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Helping families make the most of personality differences.

23 Results tagged "Teenagers"

What's next after high school?
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TAGS: Careers, Choices, College, Decision Making, Teenagers

Personality Type and What’s Next After High School?

Mollie Allen, M.Ed.
MOLLIE ALLEN, M.ED., is a certified coach, teacher and consultant working with groups and individuals. With undergraduate degrees in Child Development and Special Education and a M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision she worked in schools and in private practice with students of all ages and levels for 25 years.
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It's that time of year, and in spite of the pandemic, planning for next year is under way. After sitting with counselors, mentors, and parents, exploring all sorts of colleges, universities, gap-year options or entering the military service, some high school seniors are beginning to make decisions. Some are looking at careers and occupations, others have toured institutions on-line and (maybe) in person. They have accumulated a lot of personal information. They've invested in a good deal of self-searching about the future. 

That search for clarity brings up the idea of preferences and personality type. How can we use results from the MBTI or MMTIC type assessments to help shape the post-high school study and career search? 

Not long after my own four children completed various work and college paths, I began working with high school students as they embarked on the post-high school quest. One reason I took the work is that many of my adult clients remarked that if they had experienced an MBTI feedback session earlier, their lives may have been different. Another reason: some parents experience the on-going, months-long effort as very challenging. Some are ready to have the process roll along while they contribute from the sidelines when appropriate. 

I've learned over the years that although there's not a clear dotted line leading from a particular type to a particular course of study, college, or career, students discovering their type with a mentor can gain valuable insight about their choices. At a minimum, as part of a complete profile, MBTI or MMTIC results can begin to reveal subtle differences between students who, on the page, look pretty similar. 

Here's a recap of two students who had similar grades, GPAs and progress through high school. Along the way, both enjoyed math and were competent at it all the way through calculus. Both were members of the drama club for a number of years, one as stage manager the other in lighting. In extracurricular clubs and sports, they were chosen as leaders by their peers. By the time senior year arrived both were looking at electrical engineering. 

One claimed INFP preferences, the other ISTJ. Knowing about personality type was helpful during discussing and selecting a final college. We dug into what kept them engaged in electives and extracurricular activities. The ISTJ student imagined continuing tech projects while the INFJ was curious about pottery, drumming and off-campus offerings such as art and theater. For the latter in particular, it made sense to at look at what universities, campus-sharing colleges, and metropolitan settings might provide.

However, there's a richer and much more beneficial use of the MBTI or MMTIC experience in the post-high school search. It goes "beyond the code." Beginning before the fall of senior year, we can blend the feedback session with the problem-solving model and offer a repeatable process for future decisions and career searches. This process provides structure for meaningful conversations as the progression goes back and forth between seeking and deciding.

The perception phase of a feedback session opens a discussion about learning habits vs. cognitive habits. It widens the search to additional career fields and work environments. It invites questions about hopes and dreams. It helps hold off hasty decisions. The judgement phase provides space to examine academic and life values and for-profit and non-profit worlds. It allows for discussion about the "why's" behind extracurricular likes or dislikes. The structure offers opportunities to explore inner and outer influences. Type processes becomes active, and they don't stand alone.

So yes, knowing about personality type can be helpful as part of the post-high school search — as long as it's not used stringently or in a limiting way such as "matching" a certain type to a particular institution, or field of study, or occupation. In my mind, high school students (and perhaps all of us) get the most from learning about personality preferences if we remember to "hold type lightly." Personality type is only one part of any endeavor — it's not the only thing.



Learning at Home
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TAGS: Communication, Differences, Encouragement, Homework, Learning, Relationships, Self-awareness, Teenagers

Pandemic - Online Learning Gone Viral

Yvonne Nelson-Reid, B.Ed., M.A.
YVONNE NELSON-REID, B.Ed., M.A., is a mother of 5, writer, teacher, depth psychologist, and career coach. As a certified MBTI and MMTIC professional, she uses typology as a tool for helping others understand differences and communicate more effectively.
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When I first heard that our spring break was being extended due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic, I suspected school would likely be out longer. With the potential of online learning for the upcoming weeks, possibly the remainder of the school year, and as an educator and parent with a personality preference for Judging (scheduled, structured, and planned), I sprang to action.

