Child psychologist: The 6 most ‘extraordinary’ types of kids—and how parents can raise them to be successful
Every parent is capable of raising happy, healthy and emotionally grounded kids. But many struggle along the way.
In my two decades of experience as a child psychologist, I’ve found that when parents aren’t attuned to their child’s temperament and unique traits, they fail to honor and celebrate their kid’s authentic self.
There are six most extraordinary and gifted types of kids. Your child may be more of one than the others, or a mix of all. Knowing their type will strengthen your relationship with each other and help them understand themselves better.
1. The Anxious Exploder
Anxious Exploders are often fussy, irritable and get triggered by the slightest thing.
Their beauty is that they’re highly sensitive and porous. But this means they tend to absorb the anxiety around them. And what to do they do with all of it? They explode!
Parenting tip: Be grounded, firm and calm. If you become reactive, either in anger or anxiety, it can set off a tsunami of emotions.
Praise them for their abilities to process their environment, but teach them to create the solace they need: “When you feel nervous, close your eyes and repeat to yourself, ‘I am safe, I am home, and I am going to be okay.'”
2. The Hyperactive Explorer
Hyperactive Explorers can’t sit still and are and never where you last left them.
These kids are often labeled as “troublesome” by parents and teachers because they can be overwhelmingly active in their mind and body. But their superpower is that they are incredibly curious and engaged.
Parenting tip: Hyperactive Explorers need to be honored and not shamed for their passionate spirit.
Show them unconditional acceptance so that they can accept themselves in a world that may repeatedly shun them: “I admire you for your creativity and imagination. Your different ways of thinking can help you do amazing things.”
3. The Overpleaser
Overpleasers are like butter — soft and pliable, easy to mold and shape — and they are the perfect prey for parents who have a strong need for control.
They fill in gaps, take over chores, and get gold stars. But because they’re eager to help, they often overstep and take over parental responsibilities, becoming the “parentified” adult in the home.
Parenting tip: Honor and teach them how to protect their boundaries.
Remind them that their needs come first: “You are a giver, and you may encounter many who will keep taking from you. Remember that it’s okay to say ‘no.'”
4. The Dreamer-Recluse
Dreamer-Recluse kids tend to be shy and introverted, and can struggle with social and conversational skills.
You may often catch them staring into space, doodling in their notebook, or spending so much time alone that you wonder if they’re even in the house.
Parenting tip: Society may try to tell them they should be the opposite, that they should be more extroverted.
Help them feel secure and highlight their strengths: “Don’t let people tell you how to be. Remember, those who are able to be by themselves are strong people. I admire you just the way you are.”
5. The Rebel Nonconformist
Rebel Nonconformists have the will of an ox. They won’t comply until they’re convinced it’s something they wish to do.
I know how challenging these kids can be. My daughter, Maia, is a Rebel, and she has the type of confidence that makes her unafraid of authority.
Parenting tip: These kids need to feel respected for their determination.
Release control and judgment: “I love your ability to follow your own voice and not be influenced by popular opinions. However, don’t fight rules simply for the sake of fighting, or you will burn yourself out.”
6. The Happy-Go-Lucky
These kids are always laughing and in a good mood. They’re not fussy, demanding or bossy.
The only downside is that they can be too relaxed and seem unmotivated. As a result, some parents may perceive them as not being ambitious enough.
Parenting tip: What parents don’t realize is that Happy-Go-Lucky kids are actually the gurus of living in the present.
Celebrate their positive approach to the world: “You always bring such peace and joy into every situation. Preserve this beat, because it’s a lost rhythm that more of the world need to adopt.”
Dr. Shefali Tsabary, PhD, is a child psychologist and bestselling author of “The Parenting Map,” “The Conscious Parent,” and “The Awakened Family.” She received her PhD from Columbia University and is a wisdom teacher who integrates Eastern spirituality with Western psychology. An expert in family dynamics and relationships, she is also the founder of the Conscious Parenting Coaching Institute. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.