Surviving the Summer with Your Kids

Color Code Tips For Parenting

Lately, my Facebook friends and relatives who have small children have been bemoaning the summer ahead. “What am I going to do with my children!!!?” they ask (with multiple exclamation points and frowny faces.)

My heart goes out to them. For example: I LOVE my grandkids. LOVE them. Really. LOVE them. I spoil them, they amuse me, and I know I am not responsible for building character— exponentially increasing my enjoyment. But, I must confess that most times I am relieved to see them bundled up safely in their little car seats and headed for home.

These poor parents do not have the luxury of sending their kids home. They are home. They have to keep the kids entertained, referee fights, and kiss owies—twenty-four/seven. No small feat.

If you have more than one child, it is likely that each has his own very distinct personality. Each color has it’s own set of needs and wants. So how do you handle situations where each child has a different driving core motive?

Here are a few helpful hints to get you through the summer days.

It’s a beautiful summer morning and the kids are stirring. You tell them to get dressed and come down to breakfast. This is the first potential hotspot and can set the tone for the entire day.

Red | If you want a smooth start to the day, provide your Red with a choice of what to wear. Reds want to be in charge of their own decisions—they’re okay if they think the choice is theirs. Starting the inevitable debate this early really isn’t worth it.

Blue | No problem here. Your Blue child has already figured out what to wear (most likely for the week) and is ready to go. Be sure to show your appreciation.

White | Don’t be surprised to see your White child wearing the same clothes, dirty or not, that he had on yesterday. He won’t show offense if you tell him to change.

Yellow | Really…how much effort do you want to expend trying talk her out of the Cinderella dress and yellow polka-dotted rain boots? Trust me. You won’t be judged. We get it.

You ask your children to clean their rooms before they go out to play. I think we all agree that chores are an important routine. Sadly, teaching your child responsibility is often more work for you than doing the job yourself. Hang in there.

Red | If your Red can’t manipulate a sibling into cleaning the room for him, he will do the job efficiently, with his eye on the prize—to do what he wants to do. He may try to challenge your authority to make him clean his room. Remember to always stay firm. You are the boss.

Blue | Blues can be perfectionists. They are organized. If they have their own room, this works out fine. If they have to share their room with a sibling, this can be enormously frustrating. Try to find a way to acknowledge the frustration, while emphasizing the roommate’s rights to do things their way.

Whites | Whites are procrastinators. If, for instance, while cleaning, they happen to find a book that interests them, they will lay down on their unmade bed a read the book. They might tell themselves they will clean the room after they finish one more chapter.

Yellows | Your sweet little Yellow wants to play. Having to work is a huge obstacle. Before you give her the thumbs-up, check under beds and in closets. In her haste to be done, she will shove the clutter in any hidey-hole she can find. When caught, she will insist she has no idea how (whatever) got there.

Playtime is finally here and you mistakenly think that you have some much needed time for yourself. I’m sorry to have to tell you that the fun has only just begun.

Red | Reds are very independent. You won’t have to worry about entertaining them. When they are young, you might find them giving their dolls or army men the what-for. When playing with others, they will quickly become the leader of the pack. Because of your Red’s bossiness, you might be called on (frequently) to referee disputes.

Blue | Blues are the organizers. They will be the ones forming clubs, putting on plays, and planning everyone’s summer. Remember that Blues easily get their feelings hurt, and they will need a lot of comfort from you when it happens. Don’t be impatient…they aren’t just tattle-tells, but genuinely feel the emotional pain.

White | Whites are content to continue reading the book they picked up while cleaning their room. While your White child gives you blessed relief from the drama of the other colors, he is who worries you most. He seems shy and withdrawn and you spend a good deal of time trying to encourage him to be more social. Don’t waste your time worrying…he’ll be fine. Accept his individuality.

Yellow | Yellows love to get out and do things. They play well with others. The problem you will have with your Yellow child is that they are bored easily and turn to you to entertain them. They will follow you around with their constant chatter, complaining of their boredom. There will be times you wish they had come with a mute button.

When your kids are together 24/7 without the structure a day at school provides, you can expect some bickering, tattling, and overall dissention in the ranks. When discipline is necessary remember that each child responds differently.

Red | Reds are insensitive and argumentative. They will vehemently deny wrongdoing. Speak to them from an authoritative position, but never embarrass them by reprimanding them in public. No matter how angry you are, discuss the problem in a logical manner. Remember that while they put up a strong front, they have insecurities too. Don’t let them fool you. They need a hug every once in a while too.

Blue | More often than not, you won’t need to punish a Blue. They will do it for you. Blues like to follow rules and be obedient. However, if they feel they have been wronged, watch out. They can be self-righteous and unforgiving. Emphasize that your Blue child is not the judge and jury of other children’s behavior.

