WT 015: How Do I Parent Different Personality Types?

If all of our kids were the same, parenting would be so much easier—but they're not. My four kids could not be more different from each other, but it's also what makes life fun. As moms, it's important that learn our children's different personality types and play to their strengths. This weeks episode question: How Do I Parent Different Personality Types?

Question 1: “I have two boys and a girl. I worry about my daughter because she tends to step back when the boys take over. She doesn’t like to try new things when they are around and tends to need more one-on- one time, but I can’t seem to carve it out”

Karen’s Answer: It is hard juggling all the personalities and giving everyone what they need. I used to tell my mom, if they were all the same, it would make my job so much easier.  But, they aren’t. Figure out what temperament you have and what each of your children have and start learning those temperaments and how they work together.

Your daughter sounds like my Emily. She would tend to blend in with the background if things got too crazy. These personalities are the Phlegmatic’s, or greens from my Mom Core curriculum. These temperaments do not like to rock the boat, but you can teach them to stand up for themselves. Today, Emily has no trouble standing up for herself—though it was tough to teach her. If you know she needs more one on one time, then carve it out for her. If you don’t someone else will and then you’ve got a whole different mess on your hands.

Question 2: “My son is very melancholy and blue. I want him to know that I respect who he is and I’m not trying to change him, but I also don’t want to give him a free pass when he is being unkind or rude.

Karen’s Answer: For sure! I call my son Taylor out all the time, and tell him, “that was rude.” You do, however, have to respect that a lot of the time they are not trying to be rude, but they see things a clear way, “their way”. It’s our job as a mom to educate them, that their way is not always the right way.

It sounds like you are doing a great job at accepting your child and the way they are wired. Sometimes, we think, “why can’t you be more motivated, friendly, outgoing, easy going.” But, if you have a red, they are not going to be easy going, NEVER. We need to play to their strengths not the weakness.

Question 3: “My daughter is 9 and, as the oldest child, is already so responsible. I love that she is “mommy’s helper” with her younger siblings, especially when we are out running errands. However, I’m worried that she takes on more than she needs to. How do I show her that it’s okay for her to be a kid too?”

Karen’s Answer: My Kelsey was like that, and was very responsible, almost too much so at times. Ask her what she likes to do, and then instead of saying , “relax”, say “ Would you like to go read, or play ball? You’ve been such a great helper today, I would love to do something for you.” Teach her how to relax, some people never learn that.

Question 4: “I have 2 boys and 2 girls, and they could not be more different from each other. They share very few interests, and tend to play pretty independently. I know it’s every mother’s dream, but I truly want them to be close – how do I foster a sibling connection when they are all so different?”

Karen’s Answer: Celebrate each other’s differences. Point out the best attributes about the other and learn that we all need each other’s giftings. We don’t all have to be alike, that would be boring.

My girls are all very social and Taylor was not. Emily could hang out in a barn all day with horses and Kelsey doesn’t want to touch a horse. Kelsey preferred air conditioning and the nicer things in life. Abby is super organized and neat and Emily was lacking in that department. We all had to learn what they other needed and learn to work with their differences. Because Taylor was not social, school drained him. I had to learn to allow Taylor to have his down time after coming home from school and not force him to sit and talk to me and the girls about his day. He needed some space. I had to learn that myself and teach the girls.

Resources mentioned this episode:

Mom Core DVD (week 4 is all about personalities!)

Personality Plus for Parents: Understanding What Makes Your Child Tick

Letters to Moms (The Chapter on “Become a student of your child”)