such orderliness is in and of itself not an indication of negative behavior.
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Q: What can I do about a child who is just plain lazy?

A: There is no such thing as a lazy person! People do procrastinate, which usually happens when they are being forced to act against their grain. Lazy implies a lack of energy and use of talent.
What appears as laziness is probably the use of energy to avoid doing something required by another. Think of how much energy it takes to hide from a problem or disappear just when it is time to do the dishes. Coming up with a multitude of excuses for not doing your homework could take more creativity than to have done it in the first place.
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Q: What can the Kolbe Y™ Index tell me about my child that I don't already know?

A: The Kolbe Y™ Index result is a self portrait. Your child will get a reflection of his or herself that provides terminology to describe strengths, but ought not to have many surprises. The process is one of validating what an individual already knows about how they do things.
For others, even parents, the Kolbe Index can be quite a discovery process. Often we read things into another's behavior that may or may not be reality including stereotypes such as "she's a sweet child and always picks up after herself" as forecasting that she's a Follow Thru initiating person who thrives with a lot of structure. Girls are too often assumed to be the neat tidy gender whereas in fact there are as many Follow Thru dominant males as females.
What you will find out is how your youngster will, won't, and is willing to take action when given the freedom to be his or herself. Then it is up to you to provide an environment that nurtures these attributes without allowing them to become cop-outs for lack of performance.
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Q: Is there a particular age when you can identify a child's striving instincts?

A: Trained Kolbe experts have been able to identify a child's striving instincts in general terms at around 6 months. These hunches however, cannot be confirmed until the youngster is able to complete the Kolbe Y™ Index. This youth version of the Kolbe Index has a vocabulary or reading level of about 4th grade.
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Q: Having a six month old daughter, I'm very interested in what you have learned about recognizing a child's conative abilities early on and what we can do as parents to not stifle or bias that advantage.

A: I'm so glad you are concerned about this. I consider it the most vital part of my work. If we can influence parents and teachers so that they nurture each child's individual strengths, then we will increase self-esteem, and improve self confidence. That will reduce stress and the cause of many problems including drug use. I hope I'm not just dreaming when I say that I think the impact of understanding a child's instinctive nature is a direct line to that child's well-being — and that we now have some of the tools to help. I hope to spend a large part of my personal energy on developing additional materials to help parents with this vital aspect of parenting — and will certainly let you know the moment I have more available.
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Q: As parents, we want to make sure we give our child every opportunity to succeed. Can Kolbe help us?

A: Absolutely. If your child reads at a 4th grade level or above, have him or her take the Kolbe Y™ Index in order to get useful information about how to succeed in school, in play, and in general communication with others. The earlier we identify and learn to target our creative energies, the greater the likelihood that we'll have the success experiences that foster and maintain high self-esteem.
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Q: My daughter's room almost always looks like a tornado blew through it, while my son's room is almost never cluttered. Both kids are required to clean their rooms before they can do things on the weekend. How could they be so different?

A: So far, Kolbe researchers have not found patterns within biological families to suggest a genetic predisposition for problem-solving methods. Even so, just as your daughter may be blue-eyed and your son brown-eyed, each of us is unique in how we naturally approach tasks. Your son may instinctively manage the cleaning of his room in a systematic way, picking up as he goes, while your daughter will wait until Saturday morning and do her cleaning all at one time.
You may need to reassess your expectations and compare them to how your children naturally do things. Have your kids complete the Kolbe Y™ Index, then sit down and take the Kolbe R™ Index on your child's role. Results of these Indexes will offer insight and techniques for getting most of what you want while giving your son and daughter the freedom to do things their own way.
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Q: My sister and I are adults now and I can't figure out why we still bicker like when we were kids. I wish we could get along better, but it seems impossible, she is always been the one who gets good grades, all the praise and has a real job. I'm the stay-at-home mom who gardens and sews — we don't have much in common.

A: Your sister's natural talent may be in Fact Finder initiation which is most valued and rewarded in an academic setting. That doesn't mean she is better or worse than you, or has more to offer the world. If you are a person who needs to act through the Implementor mode you accomplish your best work in an entirely different way than your sister does.
The issue is whether or not you are supporting each other in who you are, or are jealous of each other. If you can be proud of who your sister is and vice versa your differences ought not to matter.
If you both complete the Kolbe R™ Index on what you wish the other person would do in the relationship, it will help clarify the extent to which you give each other positive reinforcements or wish the other one would behave differently.
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Q: No matter how hard I try, I just can't get my husband to fix things around the house. Does this have something to do with instinct?