My initial plan was to have my two school-aged high school kids join me at the kitchen table from 10-12 pm and 2-4 pm, Monday through Friday. This would be structured online learning time and I would be available to assist as needed, since, I too, would be working from home. As much as I loved my plan, it did not even last through the first morning. What works for one child may not work for another. My daughter loved the plan, my son did not.

Online learning is not for everyone. How do we help our children who struggle under this type of learning platform? Children who prefer Extraversion learn best through interaction with others. They like to work ideas out by talking them through and they thrive in environments which are social. When under extreme stress, they often turn inward with a risk of becoming depressed. It is vital during this time of isolation to provide opportunities for connecting and socializing.

For example, I have a daughter who prefers Extraversion who struggled those first few days with her online courses. She likes the classroom environment and interaction between the teacher, students, and friends, of course. To help her, I suggested online video lessons so that she can see and hear the lesson, rather than only read about it.

Another helpful solution, I have found, is letting her explain the lesson to me. Even if I do not understand the material (she is taking five AP classes!), just giving her the opportunity to talk it out makes a difference. Being in the same room with her is also beneficial. Knowing someone is nearby supports her need for connection.

I also encourage her to do schoolwork in segments. In other words, study for an hour or two, then take a break and call or Facetime a friend, study some more, then watch a favorite show, or go for a walk with a family member. If she can break up her day between homework and social time, or doing something she enjoys, she is a happier kid. A group of her friends even logged into Zoom and watched a movie together the other night. This interaction is necessary for her well-being. Check in with your children who prefer Extraversion often, social isolation can lead to anxiety and depression.

On the other hand, my son, who prefers Introversion, thrives in a virtual environment. For him, the ability to focus with no interruptions enables him to complete classwork efficiently. He learns best through reading and writing, especially when given time to reflect. Interacting with me and his sister at the kitchen table everyday felt more like torture to him. Lasting barely 20 minutes, he kindly requested to work alone in his room.

For children who prefer Introversion, having space away from other family members and a quiet environment is conducive to better learning. Rather than work in segments, my son prefers to get everything done at once. My recommendation for multiple breaks just annoyed him.

Under extreme stress, children who prefer Introversion can often lash out and become overly emotional or critical. Even though social distancing falls into their comfort zone, having family members in their space all the time can lead to frustration and potential outbursts. Provide private space, but balance is important, too. With the fear and worry around this pandemic, it is crucial to check in with introverted types, as over-isolation can lead to over-reflection, and potential anxiety and depression.

This is a trying time for us all. Our children have been thrown into a new way of learning. They are isolated from their friends and all their special events, sporting games, graduations, and proms are cancelled, not to mention the uncertainty of our health and economic well-being.

These are uncharted waters for most of us so understanding and supporting our differences is invaluable. Many parents are now working from home, and honoring your preference for private time (Introversion) or connection (Extraversion) within your work environment is essential to your well-being, too. Respect each other's various styles of learning and working at home. Take care of each other and stay healthy!



Daydreaming the Future
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TAGS: Communication, Intuition, Parenting, Sensing, Teenagers

The “What If?” Game: Daydreaming the Future

Yvonne Nelson-Reid, B.Ed., M.A.
YVONNE NELSON-REID, B.Ed., M.A., is a mother of 5, writer, teacher, depth psychologist, and career coach. As a certified MBTI and MMTIC professional, she uses typology as a tool for helping others understand differences and communicate more effectively.
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Do you ever play the "What if?" game? I am not sure if it is a real game, but it is one I have played way too often! As hard as I try to live in the here and now, to focus on what is in front of me in that moment, within seconds I find my mind wandering to what might be just around the corner, which leads me to what might happen next week, or next year, or 10 years from now.

