Parenting For Different Personalities

Raising four children with four different personalities and temperaments has been challenging to say the least. Throughout my 26 years of being a mom, I’ve learned that I must be a student of my children and “learn” the way God has wired each one of them. We spent an entire episode talking about how to be a student of your child using the personality colors this week, if you missed it—listen now!

My children are all adults, but I am still learning about them — and they continue to fascinate me.

I believe that in parenting a child, if you want the best results, you must play to their strengths.  We ALL have strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes, as a mom, I focus only on my child’s weaknesses and never notice their strengths.

To illustrate my point, when Kelsey was little, maybe around 4 years old, she would go into her playroom and make a total mess.  When it was time to clean up, she didn’t want any part of it, she wanted to move onto the next “fun” thing to do around the house. Like a lot of moms, I would stand over her, making her pick up every little thing and I would not allow her to do anything “fun” until the entire room was clean.  Neither of us enjoyed this activity very much.

Then, I read a book, The 5 Love Languages for Children, and realized that one of Kelsey’s love languages were words of affirmation.  So, I changed my tactics and started praising her when she picked her toys up. When her dad arrived home that night, I bragged on what a great job she did and how smart she was for doing it all by herself.  From that moment forward, Kelsey was a master at cleaning up the playroom. Of course, there were days when she did not do it with a smile on her face, but the point, is I started playing to her strengths and did not focus on her weakness.

As moms, we need to take time to figure each child out. And if I'm being honest, it takes a lot of time. So many times I am in a hurry, and don’t take the time to look at the situation and see the root of the problem.  I have so many stories I could share, but one that comes to mind is with my second born Emily.

Emily does not like confrontation. When she was younger, she would lie to me because she did not want to get into trouble.  She would tell me whatever it was that I wanted to hear.  I knew she was lying, but I could never figure out the reason why.  I began to pray about it, and I believe God showed me the reason behind Emily’s behavior.  So, I stopped focusing on the lying, and started teaching Emily that confrontation is not always a bad thing.  And that because she lied to me, I was beginning to not trust her and trust is so very important in a relationship; trust affects everything. Later, when I read the book Personality Plus for Parents, I realized Emily was Phlegmatic and these temperaments do not like confrontation at all. I began to change my approach with Emily and did not address her the way I addressed Kelsey because she needed a different style, a softer approach.

Moms, this is hard work and takes a lot of time. But in the end, it is worth every second of your investment.

Love you all,