WT 136: Help! My "Blue" Kid Is Making Me Melancholy
Organized, thoughtful, loyal, precise. Our "blue" kids will grow up to be incredible leaders one day. The only problem is ... today may not be that day. In this episode of Wire Talk, Karen and Sunny address questions from listeners all about the blue, or melancholy, temperament. From how to balance their need for quiet with your family's activities to addressing their mood swings without catering to them, this is one episode packed with practical advice for all you moms of little Eeyores!
Question 1: My blue son is incredibly self-righteous. He’s 10 years old, (he’s also the oldest) and he’s at that stage where I can see the tween just around the corner ...aka lots of attitude. He is always quick to point out the slightest injustice that is done to him, but when I point out that he often times does the same things (when he and his siblings are fighting for instance) he refuses to see that side of things. He gives very little grace to anyone (myself included) and it drives me NUTS! Any thoughts?
Karen's Answer: Blues are hard to see their faults. ☺ Usually they are pretty “good” children, and they do tend to be self-righteous. Honestly, what I found that worked was prayer. I think it is good to point out “when” they mess up at times, but also point out that pride comes before the fall. But, honestly, I really believe that only God can open their eyes to their own faults. Maybe dig up Bible stories of people that were prideful and how it affected them.
Question 2: How do I know when to push and when to leave them alone and give them their space? My son is 9 and we’ve ’ve recently started a new school, new soccer league and all the other Fall Firsts and I find it so exhausting with a blue child. He wants everything comfortable and predictable and it’s just not. I find his moodiness and negativity hard to navigate. I’m trying to point out all the positives and be understanding (I’m green) but at what point do you tell a blue just to “suck it up buttercup”? I try and give him perspective but he just seems to not be enjoying anything and seems Eeyore-ish. This is the first of many big transitions in the coming years and I’m just wondering how I can best set him up for success in the future.
Karen's Answer: Blue’s tend to be negative. No matter how GREAT of a day Taylor has, it could always be better. I learned years ago to stop trying to make him see the positive side of things. They just don’t. You can empathize with a Blue, and say things like, “I know change is hard,” “I understand you miss the old way,” or “It is normal for you to be sad”. But, you can also follow those statements with comments like, “Give yourself a little time and you will adjust” or, “When I am sad about a situation I try and think of one thing that I like, what is one thing that you like about your new school? Playground, bigger rooms, lunches are better? Maybe focus on that for a little while." Don’t allow his “moodiness” to bring the entire house down. Keep in mind, Blues control with their moods. The more you cater to that the more power you are giving him. I used to tell Taylor, “It is your choice son, you can be happy, and focus on what is good or you can be sad, but we are not changing. It is up to you the type of life you live. Try not to “argue” with your Blue to convince them to see things the way you do. It will only frustrate you more in the long run.
Question 3: Did you feel like you had to limit your blue’s activities and commitments? Between school and sports I feel like my son just needs to relax over the weekends and anytime I overcommit him with birthday parties, family outings, etc it seems to backfire on me. How do you explain this to friends and family who look at you funny when you explain your child needs to recharge over the weekend?
Karen's Answer: Blues do need time to recharge. They ALL do! My husband is 55 years old and very much blue, and he can only go so long with a full schedule, and then he needs to pull away from activities and get alone. In parenting you have to develop thick skin, and not care about what people are thinking about you, and this is a perfect example. Your first priority is your son and if you know he needs down time , then give it to him, and if people don’t understand, that is their issue, not yours.
Question 4: The problem we seem to have is differentiating the melancholy part from the teenage complaining, so to speak, and then, how do we teach him to try to find the good in things? I love his deep thinking, intelligent, organized self, but the Eeyore-like side gets ME a little melancholy!
Karen's Answer: I get it! I used to tell Taylor just what you just said, “Taylor, I love the way your mind thinks, how thoughtful and sensitive you are, how smart you are, and self-motivating you are. You do need to realize though that life is not perfect. Enjoy life.” I also would tell Taylor that we all have things we have to work on . I am Yellow and I don’t always like to do things that are hard, but I have to push myself because life is hard sometimes. He however, has to push himself on not being so negative all the time, and not to give into that negativism. Focus on your child’s strengths and parent from those instead of always looking at their weakness.
Question 5: How do you teach blues about humility since they are so detailed, logical and observant? Often times, they forget to submit to those in charge or in authority because they feel like they have the best, well thought out plan.
Karen's Answer: We struggled a lot with Taylor on this issue. We finally just told Taylor that he may have the “best” plan, but he needs to respect people in authority over him, because that is what God commands us to do. This concept took a long time for Taylor to “get”. Greg and I talk about this very principle in Parenting Together, our newest curriculum. Be patient, some topics take a long time to instill. And sometimes it is a heart issue.
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