Honestly, I can easily drive myself insane. The ideas seem to pop up all over the place making connections and creating patterns, some of which feel visionary, while others feel just plain crazy.

My preference for intuition supports this style of generating ideas and absorbing information. I use intuition in my inner world where unconscious ideas flow into consciousness. Information is received with flashes of insight and can appear as if it came from out-of-the blue.


Imagining and long-term visioning are natural and comfortable when intuition is used in this way. As you can see, the "What if?" game is ideal for those with this preference. Three of my children use intuition in the same way. When we get together you can feel the energy rise in the room where it almost feels electric. What is unknown is exciting for us!

Although this is a good fit for us, not all paths lead to goodness, and sometimes our fantasies can take us down scary, dark paths. We can feed off each other. As much as we enjoy exploring endless opportunities, we tend to forget those who do not. Based on experience, my other two children who prefer sensing in their inner world tend to panic when we dive into this game, fearing what lies ahead unless they can connect it to something they have already done.

Taking in information through sensing in the inner world calls for a more methodical process as they funnel everything through their past experiences. While I thrive off what's unknown, people who prefer sensing can find this stressful and experience severe anxiety.

As an example, my husband has a career that often brings in offers from other companies with potential positions in other parts of the country, or even the world. They do not all pan out, of course, but out of the many opportunities, some have, which means we have moved a couple of times.

First, they reach out to him with a position; then comes the offer letter, if he is interested. The time between these two moments, which can sometimes take months, creates the perfect "What if?" environment! In order to consider a family move, I need to look far down the road and imagine all the potentialities. Logically I realize that until we have the details, this might just be a waste of my time and a big stressor to those family members who prefer to wait and  get all the facts before making the decision - or at least enough facts to get started on a realistic path.

For me the comfort lies in considering all the possible directions, even imaginary ones, that a new move could take us. As the kids get older, which presents its own set of problems (as you can imagine), they deal with these situations in their own way.

My "What if?" kids play the game with me, while my "details and facts" kids do not want to talk about it at all. Awareness and sensitivity are considerations I have had to learn over the years, reminding myself that not everyone wants to play the game. Over time I have learned that it is okay to share excitement in all possibilities, but slowing the pace and acknowledging the past is crucial for everyone to feel included in the game.



PeopleStripes.org article
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TAGS: Choices, Communication, Compromise, Decision Making, Differences, Self-Management, Teenagers

Motivation Matters: Give a Moose a Muffin

Yvonne Nelson-Reid, B.Ed., M.A.
YVONNE NELSON-REID, B.Ed., M.A., is a mother of 5, writer, teacher, depth psychologist, and career coach. As a certified MBTI and MMTIC professional, she uses typology as a tool for helping others understand differences and communicate more effectively.
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Summer is over and as we head into fall and a busy school season, balancing schedules can be a challenge. While trying to adjust schedules, keep in mind personality differences. What might be thrilling for some of your kids may be terrifying for others and exhausting for you, especially if they don't drive yet.

Motivation matters. It is the core of our personality that motivates us, and this shines through in several different ways depending upon our personality type.

Our 16-year-old daughter (ENFJ) has always been eager to spend time with friends and engage in many activities. With four other children, it wasn't always possible to meet her needs, and although we could tell she would get disappointed, she rarely complained because maintaining harmony and avoiding conflict is key to who she is as a person.

Driving now, with her own car, her new-found freedom and desire to please everyone has ramped up her social life. This is where "give a moose a muffin" comes into play. We are originally from Canada and one of our favorite children's books goes by this title. Essentially, the premise is that if you let the moose do one thing, it will ask to do another, and another, and another... continuing in this way.

You might have guessed what our daughter's nickname is, yes, it's Moose! "Mom can I pick up my friend and go for ice cream?" "Mom, can we now go to her place to hang out and do homework?" "Mom, is it okay if we see a movie?" On and on and on... it never seems to end.

