Category Archives: personality style

Parenting the Introvert

Celebrating the Introverted Personality

When I teach parent training groups on personality style, one question that often comes up is how to best parent a child who is reserved or introverted. I always reassure parents that there is no one single personality style that is better than another.  This statement often resonates in a powerful way with many participants since our culture does promote the extroverted personality style over the introverted as the way to be successful, popular and well-adjusted.

In actuality, there is much evidence that the reserved personality style is equally successful, popular and well-adjusted, especially when they focus on their unique characteristics and work in their strengths. If the parent is an extrovert themselves they may feel that they need to help their child become more outgoing and get more involved in a social network.  I always caution parents and other adults in an introverted child’s life to learn to celebrate their child’s unique and positive characteristics rather than try to change them.

What is the definition of an introvert anyway?

According to Marti Olsen Laney  in The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People can Thrive in an Extrovert World, there are three main differences between an introvert and an extrovert.

  • An introvert gets their energy from within.  They are energized by their internal world, ideas, impressions and emotions.  Like a rechargeable battery they often need to plan ahead and replenish their energy by finding some quiet alone time. Extroverts on the other hand are energized by interacting with others. They are like the Energizer bunny that keeps going and going because  the more they interact, the more energized they feel.
  • An introvert can feel drained and overstimulated by too many activities.  They may need to dial down the amount of stimulation or simplify their environment so they don’t feel overwhelmed. Extroverts on the other hand are energized by the external world of people, places and things.  They enjoy lots of activities and stimulation.
  • An introvert accrues knowledge by going deep.  They tend to have a narrow but in depth focus in their interactions with others and in their experiences.  They want to know a lot about any particular area of interest.  Introverts tend to have fewer but very close friends.  Extroverts accrue knowledge by going wide rather than deep. They typically will have many friends and acquaintances and seek a wide variety of experiences.

There are many misconceptions about the introvert personality style.  Here are a few more facts about introverts:

  • Introverts are not shy.  Shyness is a form of social anxiety and both introverts and extroverts can be shy.  Both introverts and extroverts enjoy interaction with people. The way that they are energized is the main difference.
  • Introverts enjoy talking but they communicate differently than extroverts.  Introverts think first, form their opinion and then speak.  Because of this introverts may need a little time to process a question. Extroverts think and talk at the same time, clarifying their thoughts and opinions as they speak.
  • Introverts are not anti-social.  They enjoy people just as extroverts do.  They may be outspoken and lively, especially in familiar comfortable settings.  However, introverts will eventually need some quiet time to recharge their energy.

Parenting the Introverted Personality Style

The book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking ,  author, Susan Cain identifies research that validates the differences in personality style that even infants and young children display. However her main focus is the often-overlooked value and strengths of the introvert.  She concludes her book with a section on “How to Cultivate Quiet Kids in a World That Can’t Hear Them”.  Her advice to parents can be summarized as follows:

  • Take the time to understand the personality style of your introverted child
  • Don’t try to change them into someone more extroverted by pushing them into sports, activities, play dates or anything that they are not interested in doing
  • Recognize that the areas where they have strengths are sometimes solitary pursuits.  Encourage and celebrate these talents.
  • Learn about and share with them the lives of some of the famous introverts, such as Rosa Parks, Albert Einstein or Eleanor Roosevelt.
  • Recognize and teach children that introverts can be leaders, performers, really anything that they have a passion for, they just go at it from a different direction.
  • Celebrate with your child the characteristics they have that make them uniquely special.

Related Posts:

Celebrate your Child’s Personality Style

Personality Style and Motivation

Help Kids Set Goals that Motivate


Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Friendship

It’s not easy being the new kid at school, especially if you are a cat and everyone else is a dog.  How do you make friends?  Can you even be friends with someone who is totally different from you?  Wyatt the Wonder Dog helps solve Ami’s friendship problem with empathy and compassion. A great story for teaching children the critical life skill of making friends.

Wyatt the Wonder Dog-Friendship Cover (1)

Wyatt Learns about Friendship



Help Kids Set Goals that Motivate

Do you sometimes wish that you could swap your personality for another?

