The Science of Parenting

Proceeding with Caution | S. 3 Ep. 9

October 01, 2020 Season 3 Episode 9
The Science of Parenting
Proceeding with Caution | S. 3 Ep. 9
Show Notes Transcript

Does your child approach a new situation carefully, or do they jump in feet first? Lori and Mackenzie discuss how quickly your child might leap based on their temperament.

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Mackenzie J:

Hey guys! We are here everybody. It's been a little bit of a minute.

Lori H:

Just a minute?

Mackenzie J:

Or four, I don't even know what time it is. We've been having some technical - surprises - is maybe what I want to say, but we're here and we're going to go with it and we hope you'll go with it too.

Lori H:

Exactly.

:

So we like to start out with our ground rules and our beliefs . So just a reminder about who we are at The Science of Parenting and what we believe. First, we like to say we have a pluralistic approach to parenting, which basically just means we think there's more than one way to raise great kids. We also believe that our job is to provide research-based information. And your job is that you get to decide how it fits your family, informs your decision making. And then finally , uh, you know, we do, we are parenting educators, we share that trustworthy information. Um , and we know that sometimes parent-child relationships can use some extra assistance. And so we encourage you to seek out those experts locally.

Lori H:

We do. And just for your information, Mackenzie, we are live. I've confirmed that we are live on Facebook. So I know, I know it's like , okay. And there it goes. Excellent. So yes, everything Mackenzie said is what we believe. And I like to share a few ground rules with us since we are live on Facebook. Remember that our -

Mackenzie J:

Since we are!

Lori H:

Since we are, yes, that this is a judgment free zone. We like to make sure t here's no blaming or shaming. We get enough of that out in the real world. Right? So this is our safe place. We also want to make sure that any comments that you share are really focused on your own reality. It's really easy for us to think. Oh, I wish so and so would hear this, or, Oh, if only he would be here to hear this and you know what, we just need to remember that our reality is our reality. And so comments that we share should be on our own reality. And then we, as the hosts, reserve the right to pass on personal questions that you might send to us. So we just w ant t o make sure that you have a sense of those ground rules, u m, before we get started. And I'm going to give a few seconds here to see if M ackenzie DeJong would like to hop in with our logistics. And if we don't hear from her, well, we will just keep going.

Mackenzie J:

I'll say, well, and I'm seeing a message here from her that maybe we can just go ahead and move forward.

Lori H:

Excellent.

Mackenzie J:

Technical surprises may keep coming .

Lori H:

Wonderful.

Mackenzie J:

Um , but so yes, we do. Um , we have sometimes a little bit of a delay from the platform that we're using. And so we aren't ignoring your questions. We are going to bring in your questions and comments into our podcast here that we have come in live. So know we do run a little behind on our platform.

Lori H:

Absolutely. So, alright . Should we go?

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I guess we just go now, right?

Lori H:

Let's go!

Mackenzie J:

We just go , Oh , well, I mean, Hey, welcome to The Science of Parenting podcast. We are going to connect you with research based information that fits your family. Uh, we're also gonna talk about how research can help guide our parenting decisions. Of course, thinking again about temperament today. So I am Mackenzie Johnson. I am a parent to two littles that do have their own quirks and I'm a parenting educator.

Lori H:

And I'm Lori Hayungs and I'm the parent of three in three different life stages. I have one that's launched. One is in college and one is in high school and I am also a parenting educator. And what we realized today is what we're sharing with you is one of - we're getting close to the end of our nine traits. And we've really enjoyed sharing temperament traits with you. And along the way, we've had a , we've had a couple of special p odcasts that we've shared, a couple more coming up. And so we hope that you've enjoyed temperament this season three, which is also astonishing season three, but let's give you a little bit of information about what temperament is before we get started. U m, and even a little bit about what it isn't. A ll r ight. So just a quick reminder that temperament is our predisposition with how we react. It's inborn, it's genetic. It's always been there with us from the beginning. So how is it different from personality? Well , because it's that foundation that we build on top of. So think about the babies in the nursery. They have a temperament. They cry loudly, they cry softly, they move quickly, they flail their arms and legs, or they tuck up close and that's temperament. It's that reaction to the world. And then on top of that reaction, we layer how people interact with us. We layer how our brain grows and develops. We layer the things we learned from the world. And so all of those layers become who we are as a person. Temperament's always been there. Remember that. It's that foundation that we grow from.

