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Posts tagged ‘personality combinations’

I Think We Are a BAD Combination!


personality chart

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.


Understanding Where it All Started…

color wheel


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.

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