A: Perhaps. We've done a disservice to the men in our culture when we assume that just because they're male, they have natural talent where using their hands is concerned. Just as many females as males have instinctive bents toward tangible demonstration and talents which manifest themselves in physical and spatial ways. And, just as many males are preventive in Implementor, which means their talents lie in the realm of the abstract rather than the concrete. Chances are that your husband doesn't do the handyman stuff because his creative energies manifest themselves in other ways. Take a Kolbe R™ Index to define what you desire from your husband and then have him take the Kolbe A™ Index. You may be surprised by what you find!
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Q: I figured that my wife would keep house the same way my mother did, but so far that's not happening. Does Kolbe explain that?

A: How we do things comes naturally to each of us, but has nothing to do with gender, age, or ethnic grouping. It could be that your families of origin just developed different habits, but it's more likely that your mother and wife have very different striving instincts. As long as the ultimate result is the same, does it really matter? Consider taking a Kolbe R™ Index to determine what your expectations and desires are and comparing them to where your wife's actual talents lie. Let her do the same for you, and you may be surprised to find that she doesn't understand why you don't take care of the cars like her father did.
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Q: My parents think I spend too much time with my friends on the Internet. They want me to broaden my horizons. What's wrong with hanging out with people I enjoy?

A: Nothing is wrong with choosing your friends because of common interests, that's natural - as long as the interests aren't in doing irresponsible things. Interests are one common denominator among friends, another is often similar striving instincts, ways of taking action. An insistent Implementor is more inclined to spend time with other Implementors because they are all drawn to backpacking, hand-crafting, or other non-confining activities. A group of Fact Finders might meet at a chess tournament. To find out what it is about what you are doing that may be the cause of your parents focusing on this issue, ask them to complete the Kolbe R™ Index in the role of their daughter or son. Perhaps they have in their mind's eye an image of how you're supposed to act.
It may be impossible for you to satisfy a 'perfect child' stereotype they have if your striving instincts differ from it. That doesn't mean you aren't every bit as wonderful as any child they could ever have. They may be taking it out on your interests or your friends if you aren't living up to their false standard of expectations.
Kolbe R™'s standard will give you a non-judgmental way of discovering each other's expectations.
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Q: I have a very demanding job. When I get home, I need a little time to unwind. My partner, though, has a habit of wanting to have discussions as soon as I walk through the door, and gets annoyed when I'm not up for them. Is my need to relax in the evenings unreasonable?

A: Needs ought not to be measured on a reasonableness scale. If you're pooped, you're pooped. It is unreasonable, however, if you haven't made some commitments of devoting time and energy with your loved one. Commit to weekend discussions, or conversations over breakfast.
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Q: To say my child isn't "tidy" would be an understatement. I've all but given up the fight to get him to clean his room, but I still don't want him leaving piles of his stuff in family areas. How can we strike a balance between my need for cleanliness and his tendency to mimic a cyclone?

A: Habits help. He needs to develop them for doing those things that don't come naturally — truly must be done for health, safety, and family harmony. Just be sure you aren't falsely forcing your preferences into his requirements. You also need habits – such as looking the other way when a few dishes are left in the sink, and whistling a happy tune as you step over a temporary stack of stuff.
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Q: I have a full time job, but my family is important to me. I want to give my kids as much time as possible, but going to every single little league game, concert, and dance recital in addition to work, household duties, and spending time with my spouse leaves me exhausted. Does skipping out on an event every now and then make me a bad parent?

A: In whose eyes are you worried about looking like a bad parent? If your kids and your spouse understand they are a priority for you, but that you will not be showing it by attendance at all such events, they will only blame you for missing them when they really want to "get" to you.
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Q: I'm about to be a parent for the first time. Friends and family have been sending me parenting book after parenting book – all this information is so overwhelming! Is there really a correct, by-the-book way to raise a child?

A: Your way is the best way – whatever that is. Gather the information. If that's your inclination, but only use what makes sense for you. Parents who are obstinate about being themselves make the best role models. Those who also nurture the nature of their kids, make the best parents.
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