Sunday, May 16, 2010

Myers-Briggs and Family Dynamics

Although I began working with the MBTI as a business tool to coach staff and leadership, from the very beginning I saw the more global opportunity to apply those same principles of behavioral insight and communication to relationships outside the workplace.

When I’m working with couples, parents and families, there’s rarely a situation where knowledge and application of Type wouldn't benefit the individual communication issues so I frequently use it in those one-on-one settings.

In all the years I’ve been conducting MBTI workplace workshops and been using Type with families, I’ve never actually put the two together and prepared a workshop curriculum for marriage, parenting or kids … until now.

More of a draft at this point, I’ve put together and 86 page booklet (which needs to be much shorter), traded my tried and true PowerPoint for about a dozen poster-sized visuals and trying to take what is realistically 4 hours of material and hoping I can do it justice in the 90 minutes allotted for this maiden voyage.

After testing the waters with this upcoming “Personality Type and Parenting” workshop, my plan is to develop and deliver a more traditional ½ day workshop this summer followed by one targeted for married (or soon to be married) couples and one for kids and their parents together.

There may be other family oriented MBTI workshops out there (although, I certainly found no canned curriculum for one that a practitioner could buy) the thing I enjoyed the most in pulling these materials together was discovering that there are still things I can learn about Type and Type Dynamics and the challenge of figuring out how to best layer in a spirituality element into the program.

Although in the workplace, my workshops really must be straightforward and secular, the consulting I do “off the clock” allows me to choose opportunities that can reflect who I am as a Christian and incorporate Christian elements into helping people discover not only how they can best communicate in their earthly relationships, but perhaps look further in how they communicate in their heavenly relationships. How does a person’s 4-letter type and personality preferences impact how they communicate, love, parent and worship?

I don’t believe God and psychology are separate. And a parent can’t ever be the best parent they can be if they’ve checked God at the door. In reality, there are more formal resources (books, articles, websites) connecting MBTI to spirituality than there are on MBTI and parenting.

My favorite translation of Proverbs 22:6 is the one that starts “Train up a child according to his bent…” because it makes clear that God has hard wired us – given us a “bent” of some kind – with a specific personality that should be appreciated for what it is, not forced to be something it’s not.

I my search for new parenting and Type resources, I’ve collected a few trusted websites (along with a few new pages of my own) that may be of use to you in your parenting journey. As always, if you find other sites that you find reliable and consistent with CPP’s standards, please share them.

Internal Links:

Your Type, Your Parenting Style

Stages of Type Development

The Parenting Pyramid

Myers-Briggs (MBTI) Resource Central

External Links:

The Eight Personality Types of Kids Under Twelve

Personality Portraits for Children 7 - 12

Personality and Kids

Parenting Styles by Dichotomy

Children and Young Adult Personality Type Characteristics

Relationships and the Sixteen Types

Parenting by Temperament

The MBTI® Type Summaries Categorized by Temperament


jill b said...

Looking forward to checking out some of those links... this sort of stuff intrigues me. Eric & I took the Meyers-Briggs as part of our premarital counseling and came up as EXACT opposites in every single area. The pastor declared us to be replicas of my grandparents (who were happily married for over 50 years) and said we'd figure it all out as we went. This has been very true; we compliment each other well. But it helps so much, knowing where the other one is coming from sometimes. Eric also took a work training called the Strengths Deployment Inventory (I think) that was eye-opening to us, as we looked at where we each fell (and where our friends, kids, etc would probably fall - if we could guess) and how we all relate to each other. I LOVE that God created us all so differently, even in the frustrating moments when I don't understand my daughter or a friend, etc... those moments are a good reminder to me that I am not the center of the universe :)

ML Yost said...

Jill - That's so cool... both that you guys did it together in your pre-marriage counseling and that it was introduced to you as a valid and valuable tool by someone in the church. Too often faith and psychology get pitted against eachother or presented that accepting one, compromises the other. God created everything in the heavens and on earth including our human psychology. He wired us with a "bent" (Proverbs 22:6)and the MBTI is a great too for understanding that bent, in ourselves and others.

Lexie is old enough to take the MMTIC... it would be interesting to "Type" her and see how that influences the family dynamics. :-)

Knowing our boys Types has saved us many a teenage frustration!