Imagine a football or netball team with a team full of goal kickers or shooters. Your initial thought may be of a strong team that can meet the objective of the game which is to score goals. However, on second thought, you may start to doubt the ability of the team to get the ball from the middle to the goal area.
In my work with children I use this analogy to describe teamwork. It takes a team of different strengths and abilities to get the job done whether its scoring goals, presenting a group project or putting on a show to mum and dad in the backyard.
I use the following model of four different animals to assist kids identify and develop their strengths in team work.
Echidna are results people. They prefer being in charge and have strong ideas and opinions. They are achievement and goal oriented and strong influencers in getting things done.
Brolga are “people” people. They express opinions and emotions easily and prefer strong interaction with people. They are lively and have many interests.
Bower Birds are the numbers people. They like things to be well organized and thought out, preferring specific projects and activities that can be systematically worked on. They enjoy putting structure to ideas and are thorough and careful about details.
Quokka are feelings people. They have a concern for good relationships and like being part of cordial and friendly groups. They seek stability and predictability and more than likely stay out of the limelight.
Of course, people are not easily categorised and while we may have a dominant style, we probably have secondary styles that influence our behaviours. Each style also has strengths and weaknesses. While an Echidna is decisive and gets things done, they can sometimes be bossy and domineering. It also depends on the situation as well and our confidence. It is important to note that there is no one best style. Going back to our analogy of the sports team, we need a variety of different strengths to win the game.
As a parent, what does all this mean? These types of classification give you clues on the types of support and parenting strategies will be effective for your child. Its another tool in your toolbox.
For example, Echidnas' with their determined but sometimes bossy ways can be given a role where they mentor or help another person to do a job. They may need assistance to not take over and encourage others to join in.
Brolga can lack focus and follow through because they get distracted easily. A successful strategy may include rewarding them for completing projects or tasks.
Bowerbird while persistent can be indecisive. They may benefit from a parent who supports them to take risks and creating opportunities for messy play is a good strategy.
Quokka are notorious people pleasers and may often do what other people want so they don’t rock the boat. Assisting your child to unearth their passions and identify what they want will assist them to find a voice and their own direction.
What animal are you and your children?What parenting strategies work for you? Please feel contact us or email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a copy of the survey.