Heather Bellamy interviews Hettie Brittz about 'Growing Kids With Character', and how you can identify your child's temperament and parent accordingly.
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Hettie: I believe in intelligent and brilliant design of children. There is a deposit in how they were made and created that leads them to what they, ultimately, will do to make a difference in the world. So the child who is naturally nurturing needs opportunities to nurture. And when parents do the 'Tall Trees Kid's Profile' there will be tips on how to use those natural strengths to shape their children's gifts into what will be their contribution to the world. So the natural strong leader, does not need the kind of boundaries where they never get an opportunity to make decisions. They need opportunities to choose, to lead and even to make decisions that will affect their parents.
It's an interesting combination: making sure kids don't think the world revolves around them, but at the same time giving them opportunities to express their strengths and their gifts.
Heather: How did you discover and develop all these different profiles?
Hettie: When my daughter was born I thought that we had a wonderful relationship, but when my son came along, two and a half years later, my daughter exhibited behaviours that were very concerning to me. She said things like, "I want my little brother to go back into your tummy." Eventually I took her to a therapist to have a look whether there was something wrong emotionally. This therapist helped me understand that my daughter saw all of the behaviours I exhibited towards my son as things she desperately needed, but didn't get from me as a mum. She sent me home with a book about personality types and I started reading it and a world opened up to me. But I didn't like the labels. I didn't like the boxing in of personality. I felt it was more fluid and there were many combinations and sides to it. So I started reading up about it a lot, and at the same time I was working at a centre for traumatised children, as a therapist, and I saw how children would open up when you have the right key to their hearts. So it was a combination of a literature study, of what's been written about temperament over the centuries, but also the observation of how important it is to meet children where they are. I started writing these things down and it developed into a course. In the meantime, I've had colleagues come on board who have helped me with research and to develop these profiles and to train people to understand them.
Heather: So, coming back to the book, why have you written the book?
Hettie: I wrote the first version of 'Growing Kids With Character', about eight years ago, because I wanted to stop travelling and speaking so much. I had three young kids and my husband had a singing career, so he was travelling with his band and I was travelling speaking. And I thought if I just put this all in a book, people will read the book and leave me alone. But it didn't work that way. It catapulted everything into a bigger ministry and more people coming on board. But the desire was to make it easier for parents. I was a keen parent; I wanted children; I was an attentive mum, and yet I had a very strained relationship with my daughter. So I thought there must be an easier way for the parent who wants to love, but just doesn't know how. That's what I hope 'Growing Kids' will help parents do.
Heather: If people want to get your book, learn more about what you do, or do one of your courses, how can they do that?
Hettie: 'Growing Kids' is available on Amazon and also in bookstores. If people want to connect with me they can reach me at hettiebrittz.com. A lot of our parenting material is also available at evergreenparenting.co.za.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
View all articles by Heather Bellamy
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