What if my personality and my child’s personality are just a bad mix?
More times than I could even count, I am approached after speaking and asked this question. I have to laugh a little, because I can usually guess what the child is immediately!
When I take my guess, “Let’s see, would your child be a Powerful Choleric or Red on the chart?” The parent looks amazed. “And let me venture that you are probably one of these personalities (pointing at the Peaceful Phlegmatic and the Proper Melancholic).” They shake their head and get a glazed look over their eyes.
Let me first say that there is NOT a bad combination. There are some easier combinations, and there are combinations that take some understanding. And that is the first step in getting somewhere– getting perspective. Often times, the Powerful Child is termed a spirited, determined, or strong-willed child. We try to keep all of those terms positive, and understand that this child is indeed a powerful individual. This child working in their strengths is unstoppable and amazing! This child in their struggles is unmovable and exhausting! What I find often, is that a parent of the opposite personality is struggling to understand their child. (Ex: my child is a Powerful Choleric and I am a Peaceful Phlegmatic, but it could be opposites in any direction.) And that is a very real issue. I have experienced that on a few occasions with my own children. The things that totally throw me for a loop relate to personality differences. I just don’t think or function like they do.
I could easily chalk it up to just being a bad combination, but that’s not really accurate or helpful. The truth is we are both different. We both think in different ways. We are motivated in different ways. We function in very opposite ways. But the good news is that with some understanding and some practical tools, any combination can work well together. It will take some strength and care as a parent to learn to think and operate outside your box and really try to understand what makes your child tick! In some ways, you will train yourself to think like your child. In this way, you will learn what works well with them and what tends to flop. You will begin to see a pattern of behavior that will not feel so out of control or unpredictable. That in itself can help you feel like you aren’t losing your mind! Remember perspective is key!
Ask yourself a few questions today:
- In what ways are our personalities similar?
- In what ways are our personalities different?
- When do I struggle most to think like he/she does?
- How can I slow down and understand his/her thought process/actions?
- What difference would it make if I understood that it was just a personality difference not something they are doing wrong?
While these sound like easy questions, you may be surprised at the difference slowing down and shifting your thought process can make.
You just might be a parent struggling to understand how your personality and your child’s personality work together. You might be interested in reading the book The You Zoo. There you will find this specific thing addressed as well as some parenting tips for each personality combination.