Why Personality is Important
Originally posted as: Who ARE You Anyway?[February, 2017]
Today let's talk about an aspect of you that will influence everything you do every day of your life - your personality.
The nature-related aspects of who you are—those qualities you were born with—stay relatively consistent throughout life. These qualities include your temperament or personality and predispose you to certain behaviours. They influence who or what you gravitate toward and can even determine health risks.
Temperament is genetic and has a large influence on your natural behaviour. When you learn to do something that goes against your natural tendency (for example, organize your desk despite a natural desire to live in clutter), you will find that when you are stressed you revert back to your true nature. This doesn’t mean you can never change aspects of how you behave, but it does mean there are certain behaviours that will resurface throughout your life.
Every personality type has positive traits and challenging traits. Learning which traits apply to the individuals in your family can help guide your expectations and discipline strategies.
For example, knowing that your three-year-old thrives on organization can help explain why he has a temper tantrum after you carelessly push his toys to the end of the table at supper time. It can also help you understand that he will not calm down and eat until you let him straighten things back out.
As well, being aware of the personality of your teenager can help you decide if taking away her cell phone and making her stay home on a Friday night is going to make a big difference to her.
Where it stops being helpful is when you use this information to limit your loved ones (i.e. not telling them what you'd like) or use it as an excuse for allowing undesirable behaviours.
Temperament is only one piece of the puzzle, and it's important to remember that. Children will always benefit from being taught social and emotional skills AND we can all use regular practice in this area. Knowing possible gaps due to personality, helps us determine which areas to focus on first.
Many personality tests put people into four main categories while recognizing that people will often be a blend of two or three. Although a small percentage of the population is said to share qualities from all four groupings, I typically find one or two categories are dominant. I like to use a model called DISC which William Moulton Marston is credited with originally creating under the title Emotions of Normal People in 1928, but I learned it through osmosis in a program I participated in over 20 years ago so my version might not match up with the original.
As I share the following summaries, try to think about how they might apply to your family. Remember – these are the extremes so you don't need all examples to apply to fit into this category.
Listen to the podcast to get more of a discussion on all the types and what that might mean for you as a parent. Here's a shortened version of some of the information I share:
The Four Types
The Determined Driver: This person is a very strong, independent, leader type. He likes to be in charge and will often tell people what to do. He is results-oriented and wants to see things done even if it means the quality suffers. Full of energy, he tends to be in a hurry, holds pointed conversations, and is unconcerned about offending others. Empathy does not come naturally to him.
A strong Determined Driver child will need his own space and stuff to really be happy. He will require clear boundaries and will need to be allowed to make choices. Use short, pointed messages with this child that focus on what needs to be done versus whom or how others are affected.
The Flamboyant Expressive: This person also has a very strong personality, but the focus is on people versus the task at hand. She loves fun and despises being controlled by others. She is a social butterfly who flits from group to group entertaining everyone in her flight path. She is imaginative, and while she likes to control others, is not very good at it due to her disorganized nature.
Kids who are Flamboyant Expressives have lots of friends, and social interaction will be the focus of their existence. They live in a world of disorganization, although will often be able to find what they need within that mess. They require reminders regarding time commitments and will be motivated by who will be involved versus what fun things they’ll be doing
The Easy-Going Amiable: These people are nice, friendly, and relaxed. They are safety oriented
and do not like upsetting people. They like harmony and will work hard to help others get along. They are good listeners and often make good counselors.
Children with an Amiable personality are easy to get along with. They are not disruptive and try hard to do what they are asked. The challenge with these children is that they tend to be followers. If they are not taught good decision-making skills while they are young and still idolize their parents, they can easily be led down a wrong path as a teen.
The Careful Analytical: This group is task-oriented like the Drivers; however, they are focused on having the task done correctly—in fact, perfectly. They are very organized and patient (since perfection is a slow process) and will take all the time they need to do something right. They like order and think things through in a logical, critical way. Facts are more important to them than people, and they often enjoy working on their own.
Children in this category will like things set up in a precise fashion. They will organize their dresser, bedroom, and desk to reflect order and logical correctness. Disorganization drives them crazy and they might offer to clean something up as a fun afternoon of activity. Parents are often concerned over their reclusive nature and might try to force them to be more outgoing.
Being aware of your dominant personality traits and how they complement or contrast with your child’s can be very useful. Two Drivers will argue often and love every minute of it. If you recognize this and ensure the fights don’t get personal, you can sit back and enjoy the competition. On the other hand, if you're a Driver and you have an Amiable child…
Listen to the podcast for how to use this information to help your family members thrive and build strong relationships or set up a complimentary (no obligation) discovery call and I'll help you figure it out.
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