Do you wish you could swap a child’s personality for another, at least long enough to get them to finish their homework or do their chores?

If you are reserved, do you wish that you could be more outgoing?

If you are a detail person, do you wish that you could be  more sensitive to people and their feelings?

We all have aspects of our personality that we sometimes wish we could change.

The Four Basic Personality Styles

Understanding and speaking the same language is important isn’t it?  Speaking a child’s personality language is helpful in parenting as well.   This is especially true if you want to help a child set goals that motivate them.  As a quick reminder the four main personality types are:

D wired=dominant, decisive, determined, doer

I wired=interactive, inspiring, influential, initiator

S wired=stable, sweet, shy, likes status quo

C wired=conscientious, careful, cautious, careful

Personality Style and Motivation

If you have a D wired child, then you will want to help them chose a goal that is very specific and has a deadline.  D personalities are highly motivated and competitive, so setting a goal to give their energy some direction will be very successful.

I wired children are great starters but not such great finishers.  They thrive on social interaction and recognition, so setting a goal that involves a social network to support and encourage them to achieve it is best.  Add in an element of fun and the I wired child will be hooked.

S wired children are great finishers but have difficulty starting tasks.  They are tuned in to the needs of others and will work to accomplish a goal as much to please you as to please themselves.  Select a goal that they can commit to with your support or the support of a close friend to motivate them.

Finally, C wired children love to develop and research a goal.  When they are committed to a goal, they are conscientious and  will work hard to accomplish the task.  Help them see the big picture so that they don’t get lost in the details and you will have a winning combination.

Learning to set and accomplish goals is an important skill to learn and by speaking a child’s personality language, you can ensure that they are successful.

Related Posts:

DISCover Your Personality Style

Celebrate Your Child’s Personality Style

Parenting and Teaching the High Energy Child

Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Cooperation

Wyatt wants to play Frisbee. Max want to build a fort and Callie wants to have tea party. How do the three friends reconcile their differences? Can it be done? When Wyatt doesn’t get his way, Max’s mother suggests he be the Superhero for the day. Join Wyatt as he learns how the magic of cooperation and compromise can bring the five friends closer together.

Wyatt the Wonder Dog -Cooperation Cover
Wyatt the Wonder Dog: Learns About Cooperation (Volume 6)



The power of ‘not yet’ in changing behavior

As I visit schools and provide training in DISC personality style to staff and parents, I’m often asked, “Can you change your basic personality style or is it just hard-wired in?”  The exciting news in all areas of human development is that we can change and grow in many ways. Personality style is no different.  We can change our perception.  We can change our behavior.  We can change our personality style.

However, it’s not always necessary to change our personality so much as it is to recognize and work in our strengths. Every personality style has strengths and areas of concern.

A high D personality style can be decisive and determined.  Or they can be bossy and domineering.

A high I personality style can be interactive and inspiring.  Or they can be impulsive and self-centered.

A high S personality style can be supportive and encouraging.  Or they can be passive and too compliant.

A high C  personality style can be conscientious and competent.  Or they can be paralyzed by details and insensitive.

I think you get the picture.  We all have the potential to maximize our strengths and be both a great leader and a great team-player but doing so means recognizing our areas of potential weakness and overcoming them.  There is always room to grow and change for the better.

Although much of Carol Dweck’s work on the growth mindset is around the area of improving academics, it is also relevant to improving behavior. Just as we can teach kids that their behavior is “not yet” optimal, we can also teach that there is always another chance  for change.  Just as kids can be taught that they can learn and grow academically, they can also be taught that they can learn and grow behaviorally.  Their daily behavior strengthens neural patterns making change and improvement easier and easier to repeat.

This is exciting news because we can help kids understand their potential for success. We can help kids learn to not only accept challenges but look forward to them because they mean growth.  We can help them understand that their behavior now is not yet optimal but that there is opportunity for improvement starting right now.  Notice as well that we aren’t passing out rewards, stickers, candy and toys to improve behavior.  Instead we are focusing on the intrinsic reward of growth and goal achievement. We are creating a positive vision for the future.  Most importantly we are preparing kids for the endless possibilities ahead.

