by Michael Holland

As fathers, we race through our days, slaying the beasts in the wilderness to create a safe home at night.  Sometimes we’re so busy protecting our kids that we forget to take the time to actually see how they engage with the environment surrounding them. More importantly, we sometimes forget to watch for the ways we can best enable them to learn from and leverage their natural inclinations.

Every kid is a unique individual. She has her own behavioral “DNA” which drives her preferences on how she likes to play and what motivates her. Paying attention to a kid’s preferences (and your own) can help you to communicate and structure life events in a way to make your child as successful as possible.


  • Stop – Slow down. Take a few moments to focus on your kid’s behaviors.
  • Look – Look for “cues.” When you are talking, look at her body language and other behavioral cues. What triggers action? What slows her down? When does she become resistant?  When she is interacting with her friends or siblings, what do you see?
  • Listen – Listen to your kid’s responses. Listen to the words and more. What is she telling you beyond the words?

The more you can understand the uniqueness of each of your kids, the more you can structure situations to tap into their potential and provide better guidance as they work through challenges at school and at home.  If you take a few moments to read the “cues” your kids give you, you can increase their success – and yours.