I had an enjoyable evening last night spent on the phone with both of our adult children. We got on the subject of personality types since our son was reading Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.Thinking about what type each of us are led us into an extended discussion, many shared memories of how they were as children, and much laughter.
Personality type is an interesting method of identifying and understanding one’s true, inherent nature. The material is based on Carl Jung’s work as well as the work of Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Meyers. It is based on the identification of sixteen distinct personality types. We are born with one of these types and remain that type our entire lives.
Recognizing our own personality type and the types of our children allow us to understand how each of us responds to the world around us, how we interact with others, make our choices, and feel energized.
Children in a family can be very different from one another and from their parents. That’s something that is often overlooked and can be particularly difficult to realize and accept. Because of this, understanding the way our child’s mind operates can remain misunderstood.
Just knowing and accepting that in our families, we may all be functioning from a different set of inner workings of our mind is powerful. Paying attention to the way in which a child processes information and expresses him/her self and appreciating his/her individual impulses, drives and motivation can open communication and connection between you.
I like the term – “particularness”. What is “particular” about your child? How are your children different? What do they need to encourage them, to understand why one hangs back quietly observing and another child zooms ahead, plunging in to activities and unknown situations.
There’s not one right or wrong personality type but there are significant ways to respond to these different types and help each one to know that the way they are is a good way to be. The challenge for us, as parents, is paying attention to a child’s type and allowing it to develop in a strong and healthy manner while also balancing what our own personality types dictate about us.
When we are feeling frustrated and out of sync with a child, the answer may lie in some detective work on our part – what are we missing, what patterns of behavior are apparent, what makes this child operate in harmony, what happens when…and this scrutiny will yield some answers as to how this child engages with the world and how he/she can best thrive.
Nurture by Nature – Understand Your Child’s Personality Type – And Become a Better Parent by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger is a fun and fascinating read to help parents discover and celebrate the “particularness” of your child.
Viva la difference!