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PeopleStripes.org article

Trick or Treat : How Important are Holiday Traditions? (From the Kids)

Oct 04, 2022
Gracyn Nelson-Reid
GRACYN NELSON-REID is a junior at the University of Texas San Antonio. She is majoring in Biology and plans to attend medical school. Gracyn has been immersed in personality type theory from the time she was born! Her mom is a certified MBTI® and MMTIC® professional who introduced type theory and type language to her children to help them understand and appreciate differences.
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In this series, From the Kids, we are excited to share the first article written by a kid who is now a young adult! Gracyn Nelson-Reid, a junior in university, shares what it was like growing up in a household that supported personality type differences and encouraged the use of type language. Here are her ghostly insights on type and family traditions around Halloween celebrations.

With Halloween just around the corner, my thoughts turn to holiday celebrations and how personality type awareness has helped ease my anxiety and potential for family conflict. I've grown up in a family that welcomed personality type differences, where we were taught to recognize and appreciate those differences. There are seven of us and we all have different personality types! Type played a big part in my upbringing.

Holidays are always celebrated with unique traditions that make my family who we are. There is one particular tradition that we look forward to each Halloween, even as all the kids become adults. Every Halloween, since I was a young child, my family makes a Halloween-themed dinner. Mom's philosophy was to try and get something "healthy" into our tummies before trick-or-treating and the impending candy binge. These yummy treats included witch finger sandwiches (made of peanut butter and jelly, cut into thin strips like fingers with a jelly dollop on the end to represent a bloody nail), mummies (hot dogs wrapped in layered strips of dough), brains (Rice Krispies treats in the shape of a brain and dyed pink), amputated mouths (apple slices to represent lips with marshmallows for teeth), ghosts (strawberries dipped in white chocolate), eyeballs (grapes), and blood (red Gatorade) to drink. While these treats may seem silly, as kids, it was our favorite holiday meal! Our mom would put in an incredible amount of effort to bring a smile to our face which speaks to her own type preferences, specifically her preference for Feeling.

We would have this Halloween-themed meal before we went trick-or-treating. It quickly became a yearly tradition and a meal we would crave to satisfy our Halloween holiday hopes. A couple of years ago, since us kids were getting older and we were no longer trick-or-treating, my mom decided to cancel the Halloween-themed meal, thinking we would no longer be interested. That year, there were only two of us who were under the age of 18: my younger brother and me. The absence of the meal that year didn't sit well with me. I wasn't sure why I was so bothered by my mom's decision, until I reflected upon my personality type preferences. I prefer Extroversion, Sensing, Feeling, and Judging (ESFJ). As someone who prefers Sensing, traditions and details are important to me.

In a world of chaos, I rely on these traditions as a constant in a sea of change. With traditions, I have something familiar to look forward to and the memories of past years bring a sense of security that helps to alleviate my anxieties and worries for the future. So, when my mom decided not to proceed with the tradition that year, I felt uneasy. That night as my silence deafened the room, my mom knew that I was feeling upset. Since she is an expert on personality type, she suspected it might be type related. After talking with me, she recognized that it likely had to do with stopping our Halloween dinner family tradition and my Sensing preference. I wasn't alone; my siblings who also prefer Sensing were feeling disappointed, too, as they love tradition as much as me. My siblings with an Intuition preference love the Halloween dinner, as well, but for different reasons; they are excited each year to add some new imaginative treats to the menu!

While traditions may not seem important to everyone, neglecting a family tradition may cause anxiety for some people. We count on the stability that these traditions bring to us. Around the holidays, anxiety can come up in different ways, so it's crucial to have a conversation with those close to you to lessen miscommunication and the potential for family conflict. I'd suggest, based on my experience, that you discuss your concerns around the holiday season, how traditions do or do not lend stability, and which traditions you'd like to keep or are ready to let go.

Not really a tradition per se, but certainly related to Halloween and type preferences, costume choice seemed to showcase our type differences in the family, too. For those of us who prefer Sensing, our costumes were typically practical and realistic, like being a cat, a laundry basket, or a common character, easy costumes to make or a premade costume to buy. Whereas my siblings who prefer Intuition often dreamed up something so imaginative that it was either impossible to make, impossible to find, or impossible for people to even recognize, like obscure television or Broadway musical characters!

