It might be helpful to take just a short little detour and understand where the study of personalities even began. After all, this is not something new! The Greek Philosophers like Hippocrates, Galen, and Aristotle talked about personality differences. They connected personality differences to body fluids, such as bile, blood and phlegm. Thankfully, we won’t be looking at personalities according to body fluids! Studies have come a long way since then.
Personalities are based on four different types. In this system they are classified by name and colors. But that doesn’t mean there are only four kinds of people. There are combinations of personalities and different degrees of those combinations. Likewise, there are things that can color the “hue” of an individual to look slightly different than another person with the same personality combination. These influences may include birth order, family of origin, childhood experiences, adult experiences, and spiritual beliefs, just to name a few.
So you can see that studying personalities doesn’t seek to fit someone in a box, rather just to give an idea or foundation on where a person usually functions. On the flip side, knowing the personality traits does not allow someone to excuse any kind of change or growth, as “Oh well, that’s just the way I am or the way they are!” Studying the personalities gives us a starting point as well as a great framework to stretch and grow in areas that are helpful.
You can probably imagine how this might be helpful in parenting. What we do with one child might yield a great result, but with another, it could be a total flop. Communicating in a particular manner with two kids can yield two totally different responses. Understanding the personalities helps us make sense of that and also helps us to establish ways that we can interact on a unique and individual basis with each of our kids. This allows us to connect with them on a whole new level. And that is why I find it beneficial to spend some time learning about the personalities and seeing how they can improve the relationships in your family!
Feel free to check out the blog posts on Verbal Clues, Visual Clues, and Personality Strengths. Tomorrow we will delve into the Personality Struggles. I am confident that you can gain some useful insight about how to tame the tantrums or understand the eruption of emotion you may face.