You’ve heard a lot about parenting styles: tiger parents, controlling parents, authoritative parents, demanding parents---do you identify with any of the parenting styles you've heard and read about?
It’s easy to say “I am not a tiger parent” or “I give my kids free-rein to decide on things” without really assessing how we raise our kids. Some of these parenting styles are essentially labels, and some parents feel the need to belong into the best category—even if it involves a little tweaking here and there.
But a new study from Truity, a company that specializes a personality assessments, found that every personality trait affects his or her parenting style. This is the first personality test that gauges a person's attitude towards having kids. The researchers gathered 2,689 mothers and 818 to take a 52-question personality test based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
The MBTI categorized personality into four dimensions. The first one is Extraversion vs. Introversion, or how one manages and replenishes personal energy. Second, there's Sensing vs. Intuition, or how one gathers and processes information. The third is Thinking vs. Feeling, or how one prioritizes personal values, and then lastly, Judging vs. Perceiving, or how one organizes and structures daily life and work. Based on these, there are 16 personality types (Find out yours here). Study author Molly Owens, M.A., note the differences of each:
Extraverts vs. Introverts Extraverts are the ones who tend to interact energetically with their kids and encourage them to go outdoors and explore. Introverts, on the other hand, give their kids plenty of space to think and reflect independently. Extroverts are less likely to stay home with their kids, but they are more likely to have larger families since they enjoy the company of other people more.
Sensing vs. Intuition Sensing parents put emphasis on traditions and the importance of learning practical real-world life skills. Intuitive parents attach value to imagination and the importance of questioning almost everything and anything. Sensing parents are more likely to have more kids.
Thinking vs. Feeling Thinkers encourage competence, independence, and critical thinking, while Feeling parents are more warm and supportive and encourage cooperation and empathy. Feelers are more likely to have more kids.
Judging vs. Perceiving A Judging parent appreciates structure, order and organization in the family life. Perceiving parents appreciate the spur-of-the moment stuff--flexibility, spontaneity, and unpredictability. Judgers are more likely to push for equal division of childcare duties and responsibilities.
These four categories translate into a lengthy discussion of the four-point personality types, and it's important to note that each one has its strengths and weaknesses, although no one is better than the other. But according to the study,the respondents agree that "the best ways to cope with the struggles of parenting is to hear from other parents going through the same challenges."
While some of the survey respondents agree that their personality may have influenced their parenting values and style, ultimately, it’s the parent who should adjust to their child’s personality.
“I thought I would be carefully molding and raising my children… I learned that children have their own little personalities and quirks. It is not at all about molding them, but a daily discovery of who this other person is,” said an INTJ (Introvert-Intuitive-Thinker-Judger) mom.
An INFP (Introvert-Intuitive-Feeler-Perceptive) parent said, “I didn't try to make everything 'fair' and 'equal', I tried to make things suited to who the child is and what my individual child needed.”
Read more about the specific personality types and parenting styles here.
Sources: January 22, 2016. “5 big takeaways from a new study linking personality type to parenting style.” (upworhty.com) January 8, 2016. “What Kind of Parent Are You? Your Personality Type May Be a Deciding Factor” (workingmother.com) “Who We Are When We’re at Home: A Study of Personality Type and Family Life” (truity.com)