Mackenzie J:

Absolutely. And all of those things that Lori shares with us each time about temperament are really founded in some great research. Um, you know, we look at the nine traits from Thomas and Chess's research. Uh, there's also really great research from Jim Cameron and his colleagues at Kaiser Permanente where they have been following kids' temperament profiles for like 30 plus years. And I mean, thousands of kids, right. We're not looking at just like, "Oh, they saw a few." No. Thousands of kids and they see that everybody gets all nine temperament traits. It's just, did you get a little, or did you get a lot? Uh , so we are going to be exploring these traits again, like Lori said, diving deeper into one specifically today, but if you want more information, maybe you're catching us live , but maybe aren't totally caught on episodes or some of the resources, we do have a temperament page on our website. So you can find that scienceofparenting.org. And so you can go find some extra temperament resources over there on our website. But for today, let's talk about the temperament trait of approach or withdrawal. And I always am like withdrawal. I always g et i t withdrawl or approach . Approaching or withdrawing. My enunciation will be clear.

Lori H:

Yes . I love this. I love this trait. I love lots of traits. I think that sometimes when people learn about this trait and they think about me, they kind of think, Oh, I, I would have never thought that. So I'm excited as he'll share a little bit about this, but let's look at a definition of approaching versus withdrawing in the temperament world. So Jerome Kagan is a researcher that talks a lot about this question. And so he asks what is our tendency to become upset in new and unfamiliar situations? What is our first reaction to something new? Now, we also talked about this with adaptability , and it's important to remember that as we talk about approaching or withdrawing, it might be our first reaction, but it doesn't have to be our final decision. And that's the important piece.

Mackenzie J:

Yes. And especially when we fall, right? We know some people fall in the middle and then we have some people that fall on the extremes when we think about this trait. And so yes, if you fall on an extreme, you might have a very strong first reaction either if I'm a high approach, right. If I'm high approach, my first reaction, which is , this is accurate for me, my first reaction is a strong yes. It's like, Oh wait, maybe I shouldn't always say yes, but, or your first reaction, if you are more on the withdrawing or the low approach, and we kind of use those words interchangeably. So low approach is the same as withdrawing. Um , so if you have less of approach, then your first reaction might be like, Hmm , no, thanks. Not interested in that.

Lori H:

Let me think about this. Exactly. Right . So how about, how might you describe it in your own words, that low approach, that first reaction? Anything else?

Mackenzie J:

Yes, I , yes. That first reaction I think is a great way to understand it. I also like the term novelty. So like when something is new, it's a new place, a new person, new stuff. Is that exciting to you? Which for, like, for me, with my hybrids , I would say with high approach, novelty is exciting with low approach. Novelty can be exhausting. So I think of that word novelty. And is it energizing if you're higher? Approacher is it exhausting or right. Maybe you're in the middle. You're like, well, it depends on the situation. You're probably more along the middle there.

Lori H:

What about for you? So again, because I think people might be surprised is my first natural gut instinct is to take a step back and process and I don't always jump right in now. I'm very adaptable. So I do change and can change. But that very first I got to think about this is withdrawing. And so the definition, those words for me is like, it's more of a sound it's and then it's let me think about this. And then it's okay. And so it's kind of like a three step and you don't see that happening all within me. What you see is the okay. But what you don't see is my natural very first gut reaction is so it's not a word, it's a sound well, and I think you bring a really good point when I was, you know , kind of first learned about temperament, this idea of approach versus adaptability, and even like explaining it to other people, you know, in my life that it's come up casually.

Mackenzie J:

It's like, okay. But the like, okay. But change. And so I think what, how I differentiate is like approaches about what's new, right? Like a new place or a new person or a new thing versus adaptability is about what's expected. And so like how easy for , is it for me to change what I expected versus something new? Um , so that's kinda where I differentiate because you, yeah. It's not necessarily that you're low on both traits or that you're high up. I happen to be high on both, but you're low on one and high on the other. So today we're going to focus on that approach so that new, new places, new things, new people, novelty new. Excellent. All right . So we know what the definition is. So let's think about the continuum. Remember we look at things on the continuum because we get all nine traits.

Lori H:

So the continuum says on the lower end of the spectrum on the lower end of the continuum is that withdrawing or that lower approach. And this child might have that initial reaction of hesitancy or hold up a bit. They might hold back. They might refuse to participate. They learn by watching and observing before they move on. So they look and decide before they leave. And it's really important here to remember that, trying to convince a cautious child, they have nothing to be afraid of is actually not going to work because they literally are afraid their blood pressure rises. Their pupils dilate the vocal chords tense . Their withdrawal is external, but also internal things are happening inside, which are pulling them back. Yes. Do you have an example of withdrawing?

Mackenzie J:

Well, I was going to say, so , uh , my daughter is like more withdrawing, so she's low approach. And if I just say to her, like, don't be scared you've been here. Right. Or like, don't be scared. You know them well, she's saying that doesn't make her not scared her you're right. Her body is having that reaction. That is her body's first reaction to something new. It is wired into her brain. It is. And so for me, I, a lot of times see this, like withdrawing put , um, this is withdrawing trait, which I tend to say slow to warm up. That's like what? That's why it's easier for me to say slow to warm up than withdrawal.

Lori H:

Yes.

