This might be an interesting question to pose to a group of adults. Their answers might surprise you! You might think it doesn’t even occur to kids. The truth is, it does. They just wouldn’t know how to articulate that as well as the adults. If you were to watch a group of kids involved in an activity together, this is what you might notice.
- Some kids will have a constant dialogue going to themselves or quietly in their heads but won’t necessarily share that with others.
- Some kids will be talking the whole way through the activity sharing every thought and idea, whether good or bad.
And while those two things may relate more to the introversion or extroversion triat, there are other factors at play. Some kids will be:
- worried about getting the task done on time
- voicing their concern that the task is not being done right
- wrapped up in the rules in which the task is to be done
- concerned that the task could be done better or more efficiently
- double checking and perfecting the task however they can
While other kids will be:
- trying to get everyone involved and make them feel included
- making sure everyone agrees on how it is done
- listening to everyone’s ideas and thoughts
- tuned in to how everyone is feeling during the task
- trying to ensure that things go smoothly for everyone
Can you see the difference in the two lists. The first reflects those who are task focused. They think more about the task at hand than the people involved in carrying it out. The second list reflects those who are relationship focused. They worry more about the people involved, the feelings involved, and how everyone is feeling during the process, instead of the task itself.
The personalities on the left side of the quadrant, Playful Sanguine and Peaceful Phlegmatic, are relationship focused. Those on the right side, Powerful Choleric and Proper Melancholic, are task focused. Trying to pinpoint this trait can help you figure out which side of the chart someone is on, if you are struggling to decide between two.
This is usually one of the more insightful things people discover about themselves and others. Many adults that learn about this are surprised to find that others don’t necessarily value the same thing they do. Likewise, in a relationship, this can make a big difference. And why does this matter with our kids. You may be trying desperately to connect relationally with your child. You may feel that they avoid you or are indifferent to you. What you might actually be experiencing is that your child is task focused. His need to be relational may take second seat to what is being done at the time. Or maybe you have a relational child and you tend to be task focused. You may be missing an important link for your child’s emotional needs if you busy yourself with too many tasks and don’t stop to connect the dots of what they need relationally. Don’t underestimate how important this trait may be to relate to your child in a meaningful way.