Here is a real example of how a parent understanding about thinking, feeling, knowing and sensing made a real difference to an unhappy child’s life.
The client of a colleague reported difficulty being a parent to his middle child. The child was clearly unhappy. The father was unhappy because he did not know what to do differently to make his child happy (a forlorn hope, anyway, since we cannot make anybody be anything).
He was fine with the other two children but, as a caring parent, recognised that his middle child felt excluded.
It is not much of an exaggeration to say that, when my colleague explained about psychological types, not only did “the penny drop”, but a whole piggybank of pennies dropped.
After talking for twenty minutes about how he and the other two children communicated, the client realised that he and two of his children were all “thinkers”, all highly rational, and they naturally communicated and played together spontaneously and with ease. But the middle child was a “feeler” and was crying out to be accepted as such.
The last thing the parent wanted was to make his child unhappy and so the task became how to change the way he communicated with the middle child whilst, of course, maintaining authenticity and naturalness.
A lot of communication is in words, so that was addressed. Now, “How are you feeling?” is not a feeling question, it’s a thinking question. It’s designed to elicit data, information just as much as the question, “will that box go through that door?” is. But, once asked, the father could develop conversations which talked about both the child’s feelings and his.
“What do you feel like doing tomorrow?”, he might ask, as he tucked his child into bed.
And, there are tactile, kinaesthetic ways of communicating too and the father made sure he used those far more than he did with his other children.
Almost immediately that he started to make a real effort to relate to the child the way the child needed him to, their relationship was transformed.
I don’t know what happened subsequently. I suspect that, because the father had always been doing the best he could, the child was able to let go of their past life (no one is suggesting it was remotely abusive) and adapt happily to the “new” version of their father.
Incidentally, this is a story against the wellknown platitude, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Clearly that was what the father had been doing and it was precisely the wrong thing to do. Let’s “do unto others as they need you to do unto them” instead.
> Thinker, feeler, knower sensor?
by Jeremy Marchant . last updated: 11 december 2014 . image: Free Images