Monday, June 27, 2016

Book Review: The Child Whisperer

In the 9+ years that I've been a mother, I've read many parenting books. Among the parenting books I've read in the last few years, one stands out far above the others: The Child Whisper: The Ultimate Handbook For Raising Happy, Successful, Cooperative Children by Carol TuttleOver the last two years since I read this book, it has really improved my life and my relationships with my children.

What Is Unique About This Parenting Book?

Most parenting books provide one-size-fits-all guidance for raising children.  The Child Whisperer is different. Instead of giving guidance that can be applied to all children, it seeks to give parents an understanding of different types of children.  By focusing more on understanding each of the different types of children, this book lays a strong foundation that can be used for parenting children who are very different from each other. 

One of the things that really surprised me as a parent was how different my son and daughter are.   They move through life differently, they need different things, and they react to corrections differently. Techniques that work for one of them often do not work for the other. The Child Whisperer has finally given me the framework to understanding my children, and how they are different from each other as well as myself. By knowing more about who they are as individuals, I am able to parent them each uniquely, and am better able to meet their needs.

The Different Types of Children (and Adults, Too)

The Child Whisperer describes four energy types that apply to children as well as adults. For children, the four types are summarized as follows:

image from http://thechildwhisperer.com/getting-started/

One thing I love about using Carol Tuttle's four energy type system is that it is much bigger than just a personality profiling system.  When determining a person's energy type, a person's body language and facial features are actually used in addition to personality and tendencies. This method seems to really capture the essence of each person, and that allows for a much greater understanding of each other.

Practical Tips for Each Type

Once the foundation of each energy type is laid out, The Child Whisperer includes tips for parents in supporting their children by gender and at different ages (Baby, Toddler, Pre-schooler, School Age, and High Schooler). The Child Whisperer provides insights into the learning and developmental tendencies of each type, and provides guidance on how to help each type develop their own unique gifts. One of my favorite sections in the book is the list of the Top 10 Things each type needs from their parents.

Understanding My Children

Understanding my children's dominant and secondary energy types has allowed me to finally
understand them at a much deeper level so that I can support them as individuals. Previously, I would often get frustrated at certain aspects of both of their personalities, mostly because they were different from myself and the way I do things. Now I am able to look at them from a perspective of understanding who they are and how they move through life, and that makes such a huge difference in having a happy, well-functioning household.


Here are some examples of how The Child Whisperer has made me a better parent:
  • I am a Type 3 with a secondary Type 2 energy. With my dominant Type 3 nature, I tend to move through life with swift determination, and love getting things done. With my secondary Type 2 nature, though, I am emotionally sensitive and love connecting with family and friends.
  •  My daughter is a Type 1 with a secondary Type 2 energy. I used to get frustrated with the fact that she would start a gazillion different projects, but finish hardly any of them. I would often tell her that she wasn't allowed to start anything else new until she finished her other projects. Well, it turns out that Type 1's have a gift for ideas. Ideas are the Type 1's gift to the world! I was imposing my own nature (that naturally wants to finish things) onto her; in doing so, I was stifling her own gift for having many new ideas. Now, I allow her to start as many different projects as she'd like, and instead of trying to make her finish them all, I help her learn to determine which projects are important enough to her that she would like to finish them. 
  • My son is a Type 2 with a secondary Type 4 energy.  Before learning about the energy types, I would very often tell him to hurry up, and would get frustrated that he seemed to take so long with tasks such as getting dressed, eating, getting buckled into the car, and many others.  After learning about the energy types, I realized that my son naturally has a much slower movement than I do. That doesn't mean that either of us is "wrong"; we're just different. Now I make sure to give him plenty of time for tasks, and I make sure to find other things to do while I am waiting for him so I don't get impatient and keep hurrying him.
  • With her fun-loving Type 1 nature, my daughter likes to turn everything into a game. With my own get-it-done mentality, I was often frustrated by this aspect of her personality, and would tell her to stop messing around. Now that I know about the energy types, I try to give her more freedom to find her own fun ways to accomplish things. I definitely still have some room for improvement with this, but I'm trying to support her nature. 
  • With his Type 2 nature, my son naturally plans things out in advance. His plans are very important to him, and with his Type 4, more serious secondary nature, he does not take it lightly when his plans are interrupted. Obstructed plans were the main cause of many of my son's emotional upsets, but I didn't quite understand that until I read The Child Whisperer. Now I can respect his plans, and let him take part when those plans need to change (often after giving him some alone time to process that there needs to be a change). This has made a tremendous difference in the number of emotional meltdowns.
These are just a few examples of how The Child Whisperer has helped us. It has been a real game-changer. Our relationships are better and I am now able to help my children overcome the challenges unique to each of their types, instead of trying to mold them to be more like myself.  I can't recommend this book enough!

Have you read The Child Whisperer? What is your favorite parenting book?



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4 comments :

Kitty said...

I love the book! I even bought a copy for my (then) 3rd grade granddaughter's teacher to read as I listened to her frustrations with certain aspects of school. I was sure she was a type 3 girl. What's interesting is that the same teacher now has her in 5th grade and he suggested that she is becoming more and more true to her nature of type 4. Of course, I was sure he was wrong. But, now I think he's right! She probably a strong type 3 secondary or it could be she showed so many of the type 3 traits because both her parents are type 3 and she was an only child for many years. As she's growing up and becoming more independent, I've witnessed more of what he was seeing in his classroom. I think she's finally feeling free enough to express more of her true self in her everyday activities.

The framework for understanding all this (the book) is very rewarding and important to our family!

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Kitty,
What an excellent idea, buying the book for your granddaughter's teacher! I am glad that it sounds like he read it and was willing to embrace it!

Hannah Lebo said...

I'm intrigued, and may have to qdd that to my Amazon wishlist. I had heard of Typing before, but never in regards to children. I'm not even sure what "Type" I am, as I had several women type be differently. I do know that I'm an INTP when it comes to MBTI personality profiling, which seems more in-depth to me, but ... Again, I haven't quite figured out my kids yet. ;)

My favorite parenting books (because I can't narrow it to just one) would probably have to be Spirit Led Parenting (regarding the first year of life) and Grace Based Parenting (which is geared more toward childhood and adolescence). I'm also a big fan of Raising a Sensory Smart Child, when it comes to strategies and toola more specific to the special needs in our home.

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Hannah,
Thanks for sharing your recommendations. My husband and I have found the energy type system to be much more useful and deep than the Meyers Briggs system. At least for us, the energy type information has made a much bigger difference in understanding who we are and who our kids are. Within Meyers Briggs, I am an ENFJ and my husband is an INFJ (at least that's what we tested as many years ago when we did that); those two classifications never helped me understand how we are actually so very different from each other. But I know some people do seem to get more out of the Meyers Briggs than we did. :)