How to Deal with a Misbehaving Green Daughter

How to Deal with a Misbehaving Green Daughter

I’m a Gold and my husband is a Blue. We have two children, a Gold and a Blue, who are an absolute delight to parent; but I also have a four-year-old daughter who I think is Green. Frankly, she’s driving us crazy. She consistently walks to the beat of a different drummer, refusing to do what the rest of us are doing. It’s like she’s an alien who was sent here to probe and prod and discover everything that makes us upset. She won’t give up until she gets her way, often throwing a tantrum for hours on end. I’m afraid I’ve lost control and am now at my wits end.

— Linda from Boise, Idaho

Well Linda, it certainly sounds like you’ve got a handful. Your daughter’s behavior is quite characteristic of things extroverted Green children tend to do. Parenting a child that doesn’t share the primary color of at least one parent is invariably a perplexing, dismaying, frustrating experience for everyone, including the child.

Your description of her as an alien isn’t too far off the mark. She thinks, feels, and interacts in foreign and peculiar ways. However, she also feels like she was dropped onto a planet of aliens. Only 2-3% of the people on the earth are female Greens. No one she knows seems to share her color and because she doesn’t have a familial role model to follow she has to figure things out on her own. So unsurprisingly, as a natural scientist, she’s experimenting with a myriad of behaviors to discover what makes people tick — and what ticks them off. She’s probably not trying to be mischievous; she’s just trying to get her arms around her world. Until she figures out where she fits she’ll continue to be a little hellion.

Of course, as a Gold parent, for your sanity and for the protection of your child, you need to control the laboratory and set the rules by which experiments take place. Greens need a few operating parameters else they’ll blow up themselves and their loved ones. You can’t let your daughter run amuck and continue to disrupt your family life. So first things first, with your daughter’s input, set some simple behavioral rules and guidelines, with very clear consequences for disobedience, and stick to them like a bug on a windshield. You and your husband can share the disciplinarian duties, but neither one of you may deviate from the plan.

Furthermore, when she disobeys, don’t discipline her in front of other family members, including your spouse. Quietly take her out of her environment, speak with as much civility, clarity, and concision as you can muster, and calmly explain that she violated a rule. Teach her the penalty, and explain that she must now pay the price. If she already knows the penalty, ask her to explain it to you. Ask if this penalty is adequate or if it needs to be altered. Keep asking questions of this sort, until she seems engaged and committed to paying the penalty. Then let her execute the punishment without further ado. Don’t be austere or condescending, nor casual or lighthearted; just show focused concern with lots of eye contact. Furthermore, if the punishment can be levied in private — so other family members can’t see her error in judgment — she’ll save face and won’t appear so rebellious or aloof.

A good penalty is one that takes the values of the individual into consideration; as a result, Green penalties are quite a bit different than Gold, Orange, and Blue penalties. Punishments can be either positive or negative. A positive punishment causes unpleasantness by applying something undesirable. A negative punishment causes unpleasantness by removing something desirable. So whether it’s positive or negative, the consequence always has to be undesirable to the child. Bad behavior simply cannot pay off. What is undesirable to a Green is often desirable to another color.

What are some positive punishments for a Green? What does your daughter hate doing? Being lectured to? Having to do something repetitive and boring? Participating in a group hug? Doing something they aren’t skilled at in public? Being forced to play with a group of children or participate on a sports team? Having to sit still and chitchat? Ask her. She’ll readily tell you what she hates. Write them down and use them judiciously.

What are some negative punishments? What does she want that you can temporarily take away? Staying up late? Choosing her own clothes? Prized toys or objects? Time alone to think? Objects to investigate? Access to favorite books, movies, music, video games, or television shows? Answers to questions? Acknowledgment of special talents and skills?

Since punishment only tells the child what not to do, it always needs to be followed-up with a lovingly delivered lesson on what to do. For a Green, this lesson doesn’t need to be overtly delivered or commented on by a parent — it can be self-taught. Greens prefer to connect the dots and draw their own conclusions. The only thing you can try to do is make sure those conclusions are reasonable and accurate. They need rational guides and mentors — not emotion-filled authority figures that criticize and harangue.

Finally, keep in mind that you’re not a Green. As a result you’ll probably find these parenting tips to be counter-intuitive at best and wrong at worst. But the key is to parent the way your child needs to be parented, not the way you prefer to do it. That will make all the difference in the world!

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