All in all, I have fond memories of many Halloweens spent together as a family. One day my own children will get to experience the fun of our ghoulish meal, a tradition I hope to continue and pass on to future generations. For now, I'm looking forward to this year's yummy dinner, and although we no longer trick-or-treat in the neighborhood, mom makes sure that candy is always on the menu. Happy Halloween!


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Sensor Creativity: Type Tip #11

Sensors begin with the concrete and move to the innovative. They build new creations based on what they know now. The Dyson vacuum is an example. The commercials say "we took what was, then changed the wheels for a ball, changed the suction to have no bag, and now, moved the power to the handle." A new machine was created by starting with the known and moving to the new. This is a great example of the creative process in Sensing types.

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Sep 02, 2021
Yvonne Nelson-Reid, PhD
YVONNE NELSON-REID, PhD, is the Senior Development Associate at the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT®), the publisher for the People Stripes® website, a mother of 5, writer, teacher (BEd, MA), depth psychologist – Jungian and archetypal studies (MA, PhD), and career coach. Parenting, teaching in a classroom, or on the ice as a figure skating coach has taught her a great deal about relationships and the importance of communication.
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People tend to make inaccurate assumptions about themselves when faced with a problem to solve that requires them to go outside of their natural personality type. We can all use our opposite preferences when a situation requires it, however, it might feel awkward or uncomfortable, and we may be less effective in how we use them, leading to stress and a sense of personal failure. Children may experience this at a higher rate.

In this second article of "From the Kids" series, Yvonne Nelson-Reid chronicles a moment in her daughter's journey of understanding personality type differences and the compromises needed to succeed in school.

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Introversion or Just Shy? : Type Tip #12

There is a difference between the energy of introversion and shyness. Shyness is a social trait which causes a person to hesitate in social encounters. People who prefer Introversion only hesitate when the thought or situation is new. There is no hesitation with familiar settings. Also, introversion gives us a cue about how a person regains their energy. Shyness is a behavioral reaction. A person who prefers Extraversion may also be shy, gaining energy through interaction but hesitating in social situations.

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Give the gift of type awareness. It can help you to spread peace, joy, and love this holiday season.

Happy Holiday Type Tips for All

Nov 29, 2022
Yvonne Nelson-Reid, PhD
YVONNE NELSON-REID, PhD, is the Senior Development Associate at the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT®), the publisher for the People Stripes® website, a mother of 5, writer, teacher (BEd, MA), depth psychologist – Jungian and archetypal studies (MA, PhD), and career coach. Parenting, teaching in a classroom, or on the ice as a figure skating coach has taught her a great deal about relationships and the importance of communication.
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Happy holidays from People Stripes! May these type tips be our gift to you, bringing you peace, joy, and love, with the hope of acceptance this holiday season.

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Word Choice Matters: Type Tip #15

Frame your question with the mental process (Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, Feeling) you want them to use. Your choice of words influences which process is used in the response: "Find the flaw..." (Thinking), "Help me explore other possibilities..." (Intuition), "What do we already know?" (Sensing), and "What makes this important?" (Feeling). 

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Thinking/Feeling - Both Decision Words: Type Tip #16

Those with a Thinking preference tend to hear the word "feel" as an emotion. Those with a Feeling preference hear that word as a decision, a choice. So, when I work with young children, I try to use a pair of words. Instead of saying "How do you feel about that?" I say, "What do you think or feel about that?" Children who prefer Thinking can latch onto the "think" word and children with a Feeling preference can latch onto the word "feel."


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Teens can use the Z-model to make better decisions

Personality Type and Social Emotional Learning: Responsible Decision-Making (SEL Series – Part 4)

May 03, 2022
Yvonne Nelson-Reid, PhD
YVONNE NELSON-REID, PhD, is the Senior Development Associate at the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT®), the publisher for the People Stripes® website, a mother of 5, writer, teacher (BEd, MA), depth psychologist – Jungian and archetypal studies (MA, PhD), and career coach. Parenting, teaching in a classroom, or on the ice as a figure skating coach has taught her a great deal about relationships and the importance of communication.
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In this fourth article of the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) series, Yvonne Nelson-Reid presents how to approach the SEL core competency of Responsible Decision-Making by using the Zig-Zag Process™ (Z-model). The Z-model introduces a balanced method for decision-making by using all four mental processes of Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling to allow for clearer perceptions and sounder judgments.