Mackenzie J:

So I tend to say Slow to warm up. Um, but sometimes I even see this play out with her. Like, doesn't want to try a new food. Um, doesn't want to try a new activity. Um, well, I should say that first reaction is like , uh , no, thanks . Uh , like not so interested and actually a funny thing with her is sometimes even seeing a person she's very familiar with, but like in a new place, like, I think of the , like, if we've bumped into her childcare provider at the grocery store and she was at our child , right. She spent so much time with her child provider. She knew her very well, but at the grocery store, she couldn't talk to her. Right. So it was just like, you don't, this is new. You like, I don't know. You here like, exactly like new people or new places or new things. I see that play out with her. What about you, you, right? You're kind of on this lower side.

Lori H:

I am. So that means that my children , um , have that genetic possibility. And in fact , all three of them would be , um, more less approaching than approaching now. Not extremely withdrawing one of them. Yes. But the other two, not so much, but a funny, a funny thing that happens in our family is, and this has happened since they were little is we might go to a new store or a new restaurant or something. And think about the three of us walking towards the door. Right. Here we go.

Mackenzie J:

Yes.

Lori H:

Walk, walk, walk, someone opens the door and no one goes in first, like, boom, boom, boom. We all bump into each other. Like dominoes. Because our low approach. All of us are thinking well, okay, where's the approaching person that's going to walk in and show us where to go. And so the number of times I have tripped over a child walking into a building. And honestly, just like you said, it could be the same building we've walked into, but it's a new day, a new experience, a new time. And just that, you know, that domino. Yeah . It multiple times, multiple times.

Mackenzie J:

I don't like I am going to go in, but l ike my first reaction is like someone, someone, someone else,

Lori H:

Because I'm not sure am I going to turn left or right when I walk in? Is it, you know, am I going to have to grab a cart and not grab a cart ? Is there going to be --? You know, all of these things enter our brain that we need to think about.

Mackenzie J:

Yes. Okay. So versus the high approach individuals. Do you know of any?

Lori H:

High approaching , um , on the continuum, they're going to take that novelty and, and look for it. They're going to seek out novel experiences. They are going to rush rightin. You know, the, this child is going to leap before they look, perhaps they don't hesitate. They move right in. They learn by doing. And interestingly enough, the, you know, North American culture supports this temperament greatly. They're the go-getter. And so, you know, as we look at that high approaching temperaments, this might be the child that gets a lot of compliments at first, when they're young. How about, you know, any examples you high approaching individual?

:

Well, okay . So I guess I should say, I don't feel like I've explicitly said, like, for those of you who are with us, please go ahead and type your questions and comments in the chat. Um , we'd love to hear how you might think of this trait with approach and if you have examples or questions about low approach or high , I was like, wait, I think I was supposed to say that. But so I think of my high approach, I actually think of one of my siblings who was actually older than I am. Um , they actually have a low approach. So yes, as the high approach kid, even though I was younger by quite a bit, if my mom would be like, okay, somebody's like call get the pizza ordered. Dah , dah , dah . My siblings would be like, no, no, no, no. And I was like, okay, I'm 10. I can do it. Give me the phone. I was like, I'll call for pizza. Oh. One of us needs to run into the gas station and get something or ask the gas, you know, when you used to stop and ask somebody at the gas.

Lori H:

Yes

Mackenzie J:

I was that's who I was. Um, you know, I walk into the building versus maybe my friend Lori might , uh , sit in her car for a minute.

Lori H:

Kenz's coming out? Yeah . Yeah .

Mackenzie J:

So I, that high approach, my first reaction is yes. And my , uh, our supervisor is on here and she can tell you yep . Mackenzie wants to say yes. Mackenzie likes to say, it's my first reaction. Right? It's that high approach. Yes. So normally we , I would say normally we would talk about like our kids, right? What do our kids have versus we have, I think today we should talk about you and me in different situations because we do fall more on these extremes of high and low.

Lori H:

We do. And I think that what we found is that if we can recognize where our differences in temperament lie with each other and our children, not only does it help the adult to adult relationship, but it definitely helps the adult to child relationship and things are every day. So this particular trait approach versus withdrawing allows us the opportunity to maybe get into our children's heads a little bit more and think, Oh gosh, why are they opposite of me? Why, why do I always have to be the one to walk in the door? Right. As the adult, I guess I have to be the one to walk in the door, even though I would love to have someone else walk in first. So , um, yeah, we were going to play a little game here.

Mackenzie J:

Okay. So when we were walking through this episode and thinking of the examples we wanted to share with you, all a few examples came up between the two of us that kind of cracked us up. And we're like, Oh, we could maybe share this with everybody. Yes. Uh , so the first one that made me laugh, because it never occurred to me that this had to do with my temperament. You talked about when, like, if you would go out to eat at a buffet, like , so as a low approach person, what do you do if you are like at a restaurant and go into a buffet?

