- Helping families make the most of personality differences.

Helping families make the most of personality differences.

2 Results tagged "Preparation"


TAGS: Decision Making, Guiding, About MMTIC, Choices, Communication, Differences, Preparation, Self-Management

Using Choices to Increase Individuality

Elizabeth Murphy, Ed.D.
ELIZABETH MURPHY, Ed.D., is a psychologist and type expert whose research focuses on verifying the development of normal personality differences according to the theory of psychological type. She works extensively with families and teams of people to improve communication and resolve relationship needs.
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Teachers and parents often agree that individuality should be encouraged in the home and in the classroom, but sometimes we hear comments from teachers that sound like this: "How am I supposed to do that when there are more than 30 students in the class?"

Schedules and requirements can exhaust teachers, so even when their heart is willing the energy is not there. Parents and teachers can begin the differentiation process with their children by speaking in pairs of choices that resonate with Jung's theory.

Giving children a chance to select the way they think or feel is good for them because they will explore new and challenging ways of making decisions. The children may not know psychological type concepts but the parent and teacher can open the door to Jung's ideas by talking in pairs and giving type choices. Maintaining the same task expectation for all but allowing varied ways of accomplishing that task objective can increase individual development and expression.

Adults new to the theory of personality type ideas sometimes struggle with developing pairs of choices for the children. Having a standard set of options for each of the dichotomies can be a beginning point. These can be exchanged for a million other paired options.

It is important that the "choice pairs" contain an option from each side of the theory's dichotomies, and the children must have a choice. Offering these language choices several times daily gives children developmental opportunities and increases their chance to discover the best ways that work for them.

Some potential examples are listed for each of the dichotomies in Jung's theory. Encourage students to look at both perspectives but to start with their favorite way.

  1. Would you like to talk about the story first with your friend and then complete the worksheet (E) or would you like to complete the worksheet first and then share your thoughts with your friend (I)?
  2. Would you like to study with a team (E) or on your own (I)?
  3. Would you like to talk out your ideas while you are forming your thoughts (E) or would you like to think about things before you share your ideas (I)?
  1. Would you rather think about all the facts and information you know about this topic before you pick your idea of a project (S) or would you like to think of an innovative project first and then figure out how to make it real (N)?
  2. Do you like to follow directions that are clear and plentiful to do your best (S) or would you like a general idea of what to do so you can explore options of new ways to try (N)? If the child says they want directions, tell them they can remain and ask questions for as long as they need. More likely the Intuitive children will leave early and the Sensing children will ask questions until they are comfortable with their amount of directions given.
  3. Do you understand better when information is presented in order (S) or do you like making connections between ideas to learn (N)? Intuitive children seem to enjoy using mnemonic connections to help them recall specific information whereas Sensing children seem to like being able to memorize when the order is predictable and accurate.


  1. Do you decide what to do with your first thought (T) or do you decide what is more important and start there (F)?
  2. Do you choose what you think will produce the best project (T) or do you choose what you think will be important to the team (F)?
  3. Do you notice what is incorrect first (T) or what is well done first (F)?
  1. Do you want to get your homework done well but as quickly as possible so you have more free time (J) or do you want to determine the last moment you can start and still get it done well (P)? If the latter is your best way, calculate the last moment you can start and still get it done on time. You may want to add some extra time "just in case" there are unexpected interruptions.
  2. Do you do better when you know the plans for the day (J) or when there are unexpected surprises in the day (P)? Planful children can ask to be told when the schedule will change. Playful children can ask to take a personal "fun" break for 10 minutes if they have completed some of the work. The choice must be theirs. But all children must finish the work on time
  3. Do you like to work first and then play (J) or do you like to play around while you get your work done (P)? If your style is to be playful while you work be sure your playful style does not interfere with another person's working style.

What if your child can't choose? Tell them that either choice is a good place to begin. "Try one this time and try the other next time. The goal is to help you determine what is your best choice for you and to recognize there will be others in the class who might choose a different way."

Set a personal goal to incorporate dual options in your classroom daily and as many times a day as possible. Don't be overwhelmed-chose one set of differences to start and increase your use of language-driven choices from that point. Theoretically driven options encourage greater self-awareness in children, increase independence, and contribute to the healthy development of the child's personality.

The strategy and implementation are free. It takes only a moment of time and it makes a critical difference.

You can learn more about the dichotomies and your individual personality type by taking the MBTI® assessment; your children can learn their type by taking the MMTIC® assessment.

It's Their Homework Not Yours

TAGS: Boundaries, Homework, Preparation

It's Their Homework Not Yours – How to Help Without Taking Over the Work

Elizabeth Murphy, Ed.D.
ELIZABETH MURPHY, Ed.D., is a psychologist and type expert whose research focuses on verifying the development of normal personality differences according to the theory of psychological type. She works extensively with families and teams of people to improve communication and resolve relationship needs.
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Have you endured the experience of supervising, snoopervising, and actually doing your child’s homework? I believe every parent wants the child to do the work independently but for some that habit does not seem to develop naturally. Some parents monitor every step of their child’s work, and the child learns to manipulate the system until the parent is doing more work than the child.

The best way a parent can help a child with homework is to set the stage, help with needed materials, and help with comprehension. These tasks can be accomplished by asking 3 simple questions.

1. Do you have everything you need to do your work? (supplies)

2. Do you want to get this done? Do you care about this assignment? (motivation)

3. Do you understand the assignment? Do you know what you must do? (comprehension)

Always have a procedure so the child can ask a comprehension question. They come to you. You help with the question. They return to their workspace. Getting them to move away from their workspace will help give a break and a new perspective, and it helps keep the parent from inserting themselves into the homework process longer than is needed.

When you start with those three broad questions, you teach your child how to assess the situation, how to develop potential solutions, and how to implement the most reasonable solution first. Resist any temptation to direct, take over, and lecture. If you start by telling them what they need, your brain is working, not theirs. If you get flak about the stupidity of the assignment, resist the temptation to lecture. They may say, “I don’t care about this; I don’t think I’m even going to bother doing it.” Resist the lecture.

Many parents respond with comments as “How do you think you are going to get through school? Do you think life is always going to be positive? Do you think you’re going to always get to do just what you want to do?” You are not motivating them. You are just lecturing. That won’t help the situation. You can use good listening skills by reflecting what you heard your child say. “This just seems like a silly assignment and you wish you did not have to do it. That seems like a discussion to be held with your teacher. Right now, that’s the assignment. Until it is changed it must be completed.”

When we allow the child to take leadership in getting the materials (supplies), getting on board (motivation), and checking for their understanding or calling a friend for help (comprehension), then the child is in charge of their assignment. This process leads to the greater independent processing skills they will need in the future as they become better at self-management. Sometimes good parenting with homework tasks is knowing how to set the stage and knowing when to step back.

If the child does not do the homework, ask him or her to analyze the situation and determine if he needs additional assistance with supplies, motivation, or comprehension. Failure to complete the work is not an option. Getting help with one of the three specific areas is an option.

If the student has truly been working for an hour and is having trouble, talk with them about taking a break. Some may want to continue but others will welcome a ten-minute break before returning to task.

When there is no homework due you can do a formative evaluation, and ask your child if the process is working for him or would she like to make some additional choices such as studying with friends, having music on while he works, or taking frequent breaks.

A little less snooping can be super!