One-Size-Fits-All Actually Fits Very Few

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I had a “ColorWorks is awesome!” moment this weekend. I was booked as the keynote speaker for a team of special ops service men and their amazing families. On the plane to North Carolina I found myself seated next to a gentleman who was deeply engaged in a parenting book. When I boarded the plane he was already seated, headphones on, tapping his foot rhythmically while sipping a latte. He would occasionally smile or even chuckle out loud as he came across a passage which probably reminded him of a parenting situation he had encountered with his own children.

As a parenting coach, this scene was heartwarming to watch. Here was a dad settled in for 3 hours of alone time (and as a parent we all know how rare those moments are) and he was choosing to spend his precious free time learning more about his children. It was a great reminder of two things: first, we are all in the proverbial parenting boat together and second, we are all striving to gain insight into our children’s minds.

We all approach parenting from a unique perspective which is based on a combination of our personality type and our life experiences. And our children behave in predictable patterns based on a similar combination of their own personality type and their limited life experiences. After talking to my seatmate for a few minutes, I determined that his three children were most likely three different first color types. After he described the area struggles with each child I could also tell that he was a different first color type from all three of his kids. No wonder he was seeking help!

I had previously read the book he was currently reading and knew it was a “one-size-fits-all” parenting book. I listened as he described in frustrated tones that he already knew from past experiences that the parenting skills the book was advocating would not work on two of his children as he had already tried them with little or no success. I assured him that I understood his frustration completely! For background information I am a first color Orange raised by a Gold single parent who used Gold language and disciplinary tactics trying to morph me into a little Gold. So I completely understood how frustrated this dad was trying to guide his children to make better choices, yet constantly feeling his tactics fell short time and again. When Shannon and I present to large groups we make a point to inform parents that the majority of parenting books are written by first or second color Golds teaching parents that Gold parenting skills are the only/best way to help children fit into an educational system and larger society inundated with Gold values. But I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way.

At ColorWorks, we strive to help parents understand that a “one size fits all” approach just does not work. The one exception to this rule is if you are a Gold adult raising a first color Gold child. If not, I am here to tell you that most parenting books will leave you disappointed and frustrated. While the skills conveyed in these parenting books might work temporarily, your children will quickly move beyond the age of intimidation or simply accepting “Because I’m the parent and I said so” as an answer. Often parents perceive they are not coaching their child to be the best version of their individual personality type using a “one size fits all” parenting approach, instead these tactics simply teach children how to play what we at ColorWorks call “The Gold Game.” Please know that I am not criticizing Golds in this blog post at all! My daughter, sister, and father are all lovely, accomplished Golds who are successful because of–not despite–their personality type. But as an Orange, their approach just doesn’t work for me. I spent the majority of my tween and teen years thinking “What’s wrong with me?” and “Why can’t I do anything right?” As an adult I now have years of experience training and coaching personality types and I understand I felt that way because Gold “right” looks very different from Orange “right” (or Green or Blue “right”).

On the plane to my conference I realized this: we might live in a Gold dominated world, but that does not erase the fact that we are all uniquely hardwired for different skills and natural behaviors. Developing the skills as a parent to encourage your child to achieve their full potential based on their personality type will continue to elude parents who only seek a “one size fits all’ approach. Let the personality experts at ColorWorks help you become the best parent possible and help you gain a deeper understanding of who your child is, no matter what color type they are.

Written By: Rebecca Bockart

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