Two of my daughters are most likely Introverts, as I am. At least one of them may be an INTJ (which would be funny because that's supposedly the rarest type for females. To have two of us in one house would be wild).
My third daughter is not. My study of Myers-Briggs types and the books I've read about parenting by type or finding out your child's type (see end of this post for recommendations) lead me to believe she is an ESFP.
For those of you keeping track, that means she is different from me in every way:
- I'm an Introvert. I crave quiet time and deep conversations. She's an Extrovert. She craves noise and crowds and joyful, exuberant talks.
- I'm Intuitive. I see a big picture and don't, as a general rule, obsess about the details. I have a rich (not to say fantastical) thought life. She's Sensing. She needs repetition and concrete information, step by step guidance through a task. Her pretend play is all based on reality and she prefers audience participation.
- I'm a Thinker. I prefer logic and reason. A good argument invigorates me. I sometimes don't understand what others are feeling. She's Feeling. She has emotions near the surface. Her feelings are hurt easily but she's also sensitive to the feelings and hurts of others. She comforts and encourages. She craves harmony.
- I'm Judging. Routine is my friend. If I say I'll do something, I will come what may. I hate surprises. I'll be on time. Deadlines are inviolable. She's Perceiving. She loves surprises. She forgets what she was doing, while she's doing it. She enjoys new experiences and is always looking out for the next thing.
- She shows me a new perspective on the world. Her delight is contagious.
- She's a peacemaker in our sometimes intense household.
- Her compassion for others reminds me to engage my empathy muscle.
- She's not trying to annoy me when she's right at my elbow, talking a mile a minute. She craves company, and she processes information externally (that just means she needs to talk things through).
- She is not necessarily being defiant when she neglects a chore or task. She genuinely has good intentions, but she's also easily distracted and forgetful.
- She needs things broken into steps (her "S" vs. my "I"). Telling her "Take care of your laundry" doesn't work. Telling her, "Put your clean shirts away" and then telling her, "Now put away your clean P.Js" does.
- Her multiple outfit changes a day are not purposely wasteful. She's S. She needs new outfits if the temperature changes or she finds out we're going somewhere she didn't expect. Just because I have a fairly typical uniform - and once I'm dressed I don't usually change - doesn't mean she has to.
- Sometimes I need to respond to her feelings with feelings instead of logic. She needs me to empathize, hear her out, kiss the wound, bring the ice pack (even if it doesn't look "that bad" to me), hold her hand, or commiserate about the situation.
- She also needs me to teach her not to be controlled by her emotions. This is a skill she can learn. She needs to understand that always relying on feelings is dangerous and could be construed as manipulative, even if she's not trying to manipulate.
- She needs me to applaud her efforts. Specific praise is always better than "That's nice honey." Gentle suggestions for improvement may be in order, but proceed with caution. "Constructive criticism" will not work.
- I need to explain to her my need (and her sisters' need) for alone time so we can recharge. I need her to know that Daddy and I can talk heatedly about a subject and not be angry, and discussions definitely do not mean we're upset with her.
Have you noticed your children's personalities? How do their differences or similarities affect your parenting?
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