Listen to Carol Dweck talk about the power of “not yet” over the tyranny of “now”.


Related posts:

How to create a better behavior plan

How do you change a child’s behavior?

How effective is your school’s ISS?

Parenting with Heart: Understanding your Child’s Personality Style

Do you sometimes feel that your children are speaking a different language?  Do you wonder how to motivate and inspire them?  In this eBook you will D-I-S-Cover your own personality style and how to speak the language of other personality styles to create a winning  environment in all the seasons of your family’s life.


Click on the link below to purchase the ebook:

Parenting with Heart: Understanding Personality Style


 Wyatt Goes to Kindergarten

Wyatt has never liked change, at least not at first.  Once he tries something new, he usually finds he really likes it.  Now that he is about to begin kindergarten, Wyatt is really worried.  Will he make friends?  Will he get lost in the new school?  Will he miss his mom?  Join Wyatt in his latest “wonder-full” adventure!Wyatt-kKindergarten_thumb
Wyatt the Wonder Dog: Goes to Kindergarten


DISCover Your Personality Style

Good counselors and educators do things well.

Great counselors teach and inspire others to do things well.

This month I was at the Kentucky School Counselor Conference in Lexington, Kentucky (shout out to all the GREAT counselors that I met there), where I taught a session on understanding personality style and working in your strengths. One of the advantages of training counselors in DISC personality is the enthusiasm that they bring to the session.  DISC training adds an innovative and creative tool to the counselor toolbox.

Not familiar with DISC personality training?  Here are the basics:

The Four Basic Personality Styles

According to the DISC personality program, there are four basic personality styles.  We are all blends of these.  Here are the characteristics of each.:

D:  dominant, determined, decisive

I:  interactive, inspiring, influential

S:  stable, sweet, supportive

C:  competent, cautious, conscientious

Why DISC works

There are several reasons why the DISC is a good fit for anyone working with children.  Here are some of the reasons that as a certified DISC trainer, I love sharing this with counselors, educators and parents.

  • DISC is a great tool because it is easy to understand.  This means that counselors can quickly learn the basic four personality styles and share them with parents, students and educators on their team.  Unlike some personality assessments that take the equivalent of a college degree to understand, DISC can be taught in a quick one time session.
  • DISC is a great tool because it is practical and immediately applicable.  Most participants in my sessions not only quickly understand how it works but they begin sharing insights about themselves and other participants while we are still in the session.  They also gain insight into interactions with coworkers, family members and friends.
  • DISC is a great tool because it transforms relationships.  When you learn the personality styles, you don’t just understand yourself better, you also begin to understand and celebrate all the other personality styles around you.  It helps you encourage leadership traits (which show up differently for the different styles) and you learn how to motivate each different style by working in their unique strengths and interests.

If you aren’t familiar with DISC personality assessment, I hope I’ve piqued your curiosity.  Similar to the growth mindset work that Carol Dweck has done, DISC encourages an openness to learning from failure as well as success.  It celebrates our differences and encourages us to focus on and develop our strengths.

Interested in learning more about your personality style?  You can take an online assessment on this website.  I’ll even do an interpretation for you to help you make sense of the information.  Check out the sidebar on for more information.

Want to learn how understanding personality can transform your perspective and relationships?  Check out these additional articles on DISC and children:

Personality Style and Motivation

Celebrate Your Child’s Unique Voice

Parenting and Teaching the High Energy Child


Parenting with Heart: Understanding your Child’s Personality Style

Do you sometimes feel that your children are speaking a different language?  Do you wonder how to motivate and inspire them?  In this ebook you will D-I-S-Cover your own personality style and how to speak the language of other personality styles to create a winning  environment in all the seasons of your family’s life. parentingheart Click on the link below to purchase the ebook: Parenting with Heart: Understanding Personality Style

Teaching with Heart:  Understanding Personality Style

Do you sometimes feel that students at your school are speaking a different language?  Do you wonder how to motivate and inspire them?  In this ebook you will D-I-S-Cover your own personality style and learn to work in the strengths of each personality by recognizing the secret fuel and environmental needs for each.  Understanding the personality styles of students can revolutionize how you interact and lead in the classroom! teachingdiscover

 Click on the link below to purchase the ebook:

Teaching with Heart: Understanding Personality Styles


Interested in having a DISC training come to your school?  Get more information here:


Celebrate Your Child’s Unique Voice

What does it mean to be authentic or real?