White | Chances are, if your white child does anything wrong (big if) he might mumble and grumble, but he will eventually agree to anything to get the confrontation over. Be careful to react gently but logically, because they may get too hung up on how you said something as opposed to what you actually said.

Yellow | Yellows are difficult to discipline. They try to be contrite, but really, their attention is elsewhere. Yellows don’t dwell on problems. The best way to teach a Yellow is to withhold fun for a finite time. No idle threats. If you say it…do it.

I hope these insights into your child’s driving core motive will help you to at least understand your child’s behavior and how to best handle a variety of situations.

Now, here is some motherly advice:

Encourage your children to go out and play. These days, kids always have a screen in front of them, whether it’s the television, iPad, computer, hand-held games, or cell phone. Limit their screen time—and while you’re at it, limit yours as well. Go to the park and play, plant a garden, find free family activities, take up letterboxing. Most importantly, create memories. Take it from me. Your child might grumble at missing an episode of I, Carly, but you will love it when ten years from now, you hear them saying, “Remember when…”

Happy summer.


Teresa Glenn has been working with the Color Code since 2006, where her main focus is product development. She has been in the publishing and product development field for over 20 years. Teresa is a core Red with a strong Yellow secondary.


Ask the Expert

This month, I’m choosing to not respond to any one question in particular, but rather to address a reoccurring theme that comes up in a lot of questions I receive.

The question is usually something like this:”I am a Red and my partner is a Blue, and sometimes I really don’t know what to do help him/her. My partner loves to talk with me about his/her problems, but the minute I try to help identify a solution, he/she is frustrated with me. Maybe this is the logical side of me, but why would you ask somebody for help if you really don’t want it in the first place???”

It is actually perfectly illustrated in the following video you may have seen on our Facebook page. Check this out, and then I have some more commentary for you:


Don’t you just love it? I think it’s such a classic Red/Blue scenario. I have to laugh about it in spite of the completely real and frustrating problem that it is for the people involved.Please forgive my insensitivity. Let’s just blame it on my irreverent, Yellow sense of humor.

I think it helps to understand some of the dynamics at play:

  1. First of all – this is not a gender issue. Our data shows that there are just as many Red women in the population as Red men, and that there are just as many Blue men int he population as Blue women. Please keep that in mind as you continue reading.
  2. For a Blue, it’s about being understood – not being “fixed”. Sometimes the best thing that you can do is just listen, hear them out, and try to empathize.
  3. For a Red, dynamic #1 makes no sense at all because the way that they show that they care is by helping solve problems. Why in the world would we just talk about them???
  4. Blues want to solve their own problems, but they want you to care and to be involved. An approach like, “What do you think I can do to help?” is going to be much better received than, “Here’s what we’re going to do”.
  5. Reds can be too impatient to wait for the Blue to work through it on their own, which makes it nearly impossible for them to express much sensitivity. In a Red’s mind, when the answer is staring you in the face and you choose to ignore it – you deserve to be in the position you’re in.
  6. Blues are approaching this from an emotional perspective and are wanting to feel the connection from their partner.
  7. Reds are approaching this from a strictly logical perspective and are wanting to move from problem to solution as efficiently as possible.

So which is the correct approach? Well, it probably depends on whether you are Red or Blue. 🙂

The best way to deal with these situations though is to exercise the “Platinum Rule”, because the “Golden Rule” probably isn’t going to cut it.

We can’t just do unto others what we would have them do unto us. That implies that we are trying to get them to do things our way.

Instead, we need to do unto others as they would have us do unto them.

So yes, you Reds heard me. It’s time to be more sensitive even though it goes against your grain.

You Blues should be hearing me as well. Try to be more logical when dealing with your Red partner and not demand that they wallow with you in the depth of your emotional struggles. Remember, if they didn’t care, they wouldn’t be trying to help solve your problems.

To all of you who find yourselves in these situations, please note that a little awareness about what makes the other person “tick” goes a long, long way here. That’s why MOTIVE is so powerful. Once you get it, it’s a lot easier to readily understand and accept each other. From there, add a small dose of humility and a willingness to work on the relationship, and these little things we get hung up on will come up a lot less frequently.

Very best of living,

Jeremy Daniel
Training Director
Color Code International


Jeremy Daniel (Core Color: Yellow) has been working with the Color Code since 1998 in various capacities from training in the field personally with Dr. Taylor Hartman to designing customized corporate solutions and new training programs for various industries.  To ask about Jeremy’s training or speaking services, please email and inquiry to jeremy@colorcodetraini