Managing Personality and Responsibility
Time for an age-old question, what is the purpose of parenting?
Is it to just have kids to propagate the human race, or is it to launch responsible capable adults to be a good in the world?
Overall, it’s a little bit of both. I will put this disclaimer here, I am no expert. I’m trying to juggle all the things just like you. But in the goal of raising responsible and compassionate members of society I toss this out for your consideration.
We all want responsible kids. Yeah I know you just gave a big sigh of YES!!!! (under your breath if you have a kid in your lap or over your shoulder like I do most of the time) T
The following information, might not be what you expect. I know we all want the to do list to fill out and 'ensure' our kids success. But that's not how kids usually work.
Now you don’t need a new chore sheet or responsibility system. Because we all know there is “no greater optimism, than a mom with a new chore chart”. And chore systems usually have a two-week shelf life. Getting our kids to be responsible isn’t about forcing them to do things around the house, but is about working with how our kids operate to instill in them the desire to be responsible.
I think this starts by learning who are kids are. While our kids are little pieces of us, and can often reflect both our good and bad qualities. They are truly their own little person also. We have the job of learning how they operate and how to motivate them toward success.
What to know about your kid?
It all comes down to love and personality.
We all desire love in some form or fashion, and Gary Thomas does a great job helping married couples understand how one another gives and receives love. But he also wrote a book for discovering the Love languages of Children also. Understanding how to connect and know your child's heart is always the first step toward connection and knowing how they operate.
Then comes personality.
Personality tests are not in short supply. And I find that even my personality can vary between the different types of tests. But personality test do give you guidelines and clues to how your child operates.
The most referenced personality test is the Myers-Briggs Test. This test really has personality as a science. The ‘official’ Myers-Briggs has a hefty price tag in my opinion, but even just looking at the list of personalities can help you figure out which personality your kid leans the most toward. This test is by far the most comprehensive, and I even use it when developing characters in a story.
Another personality test is the 4 animal test. This test tries to fit you into one of four categories, or a primary and secondary, comparing to four different animals.
The Lion- the take charge, bold, assertive, leader
The Otter- the fun loving- visionary, that’s energetic and creative
The Beaver- The orderly, analytical, detailed, practical
And the Golden Retriever- the sympathetic, loyal, good listener, nurturing
Recently the Enneagram Test has been all the rage. With number being tosses about like confetti. With primary and secondary's and wings and a whole bunch of other confusing stuff. But this is a good test, just like any of them, to gain insight in to how you and your kids work.
The most important thing to remember is that your kids are still growing and developing. Their personalities and trends will change as they grow, but being a student of how your kid ticks is an invaluable habit to be in. Because knowing how they work will help you to motivate and train them into the mature and responsible adults we hope and pray they will be.
SO how do we take this information and get our kids to do stuff and be responsible?
I wish I had the perfect answer for you. But every child is unique no matter what personality or love language 'box' they fit in. But knowing these things about them will help you direct their actions, and decrease your own frustrations.
Let me give you this example using the 4 animal test.
In my home I am a Golden Retriever, my husband is a Lion. Kid#1 is a Otter, Kid #2 is a Beaver, and Kid#3 is a Lion. It is a motley crew for certain, and it is not uncommon for us to get frustrated with each other, because we don't approach the world in the same fashion. Even the two Lions in my house do things differently than each other.
But when I place a goal in front of my #3 Lion there is nothing that will get in his way as he pursues that goal. Just asking him to do it because he should won't get him there. If you say to my #2 Otter, this needs to get done because this is how you do it, it gets done. My #1 Otter, if its not fun or going to result in something fun, good luck. Knowing these parts of their personality helps lower my frustrations and help motivate and work with how God made my kids, instead of forcing them to fit into my mold.
My Challenge for you this week is to think about your kids personalities and how you can work with them to shepherd them toward responsibility.
Book Recomendation on Kids Personalities
The Treasure Tree by Trent and Smalley