Do you have a child who thinks and acts very differently from you?
We know that every person is unique and no child will act and think exactly like their parent. But if you’re like me, you might have one child in particular that you sometimes—okay, often—just don’t “get.”
This child I am talking about is a really awesome person. I love her with all my being. I would lay down my life for her. It’s just that sometimes I wish I understood her better.
“Why is she motivated to do the things she does?” and “What is going on in that little mind of hers?” are questions I often ask myself.
In situations like these, I think that the Myers-Briggs personality types can help shed a whole lot of light on human relationships. In fact, having recently determined what my daughter’s personality type is, I now understand her in a whole new way.
According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) website, “The theory of psychological type says that people with different preferences naturally have different interests and views, behave differently, and are motivated by different things. Awareness of differences between types can help people understand and value other people who think and act quite differently.”
As I have learned, the daughter I am talking about, whom I am learning to appreciate better, is the only introvert in our family—and one of only two “feelers.” Most of the people in our house are extraverted-thinkers. We are loud and assertive. She is quiet and contemplative.
Once when I was reading the Dr. Seuss book Horton Hatches the Egg, I looked down and noticed that tears were streaming down my little introverted-feeler’s cheeks. She sniffled, “I just feel so bad for him. He is all alone in the rain and his friends are making fun of him.” One of her sisters, who is an extraverted-thinker, said, “Ha! She is crying over a Dr. Seuss book!!!”
This is just to illustrate how two different kids can perceive a book (not to mention all of life) very differently. One daughter was simply listening to a whimsical story; the other one felt like she was actually in the tree with Horton, caring deeply about what this fictitious elephant was experiencing.
This daughter of mine tends to take correction very personally, which is hard for me because, in my mind, I’m just correcting behavior, not communicating how I feel about her as a whole person. I wish she could separate the two!
This daughter also internalizes her feelings a lot. Sometimes her feelings come suddenly boiling to the surface, in a fit of rage. Other times, I have to wait patiently for her tell me something.
I have learned to spend more time with her in silence, waiting for her to talk. At our dinner table, everyone else talks a mile a minute. Not her. But when she does talk, it’s always worth the wait.
I love her so much. And I’m sure glad that I’m starting to understand her better. Instead of being constantly frustrated by her, I am now frustrated less and I better appreciate her strengths. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses. Instead of being puzzled by each other, we can learn from each other.
Hopefully with knowledge of her personality type, I can be a better mom. I want to her to know that I love her and value her, because I do!
If you are interested in taking a personality test, here is one I found online.
Here is a personality test specifically geared for kids, and when I answered the questions for my daughter, it correctly assessed her.
Photo Credit: Graphic design by Anna Soltis. Second photo courtesy of author.