Lori H:

So when it comes to a buffet, I think that as a low approach person, you might find us walking around the buffet of food first to see all what's there before we grab our plate and go select what goes on the plate first.

Mackenzie J:

And that cracks me up because it's never occurred to me to like, I don't need to do a lap. It's literally like, I'll figure out what I like along the way. But as I think about like, gosh, yeah. Even with my low approach child, instead of me, do you want this, eo you want this, do you want this? And they might want a lap . They might say , do you want this? Do you want this? No, no, no, no, no. Okay. Getting them a chance to maybe do a lap .

:

Yes. Garage sales. Not a thing that is high on my list of things to do. You know, if I do, I'm gonna need a lap or two at a garage sale.

Mackenzie J:

See , and I think of like a garage sale or a store. I sometimes go into places or choose places where I know I can like go in and be like, Hey, I want this. Or, Hey, I'm going to do this or I need you to help me choose. Like, I absolutely will choose places to go that I know there'll be someone that I can ask for help. Like, so yeah at a garage sale. I'm like, yeah. Oh, I saw something. So I'm going to pull over and I'm going to walk up and it's not going to occur to me to like, I don't need to, I'll walk up.

Lori H:

And , and you know, that's the important thing to remember is that for those, you know, when you look at your children and you've seen them, but they have gone in the door, they have taken a plate at the buffet. They have gone to the garage sale . But yeah, but you may have missed that whole process of taking a lap on the inside first. First I internally take a lap. One other thing we talked about was , um, at big meetings, when we finally get together to have big meetings together , uh , where do we sit?

Mackenzie J:

Wherever I end up?

Lori H:

How do we choose that ? Yes , yes.

Mackenzie J:

Yeah. I would say I literally, if we're, I'm picturing like a meeting room, we would be in altogether. Yeah. It's been a while since we've done that, but I like, my eyes are gonna browse the room, but like, Oh, I could sit by them and then I go sit by them.

Lori H:

And I've been waiting in the car first till just about time for the meeting to start. And then I might go in and stand in the door, look around the room, look where the exit is, look where the water is, look where the outlets are, look where the wall is. Cause I'm going to have to stand as a highly active person. And then I go set my stuff down and if it's too early, I'd probably leave the room.

Mackenzie J:

I do not. I like, I love to get there early. Not because I'm a timely person all the time, but like, because I'd rather have time to chat with everybody. I want to , I want to rub all those elbows. And I mean, yes, there are levels of like, if you're introverted or extroverted, you know, the, of course that's part of it. But also just like I'm in a new situation. I feel invigorated. Like I feel excited to be with people and I might intentionally sit next to someone that I don't know. Um, and I don't know that that's totally your thing.

Lori H:

That's probably isn't no, no. And I've watched it by the end of the day, by the end of the day. Yes .

Mackenzie J:

I am ready to actually Lori and I do not usually like stay together because Lori needs time at the end of the day and I'm like, let's go, there's so much fun to have. She's like, Whoa.

Lori H:

So bringing that back to your children first, sometimes we have to think about ourselves and our temperament and how is the differences between us and our children impacting our expectations and our relationship with them, which is why we wanted to play around a little bit with, okay , how, how is it our adult temperament impacting things?

Mackenzie J:

And so I can say that my caution for myself as a high approach adult for, I don't always think through those things, I, or give my child the time to process and have time with that first reaction. And like with high approach kids, if you're a high approach parent, the other thing is sometimes like a high approach person might need to remember to take caution and I'm, my brain might not go there. And so I'm going to have to really think about it because I'm the adult. Okay. I need to forewarn my child. Okay, take your time. You don't have to take everything or you don't need to say yes to everything. Um , so there is there's that kind of goodness of fit and balance there. Exactly,

Lori H:

Exactly. Um, so there are some good questions in the chat. Should I pull one up? Alright , let's please . Alright . So I see one here that says, thinking about, does this have any connection to age thinking about shy, littles and impulsive teens? And so that answer is yes. We talk about how child development layers on top of temperament. So there are these stages of infant toddlerhood where, you know, every six months or so we get into that stranger danger as their brain grows. And so yes, if they are a withdrawing temperament and then you add in the child development process of stranger anxiety, they're going to be even, you know , more withdrawing as they grow through that developmental stage, this same thing with impulsive teens, if they are an approaching temperament and we get to that developmental stage of independence and trying things out, then those approaching teens more likely more are going to take more risks. So that's a great question. That's a great question. I love that one .

Mackenzie J:

I say Donna is calling me out, but yeah, when we , uh, eat together, I am the person I do food share.

Lori H:

Yes . So let's go since we've been talking a little bit, this brings us right into ages and stages. That's great. So the one thing , um , I'll let, maybe I'll let you mention the ages and stages and I'll quickly get the rest of the comments. Totally.

