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Behavioral Style Analysis – The Parent Trap – Part 2: The Parents

July 28th, 2010

Last post we discussed how behavioral style analysis is an instinctive part of parenting – at least the observational skill, if not the vocabulary and structure. In the discussion we mentioned that the parent’s own behavior profile can indicate a tendency to “side” with one child over another if that child’s communication preferences are driven by a similar behavior style as the parent’s style. It is important to realize that behaviors are not necessarily inherited. Just because Mom is a High D, doesn’t mean that her kids will share that behavioral emphasis.

A parent’s style might match one child, but not another. On the one hand this similarity might make for a strong bond of empathy with the one child, but on the other hand could lead to behavior-based communication problems with the other. Stress will induce different communication issues among people with differing DISC profiles, regardless of whether the relationship is between parent and child, siblings, or among co-workers.

What if the parent’s DISC behavior differs from all the children? Imagine a High C father with a High D daughter and one son who is a high S and another who is a high I. The father values credibility, procedures and attention to detail, the daughter is bold and authoritative, one son is gregarious and demonstrative, the other is passive, but resistant to change. So what happens when each of these kids breaks their curfew? The father is irate because of the disobedience and disrespect for established rules, He’s perhaps overly critical of the excuses: well not in the daughter’s case because as a High D she offers no excuses – simply states what her objectives in staying out late were and has difficulty understanding why they are an issue. The High I son stayed out late to curry favor with his friends, he’s extremely apologetic and willing to make amends with his father, because that’s who he is in front of right now, but he is likely to bend to the peer pressure again should the occasion arise. The High S son on the other hand probably only stayed out past curfew because of some unusual stress or necessity – it’s not in his nature to break routine – his father’s frustration is only compounding an already distressed state.

Of course this is a hypothetical scenario, but the point is that for all of us, behavioral patterns can lead to very different perspectives on a given situation. Parents that are aware of this can provide guidance that is aligned with the child’s behavior instead of carrying an expectation based on the parent’s own DISC profile. By recognizing the daughter’s competitiveness and boldness, the one son’s political behavior, and the other’s tendency to be non-demonstrative, he will be on the path to attaining the insight to temper his initial over-critical response with one adapted to each child’s individual DISC style.

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