My 16-Year Old Orange Daughter (Part II)

The rest of (an edited) feedback for a the parents from last month:

Yes, your daughter seeks out information – that’s the oxygen to keep the drama going. Yes, she’ll take it out at home because the drama doesn’t have boundaries or an on off switch and, in her view, there’s three “votes” to be had at home.

The moody part, beyond being a normal teenage girl can often be a) not getting the support she thinks she’s entitled to or b) the flip that happens with her Colors. Orange/Green are often judged as moody when the switch happens from a totally social, on all the time, involved in everything and with everybody – to anti-social – leave me alone – I don’t want to talk to anyone about anything – period. Yup, even your daughter will run out of “Orange gas” and need that Green alone time to re-charge (and plot her next moves). When she’s recharged, she’s back with a vengeance and boundless energy and ready for round 944 of “get them before they get me.”

Back to you: You can’t change the wind. You cannot change her personality type, but you can change your sails. That is, how you and your wife react to it, are willing to engage or participate in it. If you’re taking the bait – don’t – if that’s possible. After all, she want attention – any attention. At school Orange kids don’t care if they’re the class star (she can be if she enjoys the class and can easily get really high marks, because her Green perfectionism and love of learning (yup – it’s there…but at her age and behaviors it’s likely only rare flashes)… or the class clown. Either is fine – it’s attention…


Getting her into any sport ouside of school (and away from her drama-group). She needs to be super busy. But she’ll only stick with “fun” things where she can “win.” If you find one or two of those, the drama time lessens because she’s too busy with better/more fun/more winnable things like baseball, soccer, martial arts, etc. It’ll drain her Orange battery outside of home, which will give you more Green (quiet/recharge time) when she’s around the family.

Re-training her behaviors. If we can’t change our personality type, we can change every behavior! When she’s in “drama mode” she’s not going to be included in fun family things. IE: Your brother and I are going for ice cream/to the mall/to the Dollar store or whatever. We’ll be back in an hour – love you – good bye. When she asks why she can’t come along, it’s because she’s busy with “drama” things and you want to do “fun” things or “shopping” things – maybe another day when all her “drama” isn’t a priority. No long discussion or argument. You’re not having a trial – you’re the judge who’s already decided.

Her Green brain will figure out inside a month that she’s not getting the “win” in that you don’t over react and that the three of you will carry on with life at home – often without her…but because of her – and her behaviors…

Conversely, any half civilized behavior, two hours of no “drama,” or whatever you define it as, is a “major” cause of celebration. Let’s go….do something fun… She’ll retrain herself pretty quickly (it’ll take a while until her Green brain figures it out) that all the school and friends b.s. has a place – but bringing it home is a total “loose” whereas leaving it at school can have some big “wins” at home! She has to figure it out on her own. The only time “lets make a deal” works is marks in school: You get this mark, you get this from us. You get an even higher mark of this, you get that…It appeals to her Orange wanting to win and lifetime drive cooler clothes, a sicker skateboard or whatever….AND her Green brain already knows she can pretty much get any mark she wants if she kicks it in gear for a while..She just needs to connect these dots!

Stick with logic. Your daughter functions through logic (Green) and not feelings (Blue). So any emotional comments “you hurt my feelings” etc. might as well be in a foreign language. You also can’t talk to an Orange in her state. She’ll see it as an attack that she’s a)not right and b) not winning. So she’ll constantly feel the need to escalate, defend herself, make up more exaggerations, more drama, etc. in order to “sell” you that it’s not her fault, etc.

You need to talk to her Green logic. That means grabbing her shoulders so she can’t fidget or get away and “hit” her with one or two sentences that talk to her Green perfectionism/logical brain: Honey, I’m so disappointed in you. You’re so sharp and so smart – I can’t believe you sunk to (his/her/their) level. Or: I can’t believe you got (this) mark on the test. You’re one of the smartest kids in your class and could be the superstar if you wanted to…  Then let go of her shoulders and immediately walk away. You’re not staying for a discussion or rebuttal. It’s not a conversation – it’s hit and run. If you stay put, she’ll stay in “Orange mode” of needing to defend herself. Give her the Green logic comment, then walk away. In time, she’ll learn that running after you with “yea, but” or “you don’t understand” or “it’s not my fault” won’t work as you’ve moved on. Then all she has left is to mull the comment in her Green brain…until one day it’ll click and she’ll “gets it.”

Do remember that it’s just a few more years before she’s out of this phase. Yes, there will be an end to it. I’ve met literally thousands of Orange/Greens who, as adults, are wildly successful in a vast range of careers with their great gifts of incredible people skills along with their Green logic, strategic thinking, and drive to succeed. But I also know that, right now, it’s darkest just before dawn.