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Helping families make the most of personality differences.

Different Views of Decision Making
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TAGS: Decision Making, Differences, Mothering Styles, Problem Solving, Teenagers

Different Views of Decision Making

Yvonne Nelson-Reid, BEd, MA, MA, PhD
YVONNE NELSON-REID, BEd, MA, MA, PhD, is a mother of 5, writer, teacher, depth psychologist, and career coach. Teaching in a classroom, in her home, or on the ice as a figure skating coach has taught her a great deal about relationships and the importance of communication. As a certified MBTI and MMTIC professional, she uses typology as a tool for helping others understand differences and communicate more effectively. As a career coach she assists others in discovering careers that suit their personality.
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Last summer we moved from Virginia to Texas, leaving behind our college-aged daughter who was about to enter her sophomore year. It was a tough year for us both. She was homesick and I missed her dearly.

Over her December break, she started thinking about transferring schools so that she could move closer to us. Although this is what I had been hoping for, I knew this needed to be her decision. I could listen, I could lend support, and perhaps even encouraging words, but all in all, she needed to be the one to decide.

We are close so I thought the process would go smoothly for us, but I was wrong, at least at the start. Our personalities came up against each other. When I gather information to make a decision, I look at the big picture. I imagine what the future might look like and all the possibilities it might bring. She, on the other hand, has difficulty looking beyond the present and draws upon the past when thinking through a situation.

For her, it was hard to look beyond all her wonderful experiences at her current school: the professors, her friendships, her many successes. Yet at the same time she was feeling drawn to be closer to family. The unknown was terrifying her and making the “right” decision was an overwhelming task.



Of course, I jumped in with my excitement of new adventures, new beginnings, and all the amazing opportunities that a new bigger city could offer her. Each time we spoke, she seemed to get more and more frustrated, sometimes ending our calls abruptly with an agitated tone. I was just trying to help! At least I thought I was helping but once I thought about it more, I realized that I was offering her advice and suggestions based on what “I” would want to hear and not what “she” needed or wanted to hear.

Lending her support meant listening and validating her experience and what she would be leaving behind. Then I could gently bring in those possibilities that lay before her, a little at a time. When talking about those possibilities, however, I would bring in the past. For example, she was so afraid that she wouldn’t make new friends, so I would remind her of how she felt that way when she first started college, and how quickly she made some wonderful new friends.

Rather than just focus on the future, I brought in her past experiences to remind her that she had done it before and could do it again. Although I’m sure she will still have some tough times ahead of her, she has moved and so far, is thrilled with her decision. This experience could have driven a wedge between us, but in learning to work with each other’s personality styles and respecting our differences, we came through it all—closer than ever.


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