Understanding your child’s personality type and temperament is invaluable as a parent, teacher or anyone who works with kids. As an parent educator and coach, it helps me to create strategies and interventions for parents and children. Differences in personality and temperament impact parent/child interactions in countless ways.
For example, let’s look at the intense parent and child. This personality type feels things strongly and often has trouble managing their overwhelming emotions. Intense children and adults will often have stronger, more volatile reactions to daily disruptions such as disappointment, a change of plans, or even fatigue. The transitional times of getting out of the house in the morning and settling in after school can be especially difficult.
By teaching parents to understand that these behaviors are a result of personality and temperament will help to create the mindset that the child isn’t “bad.” They can both use this knowledge to create soothing rituals and manage transitions slowly and gently, thus greatly reducing family stress. I like to teach my clients the appropriate language to express what’s going on inside them, such as “You have energy all over your body now” or “You are feeling overwhelmed right now.”
Gretchen Rubin in her book, “The Four Tendencies”, takes this idea even further. She created an easy to understand framework that describes how people respond to inner and outer expectations. People can be described as Upholders, Questioners, Obligers and Rebels. She contends that your tendency shapes every aspect of your behavior. If you understand your tendency then you will be able to make better decisions, work more effectively, reduce your stress and most importantly, create realistic goals and follow through with them realistically. Knowing your tendency helps you understand why you act on your goals and why you might struggle with procrastination.
Understanding the dynamics of personality and temperament is essential to positive, effective communication with your kids. I love seeing parents’ faces light up when I teach them these ideas and they recognize their children in the examples. They’ll now have actionable steps that will improve communication with their kids, understand them in deeper ways and learn how to accommodate their unique needs. It makes life a lot smoother!
Many parents struggle with motivating their children. Understanding the roles of the Upholder, Questioner, Obliger or Rebel can be invaluable. Ms. Rubin suggests that parenting strategies should take into consideration a child’s tendency or it should “talk to” the tendency’s values.
Pointing out a child’s tendency to the parent can often clear up miscommunications, stop power struggles and bring peace to the most tense parent-child relationships.
Therefore, giving parent the insights into their children’s personality and giving them the language they need to connect and communicate with them is critical.
Want to learn more great parenting skills? Check out our join our upcoming Parenting Simply Foundations Workshop