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How to Speak So Your Grandchildren Will Listen

Speaking so your grandchildren will listen, is more about personality types than it is about the generation gap.

Many grandparents think their grandchildren don’t listen to what they are saying, because they don’t want to. That could be true. However, it could be they are not spoken to in a manner that is easily processed. Depending on the personality of the grandchild, grandparents may need to choose how they speak to get the best results.

Listening is one of the keys to building relationships within our families and with our friends. And for those we love dearly, such as our grandchildren, it is especially important to understand their communication styles.

Children Listen According to Personality

You may not think personality has anything to do with listening. But each person communicates differently and hears what you say to him according to their personality style of communication. Grandchildren are no different.

According to the LINKED® Personality system (and many others) there are four types of personalities. The four words that describe the LINKED Personalities are Mobilizer, Socializer, Stabilizer, and Organizer. Even the names give you a clue as to the personality traits.

Grandmother and grandchildren playing in the garden

Resources for Grandparents

Find fun and practical resources to help you draw closer to your grandchildren

Can You Spot Your Grandchild’s Personality?

Mobilizers are focused, direct, and to the point. If a task needs to be done, they focus on the goal and go full-speed ahead. They like to be in control. Mobilizer personalities are not easily discouraged and love a challenge. They make great leaders and independent thinkers. Hard work and exercise relaxes the Mobilizer personality. Their communication style is direct and straightforward.

The Socializer Personality is the life of the party. If something is not fun, it is more like work. An excellent storyteller, Socializers like to be the center of attention in any sized group. Going to a party, shopping, or out to lunch is their preferred way of relaxing. The communication style of a Socializer is fun and full of stories and often high volume.

The Stabilizer personality is your peacekeeper. They are not fond of chaos and love quiet. Stabilizers choose their words carefully in a conversation and love to feel respect and worthiness. When they want to relax, the Stabilizer settles down with a good book or to watch television.

The communication style of a Stabilizer is low key, calm, and unexcitable.

Organizer personalities love order in every area of their lives. The don’t like to be in large crowds. Organizers are great listeners and loyal friends. They want things done the right way the first time. Organizer personalities tend to think a lot, talk intentionally, and listen well. When an Organizer wants to relax, he or she seeks a quiet space with no others around. Long periods of relaxation are always welcome to the Organizer. The communication style of an Organizer is very thoughtful and intentional.

Grandchildren Listen, or Do They?

Grandparents must also realize what their communication styles are so that they can speak effectively to their grandchildren. For example, the calm Stabilizers and Organizers sometimes struggle with the directness of the Mobilizer grandparent or the frivolity of a Socializer grandparent.

Therefore, not only is important for a grandparent to understand their own personality, they must understand that of each of their grandchildren.

Speak So Your Children Will Listen

“Natalia, did you hear me say ‘quit biting your nails’?”

“I heard you. But I am nervous. I want to make an A on my science test and Mrs. Waldrop is going to post the grades tomorrow.”

Natalia’s Stabilizer personality had a hard time processing the directness of her grandmother’s statement. Had Grandmother asked Natalia very calmly to stop her nervous habit, she would have probably opened up more to Grandmother and they could have discussed Natalia’s nervousness and goals for her grades.

GiGi often reprimanded four-year-old Jake when it was time to put his toys away. Jake knew how to make a tremendous mess out of blocks, cars, and action figures. When it was time to put it all away, however, Jake didn’t like the process. Just because GiGi told him to clean up was not a good enough reason to make that happen. Jake was a Socializer personality and liked to have fun. It was great to get all the toys out and he played and created scenes with all his figures as they came out of the box. So when Gigi realized Jake’s fun-loving personality wanted to make a game out of everything, she had found the secret to having him help clean up.

“Jake, would you like to play just one more game?” GiGi asked. “Oh, yes, GiGi!”

“You take all the action figures and I am going to take all the cars and blocks and we’ll see who can finish putting their things away first. Let’s see who wins.”

“OK, GiGi, but what is the prize?”

GiGi thought for a minute. “How about we walk to the ice cream shop and the loser buys the winner’s favorite ice cream?”

“Yay! Let’s do it!”

A Story about Grandchildren Listening

Jake immediately started cleaning up the playroom. The room was filled with giggles. In no time, shouts were heard, “I won, I won.” Jake said as he jumped up and down. In just a few minutes GiGi and Jake were headed out the door to the ice cream shoppe.

Jake’s big sister was seven. Clara loved having things in order but it was often just too much trouble to keep them there. Easy-going Clara felt like her toys were easier to play with if she didn’t have to pull them out all over again.

One day Gigi walked into the playroom. Clara had all her favorite books strewn across the floor. “Clara, it’s time for supper. Would you please put your books back on the shelves? It is almost time to eat.”

“Oh, Gigi, I’ll just have to get them out again when we are done.” Clara’s Stabilizer personality dictated that she only do what was absolutely necessary when it came to putting toys and books back in their proper places.

“But won’t it be easier to find them if they are back on the shelf in their proper places?”

“Well, I guess so. But it will be more trouble to put them up and get them out again. Then you will tell me I have to put them up again. If I just leave them out while we eat, they will be waiting for me!”

“Yes, but often after supper we play a game or work a puzzle before we even think about the books again. Then you have two messes to clean up.”

“OK, I guess you are right.” Clara began picking up her books and soon had the playroom restored to its neat state.

Even the Youngest Grandchildren Will Listen

On the other hand, little Samuel was an Organizer personality, right on board for keeping things organized. Even though Samuel was only three-years-old, he knew where everything should go. When Grandmimi said it was time to pick up, Samuel immediately put his coloring books away and then started with the crayons. The blues went in the blue basket, yellows in the yellow, reds together in their basket, and so on. Grandmimi loved having Samuel keep the playroom straight because you could always rely on everything to be in its designated place. That’s why she bought Samuel baskets matching the color of his crayons.

Communicating with grandchildren, or any family member, becomes much easier when you understand their best method of communication. Knowing their personalities makes it easier to assure you are heard correctly when you speak.

You’ll be amazed at the improvement in your communication with your grandchildren and others around you will be when you have just a little personality knowledge. A little personality knowledge can go a long way to learning how your grandchildren listen!

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Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Thank you for committing to pray for the pre-born!

Sign up below for your free seven-day prayer guide. This daily guide will help give direction to your prayers for the pro-life movement. We will be praying with you! 

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