Mackenzie J:

So yes, that is the thing, right? At certain parts, all kids tend to experience or certain stages of development. All kids tend to experience some common things, right? There's tasks that they're working on. Right. We think about an infant learning to crawl or toddlers learning about independence in school, agers learning about mastering skills. And so we see these temperament traits kind of come out to play , um, and we might see them impact these tasks a little bit more at different ages. And so as we think about approach specifically with our is a child high approach, or are they kind of in the middle or are they low approach? We know that we'll see these traits and that at certain stages in life, we might really see that end of the temperament continuum as an asset. And then that same temperament trade and a different stage where we'll be like, Whoa. Right. I think of passing my high approach, baby. It was like, Oh yeah. Or I could take that high approach baby or toddler anywhere. And they did fine. And then as a team , that high approach, all of a sudden I'm like, Whoa, pump your brakes a little. Assets and liabilities across the different stages. So should we start with those then?

Lori H:

Yes, yes.

Mackenzie J:

Yeah . Those traits play out across the continuum with an infant.

Lori H:

All right . So when you look at the infant and you look at the developmental things that are happening again, that idea that they're going to be processing things in their brain very quickly as their brain grows. And so , um, those, that idea of beginning to trust adults, so the less approaching or the withdrawing child is, is going to be spending a lot more time looking and observing. And so you might find that they are constantly looking and observing and they don't like necessarily that pass around at grandma's house. Okay. So, you know, depending on the rest of their temperament, they may be fussy. Um , they maybe withdraw into themselves and , uh , be that child that looks like they're always sleeping. Um , when they're just withdrawing, they , the approaching child is the one, like you said, the infant, you know, they don't mind being passed around and they're , you know, they might be happily cooing and giggling as they get passed around. And then as they become toddlers, think about as they begin to try new foods, right? So the, the withdrawing or less approaching child is probably going to turn up their nose at different kinds of new foods. They're not going to be the kiddo that wants to try something new. They , they like what they like and they will eat it and eat it and eat it until the next thing comes along where the approaching toddler there , the toddler who, you know, they may walk off with someone in the store because they're approaching and this looks like fun, or this toy looks like fun. They might just love the new toy where the last approaching toddler, they might want that dirty crusty toy forever and ever, and ever.

Mackenzie J:

I even think I have, you know, a friend who had talked about taking their kids to someone else's home and that one of their kids just like sat and didn't really play, you know, stayed really close to mom and dad kind of, you know , staying by the legs or they might wander and find a toy and then come back and then they might have that high approach toddler that is like climbing into the bookshelf or climbing into the toy box. And it's like, Whoa, what can we get exactly? The first reaction is like, Whoa, this is exciting. Or, you know, I'm not so sure. And then wow , that low approach might warm up right. And eventually wander out. But that first reaction might be like, I need some time.

Lori H:

Exactly. And remember, their first reaction may not be the final decision. So as we move up the ages to preschool, the less approaching or withdrawing preschooler, they might be the child at preschool that plays with the puzzles over and over that plays in the block area every day, they might play with those same one friend every day, or they might just sit back and observe a lot of the day. And the higher approaching child is the one who's bouncing in between friend groups. They're trying out the new things. They're the ones that have to try the new toy first. And so as you look at approaching and withdrawing in the, in the preschool years, you see it more action or less action. And, and again, that idea that assets and liabilities, sometimes that low approach child can kind of blend in. And we might forget that they're there. And depending on the rest of their temperament, if they're also intense, which we talked about, So three, I believe. They are going to express their displeasure, having to try new things.

Mackenzie J:

So my daughter is in this stage and she does the same two playscenters at school. Like I like art. I like blocks. What did you do today? What did you choose to play? Art. The next day blocks. The next day art and blocks. And it's like, Oh, have you considered trying ? Or even just like the friends she plays with, she plays with the friends that she's familiar with. I'm like, did you play with anybody new? Have you? No , my friends are so and so and so, and so like , those are my friends. I don't want to approach the new kids. I feel comfortable where I'm at and there's , I'm good.

Lori H:

Sometimes as adults, you know, even if I'm less approaching, I still know that there are advantages to being approaching. And so I might be encouraging my low approach child. We'll just do it. We'll just, and then I have to remind myself that that just isn't easy internally, physically, their body is again, their eyes are dilating; their blood pressure is rising. They're getting sweaty. I can't "just" them. Ican't "just" them.

Mackenzie J:

Yeah . You know , don't tell me to "just". My strategy right now with my daughter is asking. Okay. You know, so , Oh, have you considered, right. And I'm not going to say you need to go play. Have you considered playing in the kitchen area? Or have you thought about asking a new friend? Can I play with you? Um , and so prompting the idea, but it's not a yes, actually. I feel maybe I'm jumping ahead here, Lori , huh? I'm getting into the goodness of fit. We still have more ages to talk about, right?

