Every Wednesday, I’ll post about multiple intelligences so we can better understand children and why they do what they do.

Are you self smart? Do you know children or teens who have self-smart strengths? This month can be hard for them.

Watch for emotional outbursts and whiney behavior that may indicate their needs aren’t being met. What do self-smart people need?

They need time to think of ideas and answers to questions. They think by reflecting and they often go deep within themselves. They compare answers and ideas, looking for the one that just feels right.

  • Ask them for input earlier than you might others so they have additional thinking time.
  • It may help to ask questions separately. For example, don’t ask about both the movie they want to see and where they want to eat dinner. It might be easier for them to process and answer one question and then the other. Be patient and refrain from quickly demanding an answer or decision. It won’t help.

They need privacy. They need their private thoughts respected. Their thoughts and feelings are very important to them. They just think it’s not necessary to share them with others.

  • When you do need to know what they’re thinking and feeling, explain why you do. Teach them it’s your role and responsibility to guide their thoughts and emotional responses and you can’t do that if they keep them a secret. You have every right to ask them questions; it’s the way you ask them and what you ask them that will make a difference.
  • Help well-meaning visiting relatives understand that all their questions about your son’s goals, feelings, and school experiences may actually contribute to his silence rather than get him talking. If they stay available and love them, most self-smart children will eventually share. Also, help the relatives understand that when a child doesn’t share much, it doesn’t mean they don’t love them.
  • Affirm your children when they do converse. Especially with your encouragement, they can learn to use their people-smart abilities at times like this. You can do the same when it honors others.

They need peace, quiet, and space. These are reasons the loud, hectic, crowded Christmas season can be stressful for self-smart people. If children have to share their rooms or just have many more people at dinner than they’re used to, stress can build. Not having physical space and emotional peace and quiet can steal the joy of all the celebrations they participate in.

  • Allow your daughter to spend ten minutes here and there in the privacy of her room when the people overwhelm her.
  • Don’t worry if children go off by themselves for awhile when relatives are over. They’re not necessarily being unfriendly or distant. They are, perhaps, responding to their self-smart need for peace, quiet, and space. If you need to do this, too, do it. (Later this month, 16 people will be at my brother’s home for several days. I guarantee you I’ll be stealing away by myself every once in awhile.)
  • Sometimes the number of parties and hanging around during receptions after concerts and such gets to be too much. To make it through weeks of busyness, it might be best to skip a few things to create more opportunities for quiet.

Self-smart people can enjoy all the festivities involved this month and early next month. They can contribute great thoughts and insights. This is more likely when their needs for time, privacy, peace, quiet, and space are considered. Blessings as you do.