In the last post, I talked about the ‘D’ wired or strong willed child. Another outgoing and active personality type is the ‘I’ profile. See if you can tell the characteristics of this child from the following letter. It was written to Bethany Hamilton, the young surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack. In a fourth grade guidance lesson about people who overcame great difficulties and finished strong, we studied Bethany’s story then each student wrote her a letter. Here’s a letter from one of the fourth grade students:
My name is Carleigh. I’m enjoying learning about you. What do you like to do when you’re not surfing? Are you still surfing? Are you married, and do you have any kids? Lots of people like you. You are the people’s competition winner! Oh, yay, have a great Halloween and have a great Christmas with your family. And tell your family members have a great day and have great holidays.
P.S. You’re a great surfer and keep up the good work! It’s possible so do what you got to do Bethany! You’re a great person and don’t ever forget that. Your parents raised you swell.
I think from this letter, you might feel like you know more about Carleigh, the student, than Bethany the surfer. Do the words, inspirational, interactive, imaginative, friendly, talkative, outgoing, enthusiastic, warm and fun come to mind? You have just described the child who is high ‘I’. They love to be the center of attention, are extremely social, excited, warm and friendly. Unlike the ‘D’ profile, they are people-oriented, not task oriented. If you want someone to boost your spirits or to plan a party, talk to an ‘I’ personality. However, if you want to get the job done quickly, maybe you want to find another personality type. Just as with all the personalities, the ‘I’ profile has weaknesses including unfocused and impulsive.
Parenting Strategies for the High I Child
What can you do to help the high “I” child succeed? Encourage the high ‘I’ child with short term goals and recognition, so they will flourish. At the same time they need to have clear boundaries and be held accountable and responsible. Just as they are great at influencing and encouraging others they can also lean toward manipulating others with their charming personality. Don’t let them talk their way out of the necessary chores and details of life! The energizing fuel for this personality is FUN! You will get better cooperation if you can inject some element of fun into their responsibilities. Perhaps make tasks into a game or contest. Resist bailing them out if they fail to follow-through though and help them develop the discipline necessary to accomplish their goals.
Your Parent Personality Style Matters
As always, your own personality style can influence how you parent.
- If you are a high ‘D’ personality style, you will need to remember that the ‘I’ personality is more concerned about relationships and having fun than results. Your skill in accomplishing the goals is something the ‘I’ personality can benefit from learning. Help them learn to transform talk into action.
- If you are also an ‘I’ wired parent then you will have a lot in common with your fun-loving and social child. However, make sure that you help your child develop organizational skills and responsibility as well.
- If you are a ‘S’ wired parent, keeping up with the pace of this active and outgoing child can be a challenge for you. You must learn to set firm limits and follow through, since her charming and fast-talking ability can leave you wondering how you got persuaded into something you had no intention of doing. Hold her accountable and do not overdo for her.
- If you are a ‘C’ wired parent, you must first recognize that your personality is exactly opposite of that of your ‘I’ wired child. You may need to modify your high expectations and look for ways to encourage him in his strengths. This child hungers for acceptance and recognition, so find ways to encourage them as much as they encourage others.
Finally, no matter what your wired parenting style is, find time to enjoy your high ‘I’ child as much as they enjoy life! They can bring sunshine and smiles into any group they are a part of. Hopefully like Carleigh, they will someday say, “You raised me swell.”
To download a Personality Style Information sheet that identifies the four basic personality styles and strategies for working with each one, join the pack on the sidebar!