Parenting According to Your Child's Personality


When four-year-old Gabby sets her heart on something, she will do almost anything and everything to get it. At the recently concluded Kerygma Conference, author and motivational speaker Jayson Lo, Gabby's dad, recalled how the young girl bugged anyone and everyone to get her to Disneyland. When an aunt asked her to choose between a watch and Disneyland, she replied, “Can I bring the watch to Disneyland?”

Gabby, says Lo, is typical of the Dominant personality type based on the DISC Theory, which was created by Dr. William Moulton Marston at Harvard University. According to the DISC Theory, people fall into four behavioral personality types: Dominant, Influential, Steady, and Corrective.

In his presentation "Four Personality Types to Strengthen Relationships," Lo shared the characteristics of the four personality types using a Filipino animal as further illustration:

  • Dominant Eagle: Decisive, problem solver, risk taker, aggressive, competitive
  • Influential Rooster: Enthusiastic, fun-loving, trusting, persuasive
  • Steady Carabao: Friendly, patient, team player, good listener
  • Corrective Tarsier: Analytical, disciplined, fact-finder, observant

Charles F. Boyd, author of Different Children, Different Needs, writes that using the DISC Theory can help parents better recognize, accept, and appreciate their child's temperaments.

Parents usually assume that what worked for them can very well work for their child. Without realizing it, Boyd says that parents are actually creating carbon copies of themselves. Another issue is when parents perceive certain aspects of their personality which they don't like in their child, and then proceed to suppress or stamp out said behavior. In both instances, the child may have to deal with problems of low self-esteem and low confidence later as his parents failed to respect who he is.

It is thus important, says Boyd, for parents to discover their child's unique personality. They should put aside what they want their child to become and spend time to know who he already is.

Lo agrees.

While parents should love all of their children equally, Lo says they should not treat each of them in the same way. Parents must always take into consideration each child's inherent qualities.

But understanding your child's personality is only half the battle. Boyd says that parents need to do some discovering of their own selves as well.

He says, “It's important for you to understand how to adapt your parenting to meet the individual needs of your children. On one hand, your job is to bend and shape your children as they grow up. But on the other, your job is to provide the home environment and encouragement that will allow their natural bents to develop.”

Indeed, Lo underscored that discovering your personality type as well as those of your child's will lead to stronger and happier family relationships.

Want to parent according to your child's personality? Boyd gives some suggestions:

- Understand your personality and see how it affects your parenting style

- Discover your child's personality profile

- Adjust your parenting style to better meet your child's needs

- Maintain communication between you and your child

- Create an atmosphere of encouragement and cooperation in your home