As parents we know that our children are born into this world exactly as they are; their natures are already there, and it has nothing to do with us. Having a sense of who our kids are helps us be better parents, helps us relate to them as they need, and helps the family create an inclusive, stable structure.
Your perception of your child’s nature may change over time, which is pretty common, or you may nail it right away. Here we’ve attempted to capture the essence of each nature so that you can identify the essence of your child. It’s not always about distinct behaviors but the underlying attitudes and distinct perspective of each nature, something we’ve illustrated using rules and how each nature relates to them.
For kids ages 11-18 we’ve created a confidential online survey to find their natures. For younger kids we have developed programs, games and activities which give parents and educators a sense of each child’s nature.
The first nature is the Taker/Reactor, and kids with this nature are reactive and instinctive, often acting before thinking. Taker kids play hard, can be impulsive, and seek out stimulation to which they can react. They like to win, can sometimes be needy, and tend to create chaos. They find a way to get what they need, sometimes taking from others or using their relationship currency to get others to give something to them. They stand out in situations that call for being highly instinctive like playing music or sports, and they can also be highly motivated and resilient. Reactor kids appreciate rules because they can react to them.
Spender/Feeler kids are prone to emotional ups and downs. When they’re up they are often excited, confident, and full of energy. When they’re down they tend to be drained, spent, and sometimes immobilized. They can be dramatic, sentimental, and sensitive. If they have treats, they’ll eat them all and just go without until they get more. Their decisions and motivations depend on their feelings. Feelers like to have fun! Feelers relate to rules based on how they feel about them and may try to bend them or have some fun with them accordingly.
Kids who are Earners/Workers are always busy in one way or another. They are comfortable with constant work though sometimes that work can be mental and hard to see. Often sharp, analytical, and eager, Earner kids are motivated by the satisfaction they get as a result of their efforts, and a little recognition goes a long way. They can also be rigid and so intense they experience a high degree of stress. Earners appreciate rules because they provide a framework within which to do, strive, and work.
Saver kids like to savor, gather, relax, and save. They may have collections, save their favorite candy until it’s too yucky to eat, and often prefer to be independent. Typically cautious and composed, Saver kids prefer to recharge alone. They like to accumulate things and don’t like to throw anything away, sometimes developing an unhealthy attachment to stuff. They often want the biggest serving, (if they can’t have the whole thing), avoid change, and take on the role of the family, classroom or social savior. Savers like the rules because they create security and comfort.
Investor kids are often rather resourceful and able to use what they’ve got to create more of what they want. They usually seek out gratification and are enthusiastic, productive, and clever. They often appear to be hard-working, but unlike the Worker, they are motivated by joy and like to revel in their successes. Sometimes erratic, daring, or thrill-chasers, Investor kids are all about the experience, what they put into it and what they get out of it. Rules provide a structure within which Investors can create, invent, construct.
Levers prefer things to be easy and are often excellent team-players. They are the kids who make collaborative projects seem like a good idea because they are so good in a group! They are able to give and receive help. They can sense opportunities but may manipulate or exploit others in order to get the most out of those opportunities without doing much of the work. Because they want everything to be as easy as possible, they aren’t always motivated to try or learn things that don’t come naturally to them unless they understand that doing so will ultimately make their lives easier or better in some way. Rules are okay with a Lever as long as they don’t make life more confusing or difficult which only causes a Lever great frustration.
Giver kids are able to share and have a great deal of compassion for others and the world around them. They like to share so much they sometimes can’t see that others don’t want what they try to share! They are natural leaders even if they can’t quite articulate where they’re going. They are often highly intuitive, generous, and thoughtful with an ability to envision what comes next, even in a complicated game of pretend. They may be quite gifted in a certain area, so much that other areas of their lives can be ignored or underdeveloped. Rules help Givers determine how to be of benefit to others.