Lori H:

Jump ahead to the middle school and the high school. Cause they were about the same as the preschool. Not about the same, but that idea of what skills are they learning developmentally? You know, they're moving into that more independent mastery of skills, social relationships. And so this is where we, you know, middle school can be hard because of social relationships. But think about how much more difficult it can be for a child who's less with less approaching who is withdrawing. And if we just them , um, you know, or if a teacher, just them, because you should just go play with, you should just go invite yourself into, you should just move over, find her own partner, find your own partner, find your partners, find, pick a partner. Yes.

Mackenzie J:

I don't have any good friends in this class.

Lori H:

Yes. So difficult where the approaching child, you know, they might be the first one picked and it's, it's difficult because when we look at an entire classroom, there are so many different traits involved. And there are so many different temperaments that sometimes we have to make a list and say, okay, I know that this child struggles to find a partner. So I'm going to quickly encourage this. And then everyone else can find a partner, but you know, so developmentally there are differences when it comes to approaching and withdrawing.

Mackenzie J:

Absolutely. Um , and I do want to ask, you know, anybody that's watching , um , listening with us , uh, if you do have questions right about these different ages, you know how this temperament trait might play out or, you know, just questions about what do I do? You know, a lot of times we call our low approach. Kids are shy kids. Um, and so what do I do with this? Or I have a kid that gets into everything or that I'm constantly trying to talk my teenager out of making like, please don't do, like, I don't want you to go do that thing. You can't just say yes to that. Um, and so if you have questions about, you know, these kids with these different traits, please feel free to type those in the comments. Um, because we are going to kind of move into this idea of the goodness of fit. And so you might remember that, you know, Thomas and Chester remind us that this is about learning to respond to our child's temperament, right? It's genetic, we're not changing what their natural first reaction is. Um, you know, as adults, we learned skills that to adapt and to navigate through life with the temperament we have. And, but with our kids, we have to help them develop that. And so this goodness of fit, let me to understand and support their temperament to accommodate it right, to help them build the skills they need to navigate in the world. Um, ultimately it helps us end them. It does be able to do that makes our lives easier to be able to anticipate that behavior and to help them be successful.

Lori H:

Yes. Yes. So remembering about, you know, this goodness of fit and this idea of teaching them, let's look at some strategies and remember, don't let their first negative reaction or their first know , be the final answer we need to allow the child who is withdrawing time to think time, to observe time, to change their mind because they actually need that time to make their final decision. And one of the places that we look to is Mary Sheedy , Kurchinka, and in her book, Raising Spirited Kids, she talks about the difference between encouragement and pushing. And so having children who are, you know, less approaching or withdrawing, there are times where I have to balance encouragement versus pushing. If I push those feet, get in cement and they don't know. Right. I don't want to just let that no . Be the no . And then they never try something new. I need to continue to encourage, I need to continue to encourage. And I think about examples from my children and the times I've encouraged where I've said, they've said, well, no, I don't want to do this. And whatever it is that they want to do is several weeks out. I might just say to them, okay. And I know that for the next two weeks, I'm still going to be dropping hints. Um , I think you had an example of this. Okay , good .

Mackenzie J:

Actually, this is like, within the last few days , um, someone asked me if my daughter would like to someone, my daughter's age that we are familiar with, they had asked if we had wanted to do something. Right. So that the girls could go do something together. And so I brought the idea to my daughter like, Hey, would you like to join so-and-so for this? She was like, no, no, I don't think I want to do that. And I was like, okay, all right . Day or so later I kind of brought it back up and I was like, so what are you thinking about, you know , going with so and so, and she's like, you know, I don't have the clothes. Like I don't have the clothes. Like, there's like a special thing I would want to wear and I don't have that. She wasn't asking for it. But the first incident was like, no, I can't do that. That's a new thing. That's a new place. Um, and so for me, it was with my low approach style kind of giving that encouragement, like, Hm . Do you feel like maybe if you had, you know, those clothes that maybe that's something you feel like you could do, mom, how about you just tell her mom. No . How about you just tell her mom. No. And I was like, well, think about it. Right , right. And so the encouragement, but prompting the thought process, like, yes, your first reaction is no, thanks. Let's consider maybe this is something we could do. And maybe it's something we could like , um, you know, versus for me, I, as a kid was so quick to say yes, a friend would ask me to do yes. I want to , yes. They didn't have to finish the question. And then sometimes I'd be like, I don't actually want to do this like this , you know, I'd rather be here. Or, but I said, yes, like I said, yes so quickly. And so both sides that the first response, maybe isn't what the response should ultimately be.

Lori H:

And so it's drawn an extreme, especially, and it's okay to help our children understand that we can change our mind. We can change our mind when we have more facts. We can change our mind when we know more about the situation. And what Mary talks about is the idea that encouragement feels like more confidence and building of confidence where pushing actually may make the child feel out of control and , um , you know, off balance. And so when we dig our heels in, we are then becoming maybe off balance and out of control and instead, and we're moving away from that encouragement and confidence building. So it is a balance. It is a balance, especially when they're on the extremes of the continuum.

