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Some Little-Known Facts about Personality Type

11 Jun

We at Beyond the Horizons Consulting can’t overestimate the value of the MBTI personality type indicator to teams in the work place and in the lives of couples and families. We are close to concluding our series on personality type a la Carl Gustav Jung, and the mother-daughter team (Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers) who put the Myers Briggs Type Indicator together. However, we would be remiss if we didn’t share some information on personality type throughout an individual’s lifetime and also some statistics you, dear reader, may find interesting as you contemplate your own personality type.
Many people ask, “Doesn’t my personality change over the course of my life?” The answer is, Yes and No. If we look at midlife as being sometime around age 40, we can make the general statement that a person is usually “established” by this time in life. We can think of a person establishing him/herself in terms of creating a longstanding relationship; perhaps having children to raise; having a satisfying career; having a home and an extended family — i.e., a community — with whom to relate. These are the outward signs of having “deep roots” as a person approaching or already in midlife.
Some of the inward signs of establishing oneself are a comfortability with self; an acceptance of one’s strengths and weaknesses; an openness to relate to others of different temperaments; a willingness, indeed eagerness to grow beyond one’s limitations.
In terms of personality type, at midlife a person is clear about who they are. They use their dominant function in their work and personal lives, and are clear about their needs to relate to others and to have alone time. Their lifestyle preference (organized, planful and, goal-directed versus spontaneous, playful and in-the-moment) would also be clear to most individuals when the differences are pointed out.
What is not as well recognized is that ideally we are all on a path to incorporate some of the opposite qualities into our “self-portrait.” Thus Introvert and Extrovert each needs to incorporate some of the opposite way relating to the world. The Introvert ideally needs to begin to challenge him/herself to relate to more people as acquaintances and thus gain a larger circle of “friends.” The Extrovert needs to spend more time in self-reflection and thus bring a greater depth to personality.
In like manner, the Intuitive needs to make greater use of facts and figures and to state things in a simpler manner, more understandable by the large majority of persons. The opposite personality function — the Sensor — needs to begin to see the bigger picture, get a sense of the long-term effects of decisions, and so on.
Likewise, the Feeling person needs to begin to not take things personally, to look at events more with impersonal logic rather than his/her own feeling-determined values. On the contrary, maturity for the Thinking person will mean that s/he will begin to make decisions occasionally based on values that are personally important (e.g., based on compassion) over against values held to be universal by the dominant Western society (e.g., what action brings in more money).
Finally, if one has been a Judging type with strong organizational skills and clearly defined goals, midlife may bring an openness to being present in the moment, to doing things spontaneously, and to playfulness. A Perceptive type, on the other hand, may well find a goal to strive for, instead of just going with the flow.
Often when a person retires or switches employment at midlife, new aspects of personality emerge. A person who has had to put on an Extroverted persona for a customer service job, for example, may now discover an Introverted side which likes to go for a walk alone or sit and reflect with a journal.


Children Learn What They Live!

14 Sep

This brief poem conveys a lot in a brief space. Enjoy the poem and then think about what YOU are teaching your children via your own behavior. Hopefully, you are instilling positive values in your children’s lives.

“Children Learn What They Live”

If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule, she learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame, she learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with praise, she learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.

If a child lives with security, she learns to have faith.

If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, she learns to find love in the world.


Erikson’s First Five Life Stages and the “Good Enough” Parent

3 Sep

Erikson came up with seven life stages and what the goals were to accomplish in each stage. Five of these stages take us from infancy through the teen years. If you’ve been worried about whether your parenting makes the mark, take a look at these descriptions of each of the five first stages and see where you fit in!

Trust vs. Mistrust (12 – 18 months of age): The superparent attempts to care for the infant, run the household, be social director for the couple, be a professional, etc. This person does not make an allowance for self-care.

The good-enough parent lets go of some outside responsibilities to spend time with the infant; feels it’s OK to take FMLA; it’s OK to “date” partner and leave baby with a trusted caregiver.

Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (18 months to 3 years): The superparent takes it as a personal failure if the child is not toilet-trained by 2 – 2 1/2 years; s/he rearranges the house so it won’t be necessary to say No to the child.

The good-enough parent demonstrates flexibility with toilet training; s/he works around the No saying to sometimes give the child what s/he wants in fantasy.

Initiative vs. Guilt (3 – 6 years): The superparent expects more from the child than s/he is capable of. This parent may say, “You’re acting like a baby,” and will discourage the child from playing with finger paints. The child must appear acceptable to others.

The good-enough parent teaches responsibility, such as by asking the child to pick up his/her toys and to share. However, the good-enough parent allows the child to be a child.

Industry vs. Inferiority (6 – 12 years): The superparent pushes the child to belong to “X” number of groups and activities, all the while modeling perfectionism. This person displays a whirl of busyness but does not model self-care.

The good-enough parent allows the child to dabble in a variety of hobbies and leisure-time activities. This parent refuses to play the martyr, so the child will not be forced into feeling guilty. At this stage, the parent lets the child make mistakes and experience “humanness” by modeling it and by allowing the child to experiment and sometimes fail.

Identity vs. Role Confusion (12 – 18 years): The superparent makes sure the child has a tutor for the SAT exam; s/he will pump the teen for information or get involved in extracurricular activities as a “band parent.” S/he may also go in the opposite direction and neglect the teen in a bid for career enhancement.

The good-enough parent makes an effort to attend some sports events and other activities. S/he LISTENS, OBSERVES, AND ADMITS HIS/HER OWN MISTAKES!

Have questions? You can respond to this post or contact me through my website,

Parenting Insights

12 Aug

Parenting Insights

One of the best models I use for helping folks with their parenting skills is the SUPPORT/GUIDANCE MODEL. If you can imagine a circle bisected both horizontally and vertically, you will note that there are now four quadrants within the circle. First, let’s look at the horizontal line. This line represents SUPPORT and goes from low support on the left to high support on the right. By support we mean being there emotionally for your child. So when your child comes home from school and seems down, you will want to make note of that and ask what might be bothering him/her.

If your child opens up — great! Now you can just LISTEN without offering advice. If you listen not only with your ears but with your whole being, your child will feel understood. Already he or she is on the way to dealing with the painful emotion(s) on her own. You can ratify the emotions or help your child to name them. This gives your young one a sense of empowerment over the feelings. Then they can probably discuss how they would like to handle the situation. Remember, though, that listening on your part is KEY!
Emotional support may mean ultimately agreeing with your child about the unfairness of a situation, for example. But it may also mean sharing a different perspective with him/her. This other perspective may sometimes be called “tough love.” Give your child a chance to “digest” what you have said. S/he may want to write or draw in a journal. You can bring up the subject at a later time when your child is ready to talk about it again.

Now let’s introduce the GUIDANCE part of the model. Guidance is the vertical dimension of our model, and it goes from low guidance (or discipline) on the bottom to high guidance (or discipline) on the top. Guidance (or discipline) is not to be confused with punishment. In parenting, as in other situations — for example, the supervisory role in the workplace — guidance means setting down the rules and procedures clearly. In this way, your children know what is expected of them, when they can expect praise or some sort of reward and when, conversely, they know they have done poorly, not met your expectations, and can expect a reprimand or other consequences. GUIDANCE makes children and teens feel safe. They may think they want complete freedom, but what they really need is parameters for their behavior. We will discuss each of the four quadrants, the style of parenting associated with each, and provide a parenting questionnaire for you to determine YOUR style of parenting.