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Type and Decision-Making: Type Tip #21

Use the Z-model of decision-making with children just as you do with adults. Before bringing closure to a decision, they should answer four key questions.  

  1. Do we have all the information we need? (Sensing)  
  2. Should we consider other possibilities? (Intuition)  
  3. Is this reasonable? Can we really do it? (Thinking)  
  4. Is this important? Is it worth my time? (Feeling) 

They may need help answering the questions but asking the questions prepares them to look at an issue from a variety of perspectives. These four questions are only an example. Many others could be used. 


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A diverse group of students, working together, can develop empathy and appreciation for differences and similarities.

Personality Type and Social Emotional Learning: Social Awareness (SEL Series – Part 6)

Jul 05, 2022
Yvonne Nelson-Reid, PhD
YVONNE NELSON-REID, PhD, is the Senior Development Associate at the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT®), the publisher for the People Stripes® website, a mother of 5, writer, teacher (BEd, MA), depth psychologist – Jungian and archetypal studies (MA, PhD), and career coach. Parenting, teaching in a classroom, or on the ice as a figure skating coach has taught her a great deal about relationships and the importance of communication.
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In the sixth article of the series, Personality Type and Social Emotional Learning, Yvonne Nelson-Reid highlights how Social Awareness, along with an understanding and appreciation of type differences, can make way for the constructive use of these differences. Differences often drive us apart, but valuing these differences can unite us and instill greater compassion and empathy for others.

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Siblings in conflict can use type awareness to navigate their differences and appreciate each other's natural type preferences

It is Okay to be Me! Navigating Sibling Conflict

Aug 30, 2022
Sandra Etherington
SANDRA ETHERINGTON is a mother of two and the host of the Family Personalities podcast, a show that helps break down personality type models so that we can use them in our everyday parenting. A UCLA alumna, with a background in mathematics, Sandra has a love of models that help us understand humans and our interactions with one another.
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This month’s article is by Sandra Etherington, a mother of two who is an MBTI® and MMTIC® certified professional. Sandra eloquently shares her own parenting experience dealing with her children and a conflict that arose between Thinking and Feeling preferences.

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The Joy is in the Details: Type Tip #24

Children with a Sensing preference enjoy sharing all the rich details of an event. How could you possibly understand the ending if you don't know all the pieces? When asked to describe a presentation at school a young child who prefers Sensing started with "We were on Unit 22 - Rounding" and then she continued with explicit details. Their joy is sharing. If you do not have time to listen to everything it would be better to say, "Tell me Chapters 1 and 2 now and save the rest of the story for later. I can listen better then." Hurrying a child's (Sensing preference) narration can send a secondary message that the details are not important when they really are important to them.

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Thinking Out Loud with Extraversion: Type Tip #25

Because people who prefer Extraversion tend to think "out loud" they sometimes say one thing but change direction quickly. A parent with a preference for Introversion might overreact to a comment too soon. When talking with a child who prefers Extraversion, if they express something that is perplexing, I usually ask first, "Is this a final thought or a thought still forming?" If it is a final thought, you can react. If it is a forming thought, you can wait for the final version before reacting.

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Shifting your perspective to see the gifts of a child's personality preference can help you find gratitude in moments of frustration.

Thanksgiving: Gratitude Through Type

Oct 31, 2022
Sandra Etherington
SANDRA ETHERINGTON is a mother of two and the host of the Family Personalities podcast, a show that helps break down personality type models so that we can use them in our everyday parenting. A UCLA alumna, with a background in mathematics, Sandra has a love of models that help us understand humans and our interactions with one another.
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What are your kids' personality preferences and have you ever found yourself frustrated by them? In this month's article, Sandra Etherington shares how to shift your perspective to discover reasons to be grateful for your child's individual personality preferences.

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"To Go" Mat: Type Tip #26

If you have a child with ESP (Extraversion, Sensing, Perceiving) preferences you may appreciate using a "To Go" mat. This type is energized by what is happening in the moment and can get so distracted by current events that they forget something you just gave them to hold such as a water bottle for the soccer game. Buy a carpet sample or a mat. Designate it as the "To Go" mat. When the child has something that will need to go with them in the car (e.g., book bag, water bottle, coat, homework) they take it immediately to the "To Go" mat and place it there. When they are ready to go to the car they stop and pick up the things that are on the "To Go" mat. It works much better than saying repeatedly, "I just gave it to you. Where did you put it?"

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