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Discipline Differences: Who is Out of Energy?

Energy: Parenting requires tons of it. Sometimes, our children seem to have more than we do. Being out of energy means being out of patience, whether we are 4 or 40 years old.

The Kidtelligent system provides clues as to what energizes–and drains–you and your children. First understanding your own needs–and then those of each child–can help you “know when to hold and when to fold” in discipline issues. For example, think through which of these descriptions best fits those in your family:

You’d rather be with others than alone–or you’d rather be doing something than sitting still. Reading can make you antsy–as can silence. If you have a problem, you’d rather talk through it with someone you trust than brood over it. And, people usually know what you’re thinking because you tell them.

It’s easy for you to spend long blocks of time by yourself–in fact, too much time with other people can make you feel like your head is stuffed with bananas! Sometimes you find yourself searching for what to say and meanwhile the conversation has moved beyond you. You try to work through problems alone.

The first describes people who prefer Extraversion–those who are energized by action and interaction. The second describes people who prefer Introversion–those who are energized by solitude and reflection. Both need people and alone time; the difference is how many and for how long!

Now take these preferences into discipline. An extraverted child, all revved up by a great day with friends in preschool, buzzes in and around an introverted parent who is drained by a full day with clients at the office. Who is out of energy? The parent. To avoid snapping, figure out how to get 15 minutes to yourself. We used to take a bit of silent reading time–I’d rub my extraverted child’s back to help her sit still for awhile with a book as I recuperated. I also saved their limited TV time for those moments.

Or, what if an introverted child has spent the day at school and then day care? He or she may be too exhausted to remember household rules. Plan ahead to help these children recover. Is 30 minutes alone possible before they have to help set the table or go through homework with you? Can they “zone out” alone with Legos as you redirect a sibling to some other activity?

In other words, whose need for energy is greater? Balancing the needs of the extraverted and introverted members of your household can help lessen the consequences of interacting when we’re tired. Planning “Energy Boosters” in advance is one way to do it, thus avoiding clashes that lead to the need for discipline!

By Jane Kise, Ed.D. – Educational Advisor and Consultant, 
Jane  writes an insightful post every Tuesday for Kidtelligent. Jane is an educational consultant, specializing in teambuilding, coaching, and school staff development. She is also the coauthor of more than 20 books. Jane’s website  is