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Managing Your Childrens' Different Personalities

(This post originally appeared here for a Babywise Friendly Blog Network Day)

It would be so EASY and so CONVENIENT if all of our kids fit a mold wouldn’t it? Even more convenient would be if our kids fit our own mold, or had the same personality as we do. As a parent one of the most baffling things can be when your child’s personality is different from your own. Because this is so often not the case, it is important to parent towards DEVELOPMENT not towards CONVENIENCE.

A simple way to do that is to ask two questions when thinking about your kids personalities (or even when thinking about your own or your spouse’s personalities):

1. Is your child task oriented or relationship oriented?

Does your child push against bedtime because they cannot stand to see that project go unfinished or finish that book to see what happens? They are probably task oriented.

Does your child want to make every day a social gathering or event? They are probably relationship oriented.

Knowing what is behind their MOTIVATION can really help when you are interacting with them throughout the day. This can help you frame your expectations and even your language when you approach them in different circumstances.

For example, task oriented people tend to love charts and lists to check off. Make a bedtime chart and for every night they go to bed on time, give them a sticker or a check mark for a job completed. For the relationship oriented child, pair them with another sibling to help with chores or other tasks. Give them someone to talk to.

2. Is your child an introvert or an extrovert?

Do people energize or drain your child?

Recognizing what FUELS your child is vital to how you interact with them. If your child is an introvert and has been around people all day long, they are likely to be fussy and exhausted whereas a more extroverted child might be more energized and happy. And visa versa is true as well. If you have an extroverted child who hasn’t really been around people in a couple days, they might be more drained and might need some people time.

Thinking through these things are not so you can cater to your child necessarily, but being aware of how your kids function and work can really help you work WITH your child’s personality instead of AGAINST it.

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