By Linda Gilden, Crosswalk.com
Have you ever wished there was more peace in your home? Do you wonder why one of your children heads outdoors every morning to play while another grabs a favorite book and finds a quiet corner to read?
When you and your husband decide to have “date night,” do you immediately gather a group of friends and your spouse looks for nearby hiking trails? Have you often wondered if your free-spirited, energetic child will grow to adulthood or if your opinionated, we-can-fix-anything child will ever have any friends?
All of the above situations and more can be made easier and dealt with more effectively by understanding the personalities of your family members. Understanding yourself is also important in understanding others around you.
Marriage and parenting are life-long journeys and understanding why each person does the things he or she does will make things go more smoothly. In order to create a home s in which your children can thrive, there must be loving understanding of each person under the roof. God made each one of us different and unique and we need to celebrate that.
Many personality systems exist. Some call the personalities names of animals such as otter, golden retriever, lion, and beaver. Others build on Hippocrates naming them after bodily fluids, such as sanguine, choleric, melancholy, and phlegmatic. In this article, we will refer to the easily understood system from LINKED personality types, which are mobilizer, socializer, stabilizer, and organizer.
Being a good mom or dad can be made easier if you understand each child is created differently and has different needs. When we discover their dominant personality traits, we also discover the best way to speak to them. Raising a socializer child can be much different than raising an organizer child.
But your marriage and parenting journey can be most effective if you speak into your spouse or child in a way that is well-received. The end result will be determined and fostered much more successfully.
1. The Mobilizer
The get-it-done, extroverted personality is called the mobilizer. This personality is your list-maker, matter-of-fact person.
You or another family member might be a mobilizer if you want to get things done around the house the fast way or you are direct, focused, and to the point. The best way to approach him or her is to ask for specific help, allow them to find the solution, and give them the bullet version of any story you are relaying.
For a parent who understands his or her child is a mobilizer, or even a spouse who is a mobilizer, remember mobilizer personalities do not respond well to frivolous activities or spontaneous fun. Speaking to them in lists or delivering a specific plan of action is much more effective than convincing them the chore will be fun.
For children, a physical checklist works well because it gives them something to do when they finish each part of the project and gives them a feeling of success when all is checked off.
This group needs to be spoken to directly with no embellishment. If you would like them to complete a task, give them the tools they most easily use. Explain to them the end result you are looking for.
With your spouse or older children, allow them to be part of the process of figuring out how to accomplish a task. For the younger children, make sure they understand the task, then give them a step-by-step process. Sometimes a written checklist is helpful.
Elyse loved to check off her jobs on the list Mom always gave her for her chores. That was the best gratification for her, even as a six-year-old.
2. The Stabilizer
The stabilizer word gives you a clue to this personality. This personality is solid, loyal, and can be a rock to others. Even though an introvert, the stabilizer personality loves people yet tends to like to do his or her own thing. Often deemed as lazy, the stabilizer is not. This personality is just slow and easy-going. The calmness makes him or her good in stressful situations, although they prefer to avoid conflict and keep things peaceful.
If you have a stabilizer child, he or she will be the peacemaker in the family. If you have a stabilizer mate, your spouse will tend to defer discipline and difficult discussions to the stronger personality. To these family members, conflict is stressful. Keeping their lives stress free is the greatest gift you can give them.
Stabilizers often prefer to let the stronger personality spouse be in charge. Encourage hubby or wife to participate in the child-raising by giving them a specific task.
“Honey, please help Georgia with her bath tonight.” That gives your spouse a specific job and he or she knows what to do. Stabilizer children need the same kind of specific direction and usually need a timeline for doing the work. Without that timeline, you are likely to find them sitting in a corner with a book, the original job forgotten.
Nine-year-old Jonathan is often the last one out the door. Why? As a strong stabilizer, he often gets caught up in his daydreams and it can take him twice as much time as he really needs to tie his shoe.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/evgenyatamanenko
3. The Socializer
The socializer personality is an easy one to guess, your life-of-the-party person who loves to have a good time. But of all the personalities, this one has the hardest time staying on task.
Socializers love to do things the fun way, are great storytellers, and especially love attention. If you have a socializer family member, even when assigning a chore, remember to include the fun element. For young children, chores will be easily accomplished if you can make them into fun games or put your requests into a song and dance.
For instance, when you ask them to clean up the playroom, set a timer and challenge the children to finish their chores before the timer goes off. If your spouse is a socializer and you are not, remember to include an element of fun in family activities.
The keyword here is fun. Whatever you ask them to do, make sure there is an element of fun for them. Sometimes the promise of playing a game or participating in a fun activity after the chore is done is sufficient. For small children, you may want to create a fun way to do the task or let them don their superman or superwoman costumes.
Addison often came to her homeschool desk dressed in her pink power ranger costume. Sparse reminders from Mom that power rangers could do anything kept her on task with very little prodding!
4. The Organizer
The organizer personality is your deep thinker. This personality may take longer to process things.
When asked a question, the organizer might think for several minutes before speaking. Good listeners are often organizers. They care about others deeply and want to hear what they are saying.
One of the biggest characteristics of this personality is the need for rest and separation from crowds to refresh. So, if you see your spouse or children retreat to their rooms or outside for a few minutes, understand they need some alone time.
One thing to look for in the introvert organizers in your family is the perfectionist tendency. You will see from a very young age that organizer personalities want everything to be perfect.
If you have more than one child and you ask them to collectively clean up the playroom, you can pick your organizer(s) out. They make sure every block is stacked directly on top of the one under it. They make sure all colors are grouped together and want to put every crayon back in the box it came in. For those organizer children, if you can help them to understand that a little perfection can go a long way, life will be much easier!
Organizers are usually the ones who can identify with others. They are the first to comfort others when they are sad. The organizers need to have some space from time to time, even from the family. So, make sure you allow them that. This personality also enjoys checklists because they can accomplish one step of a project at a time.
Fifteen-year-old Perry loves things to be just so and is an ardent ruler follower. So usually all Mom or Dad has to do is set the boundaries and they are followed.
Family relationships can be strengthened and grown by an awareness of the differences in the individuals you live with.
Personality-specific encouragement can make a day brighter and create closer understanding of each other, which in turn will strengthen family closeness. If you can put into practice just a little personality knowledge, it will go a long way in helping you create harmony and increase respect in your family.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/pondsaksit