No, that’s not a typo. My kids are not Vulcans. They are, however, volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Hence, VUCA.
The Harvard Business Review defines VUCA as one of those trendy management catch phrases which is short for “Hey, it’s crazy out there!” It also is a great description for most kids.
Kids certainly can be volatile. You never know exactly how they may react to a specific situation. You might think that you have come up with the perfect consequence for a problem behavior and it just has no impact on them.
Without a doubt, kids are uncertain. Not admit what they want, but in their ability to surprise us and act in unpredictable ways.
While we like to think of kids as simple beings, the reality is that this is far from the truth, particularity as our children grow older. They grapple with such a rich variety of factors in their lives from family to peers to school.
If you haven’t heard “No, dad, I meant…” Then you haven’t lived with the ambiguity that children bring with them. Because they are still developing their commission skills, they may struggle with truly sharing their wants and needs.
Recognizing that our children, or a situation, is VUCA can help us contextualize the crazy. If we see when our kids are acting VUCA, we can also prepare. Here how:
Volatile – have more than one solution up your sleeve and recognize which barriers are worth investing more energy in. Uncertain – gather information. Ask questions and push for answers that are more than just “OK” or “Good.” Think about what you’ve learned and look for patterns.
Complex – change your approach or tag in your partner to give yourself a break. Look for natural allies.
Ambiguous – experiment and allow yourself the luxury of failing in a particular situation. Lean from different iterations and try, try again.
Your kids will get VUCA. Accept it and you might just “live long and prosper” like true Vulcans.