I just returned from the National Speakers Association (NSA) and they announced that they are re-branding themselves to reflect how the speakers industry has changed since it was founded 40 years ago. We will now go by Platform (with the o looking like a microphone). This is very important because the membership has expanded beyond keynote speakers to trainers, online course providers, teachers who go beyond the classroom and most importantly to the many speakers internationally who call us their family, their community. At this last convention 20+ countries were represented. What we all have in common is that we use the spoken word (and many of us also us the written word) to share our messages. Some speak on diversity. Some on leadership. Some on sales.
And then there is me – The Pediatric Profiler. I help people understand challenging children and adolescents. I have realized that what I am doing is working to re-brand these children and adolescents to realize more of their strengths, understanding where they struggle, and how to help them to succeed in life.
Part of re-branding is to understand the hows and whys of their behaviors. Looking at temperament, the children/adolescents who are slow to adapt to change are literal, concrete, explicit and rule bound (frequently as they interpret the rules). They will be compliant as long as they understand “why” they are being asked/told to do something, why at that exact moment rather than a little bit later when they finish what they are doing, and why you want it done a certain way, if another way appears to make more sense to them. When adults deal with these “why” questions, however, they label (brand) these children/adolescents as argumentative, oppositional, and/or disrespectful.
If we were to re-brand these behaviors we may want to try “conscientious” because they want to be sure that they are doing the task at the most appropriate time. Or “respectful” since they want to be sure that they are the correct person to do the task. And then there is “competent” by making sure that they can complete the task to the best of their ability.
My goal is to create a groundswell of change in terms of how we approach and label children and adolescents. To do this we have to understand the 3 layers of people (which starts in childhood). These layers are temperament profile, any neurodevelopmental disorders that they may have (of which one person in 6 has one of the 6), and the role of any mental health problems and the interactions that they experience in their homes, schools, and communities.
I invite you to join me in this change. As you consider a label for a child, determine if it is a negative/derogatory label or a neutral/positive label. If you are not sure, check it out in a thesaurus under antonyms. If you are not sure how to do this and you or your organization would like to learn how and more strategies to help challenging children, just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.