Is being authentic something to be achieved or a continual practice?

Can you be who you really are and still show compassion to others who are different?

How do we teach children to recognize and  be their authentic selves?

Teaching children to be authentic ultimately translates into helping each individual recognize that they are enough just as they are.  This doesn’t of course mean that we aren’t all continually striving to learn more and become our best possible selves.  Instead it means that we come equipped with the capacity to to be uniquely and authentically  ourselves; that awesome, fantastic individual that we were born to be.

Understanding Personality Styles Means Accepting Different Personality Styles

One way we are all unique is the personality style that makes up who we are.  A goal of understanding the four basic personality styles is to move from tolerating a personality style  in ourselves or others to accepting and ultimately celebrating that personality style. We are all a unique blend of  strengths and challenges.

In ourselves as well as in our children, we must first come to accept and celebrate those strengths rather than focusing on changing or eliminating those undesirable aspects. No one personality is better than another.  Each one can use it’s strengths to grow and develop.

Four Personalty Styles

There are four basic personality styles and here’s a short description of the characteristics of each one:

D: dominant, determined, doer, demanding

I: inspiring, influencing, interactive

S: stable, supportive, sweet, shy

C: cautious, competent, calculating, concerned

While we are all uniquely wired and more comfortable operating out of our own personality type, it is certainly possible to “visit” some of the other personality traits. In order to do this, we have to recognize the area of need and consciously make a choice to develop those traits.

Steps to Finding and Celebrating Your Child’s Unique Style

What does this mean for you and your child? What is the best way to encourage your child’s strengths while at the same time helping them deal with situations that challenge them?

  1. Recognize your child’s personality style,. Point out to them the strengths and positive attributes that you see every day.
  2. Teach children to recognize situations where they are challenged.  Teach them problem solving strategies so they see themselves as someone who faces obstacles with persistence and thoughtfulness.
  3. Celebrate the unique qualities that make up your child. The differences we all have is what makes our families special and unique.

Want to read more about personality styles and blends?

Parenting with Heart: Understanding your Child’s Personality Style

Do you sometimes feel that your children are speaking a different language?  Do you wonder how to motivate and inspire them?  In this ebook you will D-I-S-Cover your own personality style and how to speak the language of other personality styles to create a winning  environment in all the seasons of your family’s life. parentingheart Click on the link below to purchase the ebook: Parenting with Heart: Understanding Personality Style

Parenting and Teaching the High Energy Child

Is there a student in your class who is the energizer bunny?  Always moving… always talking?

Is your child a bundle of energy and curiosity, moving from one activity to another but never completing anything?

Does your child love interaction and being in the center of attention?

Then you are probably blessed with a child with an I personality style.

The Four Basic Personality Styles

According to the DISC personality program, there are four basic personality styles.  We are all blends of these.  Here are the characteristics of each.:

D:  dominant, determined, decisive

I:  interactive, inspiring, influential

S:  stable, sweet, supportive

C:  competent, cautious, conscientious

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/Teaching 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  ‘I’ wired  then you will have a lot in common with your fun-loving and social child.  However, make sure that you help them develop organizational skills and responsibility as well.
  • If you are  ‘S’ wired  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 “C’ wired, 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  or teaching 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.

Related Posts

Celebrate Your Child-the Introvert

How to Thrive with a Strong Willed Child

Do your kids push your buttons?


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!

Wyatt Learns about Being Organized

It’s time to catch the school bus and Wyatt can’t find anything.  Where is his backpack?  his lunch money? Wyatt is about to learn a valuable lesson about the importance of being organized and the benefits of planning ahead.  This adorable story offers simple helpful ideas that kids and parents can use to make life less stressful and more fun.

Wyatt the Wonder Dog: Learns About Being Organized