Mackenzie J:

And she gave us some really great suggestions for how we can encourage our kids on either end of this approach. So I'll walk through a few and then you want to walk through a few. Absolutely. Okay. So, you know, even something encouragement might sound like saying something like I can help you, or I will support you. Like, you're feeling nervous about this, or you are ready to dive in. I'm going to help you think this through. Right. Another thing she says about encouragement and that it helps us understand our feelings. So instead of saying, don't be scared, we're saying like, Hmm , going somewhere new, you're feeling a little nervous about right. Or you're excited. Right. So it helps us understand our feelings. And then another thing she says is that encouragement allows us time to think and gives us an opportunity to observe. Yeah . And I think for me, I'm so quick to say yes to things that having people encourage me to say, you know, what if we just said, I'm not sure yet instead of yes. Like, because sometimes I ultimately will decide, I wish I had said no, but I said yes so quickly. Yeah . I was like , did you have her encouragement tips. You want it to walk through too .

:

Sure. So it talks about how encouragement can build bridges from our past success and bring that to the present so we can build new success. So I can think of a time where I might have said to , um, Emily, who is my lowest approaching child, where I've said, remember, when you were able to stand in front of the room and give that speech. I know it was only three minutes, but what was something that you did to get through those three minutes? Well, I kept taking deep breaths and I said, okay, so now that you have to give a speech for five minutes, maybe you can. And so what I did was I encouraged her that, you know , she was able to answer a question out loud. She was able to go to this new place on her own. And because you were able to do it before, what were some of the skills that you use then that you could bring in to now?

Speaker 2:

And, you know, that was confidence. It does. It does. And helping them recognize that they have those tools in their toolbox and they can do it. Mary also talks about us helping to see parts of the tasks in little bits and pieces. We don't feel so overwhelmed, which also helps us to choose when we're ready. So if we have a child who, and this can go on, either end of the continuum of, if we have a child who is low approach and the task of going to a brand new school seems so very overwhelming, how can we break that task down? Can we go play on the playground? Can we go meet the teacher before school? Can we go hang our backpack in the locker? Then we've done these four things before we walk into school that first day

Lori H:

And breaking that down into steps. Like sometimes my high approach is like, yeah, we're going to go to school. Oh, okay. I didn't remember. I'm going to need to know where my locker is and I'm going to make sure I have a backpack and my school supplies . And so sometimes that high approach was like, yeah, it's going to be great. It's going to be great. So maybe I didn't prepare quite as well. And so breaking it down into steps does help on both ends of that continuum, Does it does. And breaking it down. If you are high approaching also allows you the opportunity to say who , wow. You know what? I think I can finish this part of the task or these three parts of the task, but I'm going to need to ask for help on the rest. And that's okay. That's okay.

Mackenzie J:

Okay. Yes. And then I want to let things , I'll say for last one is also hard.

Lori H:

Last one is that encouragement takes time. And as the adult, we can see so many benefits and so many great things. And so much has happened to us through our lifespan, that we just want to be able to share all these things with our child and, you know, two easy steps, but it actually takes time, especially for a child who's low approach or withdrawing that we're going to need to give them that encouragement. At the beginning of every school year, at the beginning of every day of childcare at the beginning of every new introduction and the same with the higher approaching child, we're going to need to remind them to take a step back and look before they leap at every new novel thing.

Mackenzie J:

Yes, yes. And so this kind of brings us, you know, that as parents and as caregivers, we can help our kids understand their temperament and talk things through with them, you know, providing that encouragement , um, you know, and teaching them those encouraging self-taught kind of skills. So this does kind of bring us to our , your reality. I do. Um, you know, I saw one question come up in the chat , uh, from our friend, Barb,who says, what if everyone decides to be my partner, I approach, you know , a high approach kid. That could be the thing. Right. Oh, so, and so seems so friendly. Exactly. That high approach kid might seem so friendly. And so maybe a little less intimidating for others, but that is.

Lori H:

Let me tell you, I, the higher approaching people and I stick to them. Yes. Yeah .

Mackenzie J:

Get a little Velcro ride. The coat tails . Yes. Yes. Um , but I haven't really seen too many other questions come through. So I think we can move into this kind of your reality. Some of these strategies, we're fortunate. We're able to tap into pull some strategies from Rona Renner who wrote a book that's Is that me yelling as well as Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. And so there's some great things here. Strategies, do you want to start with some specific strategies they have for the low approaching person?

Lori H:

I will. All right. So a child who is low approach or withdrawing, we need to remember to have patience . We need to remember to let them study the situation prior to making them engage. Right . We need to allow them that time. We need to help them learn in smaller steps and continue to offer them opportunities, to experience things that are new and build their confidence in trying out new things.

