Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Personality profile

A couple of weeks ago my friends Cindy and Wilson loaned me a booked entitled "Positive Personality Profiles" by Robert A. Rohm, Ph.D. Always a sucker for self analysis, I took it home and read it in less than a day. The book basically confirmed what I have known for years: I am an extremely anal, task-oriented, anti-social, controlling perfectionist - or what they call the "C" personality type. It also revealed that I am weary of other people's kindness, always looking for a hidden meaning behind it. The author summed it up perfectly when he said that when faced with a display of appreciation, a person with my personality type will wonder: "Am I being manipulated? Are you trying to get something by me? Hmmmm, what's going on here?" I had to laugh out loud at this. It's so true.

Self-scrutiny aside, this book was an interesting read for a whole other reason: trying to peg my kids' personalities. I think that I managed to get a handle on Nicki's fairly easily. She has always struck me as a people-pleaser, a girl who likes being around people but is essentially reserved. According to the book, this would make her an "S" personality. As I read more about this particular personality type, I saw more and more of Nicki in every page. They enjoy routine and believe readily in "a place for everything and everything in its place", they need a lot of security, they are submissive and take orders very well, they like the status quo or sameness and they are very sentimental. The author noted that "S" type children are often the easiest to parent and I would definitely have to agree.

But to be honest, I had never really given much thought to what her personality type would mean for her in the future, how it would help or harm her in the years ahead. Knowing that she is a people-pleaser raises questions for me on how she will behave as a teenager for example. Will she be able to say no when not-so-well-meaning friends try to steer her toward behaviours she should avoid? Will she cave into peer pressure? Will she have enough self-esteem and confidence in herself to be her own person and live by the values we have taught her throughout her young life? What can we do now in the early years to bolster that self-esteem, ingrain those core values and teach her to stand by her convictions?

Gabe's personality on the other hand was much harder to pin down. Before he even reached a year old, it was obvious that he and Nicki were polar opposites of each other and as time went by the differences became even more pronounced. He learns in a different way, responds to discipline in a different way and interacts in a different way. According to the book, the opposite of Nicki's personality would be the "D" personality, and I while I have to admit many of the characteristics do seem to fit - demanding, strong-willed, defiant - they probably also characterize 99% of all of the 2 year olds out there.

So while it may be too soon yet to determine exactly what personality type Gabe is, one thing is for certain, these two kids are VERY different from each other, which means I have my work cut out for me in the months and years ahead. Add Roxy to the mix and who knows what her emerging personality will bring to the dynamic! The same parenting style is definitely not going to work for all of them, which means I am going to have to tailor my parenting to each different child and each different circumstance - not an easy task for a control-freak "C" type like me!

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