By: Amanda Baldwin
This season of life is something many people choose to do, and while it may seem the same, it is a unique endeavor that will often seem impossible to do. While raising these little beings into competent members of society is a vast undertaking and it is ok to seem lost, parenting is not meant to be easy nor should it. It is a journey that forces you to figure out who you are. Fortunately, we live in an era where we have never ending amounts of information, and that can make our job as parents so much easier. Unfortunately, it is hard to put any of that information to use. Starting at the core of who you are, and who your children are, can help you wade through the information without wasting your time and effort on tools that just won't work. It all starts with your personality.
The distinct characteristics that form your character that is unique to you are the traits of personality. The theorist Carl Jung is who we associate personality tests with and his theories have led us to the personality tests that you can take online today, or even procure through a psychologist. Taking a personality test can give you great insight into where your strengths and weaknesses are. You may be familiar with what your strengths and weaknesses are but by taking even an online test will inform you of areas that may not have been on your radar before. Knowing your personality will help in many ways to your parenting, especially when you have that one child whose personality is contradictory to yours and you are always butting heads. An online personality test can be paid or free and take only a few minutes of answering simple questions. I often suggest a free one, and you can take a free personality test HERE. I am an ISTJ. I think more logically than emotionally. For parenting, I am strict and have expectations. I also have a child who is tough and doesn't like authority.
How your personality affects your parenting
Remember, your personality is the driving core of who you are. Having an understanding of this is what you need to know. For example, my personality in parenthood is not of an emotional one. Therefore, understanding this weakness and knowing that children are emotional creatures bridges this gap. I can then make corrections for them while still maintaining my core personality traits. An ENTP personality can be the opposite. With a fickle nature, this personality can reel it in to provide the structure the child may need. Remember growing up and feeling like your parents just didn't understand you? Probably because they didn't. Was your personality so much different than theirs? Were you being pushed beyond your comfort zone or even being suffocated from your need to be out and about? Once you know your personality type, and that of your child, you can make modifications so that all involved are learning, growing, and enjoying each other. Another thing that ties into your personality is birth order.
The order of your birth can have lasting effects on your personality as well. Overall, certain traits apply to which child you were in the pecking order growing up - first, middle, last, or only child. Being responsible, motivated, and reliable are very characteristic of first-born children. A middle- born child will be a people-pleaser but often feel left out of family situations. A last born child will be the social butterfly and be very outgoing. Only children have a combination but are often leaders, confident, and perfectionists. If you're the last born and have a flighty aspect to your personality, your first born might feel that there is no structure or expectations. It may push them to "grow up faster" than they need to. On the other hand, your last born who wants to be the center of attention no matter what might fly in the face of a more structured personality of the parent. Since the personality of a child is fluid, birth order can give some insight into how they work and their strengths and weakness. Using both personality tests and birth order can help you on your way to a happy middle ground.
Tips and Tricks
Get off Pinterest. Yup, I said it. Oh, how I love Pinterest but until you know your personality and how it is unique to your family, don't waste your time and money trying out the 12th chore chart this season. Know thyself before spending more money on something that won't fit your personality or your child's personality.
Communicate. Obviously, if you have a challenging two-year- old, this isn't going to work out so well, but for the older kids, this aspect can go far into finding the middle ground. And when I say older, I mean like 5. 5-year- olds are magnificent at telling you where you are lacking. Provide a safe place and take their criticism but don't take offense to it.
Be consistent. This one is actually for you, not for your kids. Be consistent in working to better yourself. That consistency will rain down on to your children and how you react to parenting situations. It'll take time but is well worth it.
Ask someone. Ask a friend or family member what they see when you are parenting your child. I know I am guilty of not asking for this type of advice, but it is often sage advice that one can benefit from and use. Outsiders can see the personality conflicts much easier.
Give yourself some grace. Parenting isn't an easy gig. Sure, some parents make it look that way but where they find it easy, I guarantee they aren't showing you the hard. Be easy on yourself and allow the mistakes to happen. That is the only way you will learn.
Don't be afraid to try out methods. Try out unconventional methods. If you are a go with the flow type of person but have a child that thrives on structure, don't be afraid to add some of that in. The middle ground is your destination so don't be afraid to utilize them. The personality that you have is unique to you. While someone may have the same type of personality as you, your kids aren't theirs, and that is important to remember. Parenting is a season of life, but it doesn't have to be the dead cold of winter. You can make it a lovely shade of fall or bright summer. The key is to know who you are. It doesn't take a soul-searching endeavor to a tropical island to find it out, but I wouldn't pass that up!