Mackenzie J:

Oh, I might have to give my daughter green beans on her plate eight times before she eats them. Yeah .

Lori H:

Yes.

Mackenzie J:

And there is one step.

:

Exactly. Yeah . Even if it doesn't go in her mouth, honestly, it's okay. That first time, that first, third, fourth time, if it doesn't go in her mouth it's okay .

Mackenzie J:

And beyond my plate and she can smell it the next time that might not her plate and she doesn't eat it the next time it might be on her plate and she pushes it around with a fork that's approach. Right. We're getting there. We're getting there. Absolutely.

Lori H:

And especially that you're leading into that idea of, we need to remain calm because any strong reactions that we have is ultimately going to make the child feel uncomfortable out of control and begin to push them even further into that withdrawal. And I think we can all think of times when someone pushed us back into a withdrawal situation where there was no way I was coming out of it. And now even as an adult, I won't eat liver. So there were some of those strategies that you have for approaching children. Yes. So thinking of that, you have situations you can think of with , with like that pushed me into withdrawal. I have situations where no, I want this, you told me I couldn't have it now. I want it because I , my approach. But so as I think about parenting, you know, high approach kids , uh , thinking through this idea of, they might need help heating caution , you know , might need help thinking through those choices because that first instinct is sometimes such a quick yes. And actually Donna, our supervisor, that phrase she has taught me is just not right now. My first reaction is yes. And so she doesn't try to, you know, not be in convinced actually you need to say no, but okay. You're thinking maybe yes. But I'm wondering if maybe yes, but just not.

Mackenzie J:

Right. Um , so helping our kids think through that, that first reaction and maybe helping them see potential downfalls, or they might just need a reminder that they don't have to say yes to everything. Absolutely. Like maybe you should take time to think through before you say yes, absolutely. And then another strategy that actually it really fits for both your high approach, low approach, or right. Kids that fall somewhere in the middle is helping prepare them for new experiences, talking about what we're going to see there, what you can expect , um, you know, and then model that exploring safely. Right. So we can tell, I think about if I was taking my kids, I have younger kids, right. Taking them to a high school sporting event, going to be sitting. I don't want you to be walking all over the floor, like the gym floor or cause that will kind of sit near each other and you might see a friend there and, or my low approach child. Okay. There'll be a lot of people or it might be loud or, and so either way kind of preparing kids for that experience , um , can help you set safe expectations for that high approach kid and help your low approach child feel a little more comfortable.

Lori H:

Absolutely. So there we go. Approach or withdrawl. Oh yeah . I think we have this next week, right?

Mackenzie J:

Uh , Oh my gosh. I can't remember next week special guests. I know we have a special guest at the end of the month, but I think you're right. I think it's a shorter, special guest.

Lori H:

Shorter, special guests. We'll see. I guess you're just going to have to, you know figure it out along with us. Right .

Mackenzie J:

You'll be surprised along the way.

Lori H:

You'll be . Yeah . You'll be -- today has been a very surprising day and it will continue to be surprised, correct? Yes. So yes. So I'll let you sum us up.

Mackenzie J:

I would say, so thinking about this trait of approach or withdrawal, and actually we had a comment from somebody that said kind of depends, you know, sometimes I might choose this. Well, you might just be in the middle. We know that lots of us are . And so thinking about this approach or withdrawal as your first reaction to somebody new or your child's first reaction to something new , um , if they fall on those higher, low ends of the continuum, it might be a stronger reaction, a strong yes or a strong no. Uh, and we are going to see these play out at different times at different ages. You know, sometimes we'll think, Oh, it's so great that they're low approach or, Oh, it's so great that they're high approach. And other times I'd be like, man, if they would just right , well , we're going to try not to push. And instead we're going to think about creating that goodness of fit by encouraging them, helping prepare them for new situations and expectations, breaking things down into smaller steps so that our kids do build that confidence. Absolutely.

Lori H:

So thanks for joining us today on our Science of Parenting podcast, live on Facebook. Remember you can subscribe to our weekly audio on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. And like you did today. You can watch us on Facebook every week. We download a new podcast and we love to take your questions. So please give us a shout out and we will be happy to answer your questions.

:

Yes, I would say our next live will be in November and actually be the wrap of a full season on temperament. So we'll have all kinds of good nuggets then, but make sure that you're listening along each week, as we dive through a few more traits and then get to some of our special topics on temperament. So please do come along with us. As we tackle the ups and downs, the ins and outs and the research and reality, all around The Science of Parenting.

Narrator:

The Science of Parenting is hosted by Lori Hayungs and Mackenzie Johnson produced by Mackenzie DeJong with research and writing by Barbara Dunn Swanson, sending questions and comments to [email protected] and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. This institution is an equal opportunity provider for the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.state.edu/diversity/ext.