Our little ones are unique, just like our fingerprints, and have different ways of looking at and interacting with the world. They all have different talents that develop as they grow and practice them. If their natural talents are suppressed by well-meaning adults, they often develop self-doubt and may have a long, difficult road ahead of them overcoming that obstacle. As parents, we should recognize their different styles of learning and interacting, and promote the best possible development of their natural strengths and weaknesses.
One very powerful way to encourage the optimal development of our children is to better understand them and ourselves. We need to not only understand why our children act in certain ways, but also to understand why we have certain expectations of their behaviour. It's equally important to remember not to box children into categories that may limit their development. Discovering their personality type will help us to understand them better, and to create environments for them that enhance their natural strengths. It should not be seen as an absolute predictor of behaviour, or as a description of a child's limitations. There is no “best” or “worst” personality type. Individuals of all types have their own special gifts for the world.
As children grow and learn and develop, their personalities take shape and begin to obviously influence their behaviours and attitudes. By the age of 13 years, their baseline personality can be considered fairly set, and we can usually identify which of the sixteen “adult” personality types the teenagers fit into. Prior to age 13, their auxiliary function is usually not developed sufficiently to be recognized. Accordingly, we can identify 3 out of 4 of the personality preferences for children aged 7-12. For younger children, we can identify 2 out of 4 of the preferences.
The children's aged 7-12 personality categories that are recognized coincide with the original personality types identified by Carl Jung, before the types were expanded upon by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. They are as follows:
- Extraverted Sensing (ESP) - the future Performers and Doers
- Introverted Sensing (ISJ) - the future Nurturers and Duty Fulfillers
- Extraverted Intuition (ENP) - the future Inspirers and Visionaries
- Introverted Intuition (INJ) - the future Protectors and Scientists
- Extraverted Feelers (EFJ) - the future Givers and Caregivers
- Introverted Feelers (IFP) - the future Idealists and Artists
- Extraverted Thinkers (ETJ) - the future Executives and Guardians
- Introverted Thinkers (ITP) - the future Mechanics and Thinkers
For very young children (aged 2-6 years), the following types are recognised:
- Extraverted Perceivers (EP)
- Introverted Perceivers (IP)
- Extraverted Judgers (EJ)
- Introverted Judgers (IJ)
Which categories do our children fit into? In the next few weeks we will try to look into the personality types a little more carefully and patiently, and then try and sort our little ones into groups. It is not going to be easy, I assure you, so let’s work on it with love and care…!