For her, motivation is about being with people, encouraging and supporting them, and making them happy, at times at the expense of her own needs. We quickly discovered that limits need to be placed, and she thanks us for setting them. I think even for her, knowing when to stop is challenging. We got back from a trip to Canada recently and within a minute, "Moose" was out the door. Enthusiastic and social, she brightens the life of those around her. Limits help her to keep on shining.

Speaking of motivation, here is another example. Our 18-year-old daughter (INTJ) is motivated by ideas, complex inner pictures of the present and the future, all supported by logic to help organize her external world. For her, it is about coming up with an idea, then implementing it.

When motivated she makes things happen. This past summer, while looking into possible jobs, we suggested working in a restaurant or fast food place because they often hire students over the summer. She wanted nothing to do with it. Teaching and working with special needs children is her dream job, and this fall as a college freshman she hopes to fulfill this dream.

In her mind, it only made sense that she should care for a child with special needs over the summer. To her credit, she did it! All on her own! Reaching out to a teacher she worked with during her senior year internship in a special needs class, she secured a job helping a family over the summer. She also volunteered for summer camps with special needs children. To top it off, these summer positions have led her into part-time work this fall as she begins her studies in this area.

When she wants to make something happen, she can, regardless of what we might have to say. Her motivation led her to a summer job she truly enjoyed, and now part-time employment while in college. Let me just say, if what we want her to do does not appeal to her vision, and if we can't back it with logic, no matter how hard we try, we can't make her do anything!

When motivated, we can do anything! What motivates us is often linked to our personality type.




Preparing for the 21st Century
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TAGS: Careers, Communication, Self-Management, Teenagers

Preparing for the 21st Century

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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When families are first introduced to type the excitement is mainly about knowing the child's preferences and how to use that knowledge to make family life better and the child more successful in life.  It is all about the child recognizing the specialty of their personality type and helping them develop that to its fullest potential.

In his new book, Range (published May 2019), author David Epstein asserts it will be the generalist who is better prepared for the world than the specialist.  The book description states it is "the ground-breaking and exhilarating exploration into how to succeed in the 21st Century."  How do we reconcile wanting our children to become the best they can be at their type (specialist) with the call for a generalist approach?  There is a way.

In his book Epstein discusses well-rounded success and posits that having diverse experiences is best for success.  You do more than just expose your children to options.  You discuss these and reflect on that experience.  He terms it self-regulatory learning.  You "expose broadly and reflect on that experience."  It sounds like a good rule to follow but how do I follow that and still respect my child's individuality?  Here is one option.

Knowing about type differences and validating the worth of those differences can be done through our daily language with children by verbalizing opposite choices.  "Some children like to get their work done first and then play.  Others like to play while they work.  Both are fine.  One way may work better for you.  The other works better for someone else.  The key is to know which is your best way and to get the job done.  Everyone has to get the job done." (An example of the Judging-Perceiving difference.)

Another example might be to say, "Some children like to lead by being the person on the stage or in front and others like to lead by being the ideas behind the scene that set the stage for the work to follow.  Both are valuable.  Find your way but know the other way may be better for someone else." (An Extraversion-Introversion difference.)

"Some work better with clear and precise directions while others work better with more open-ended kinds of tasks" (a Sensing-Intuition difference).  

"Some give direct and maybe critical feedback they believe will help the project succeed better while others solicit the input of others and focus on a collaborative approach to project generation" (a Thinking-Feeling difference).  

Adding the vocabulary of difference to your language with your children engenders a greater awareness of options that Epstein suggests will be necessary for success in the next century.

When do I go for diversity of experiences and when do I focus on my child's individual type?  My suggestion is this:  When life is calm encourage your children to try activities outside of their natural preferences "just for the experience."  After trying something once they can evaluate whether they want to repeat the experience of not.  When a child is stressed or tense because of events in his/her life use what you know about type to respond in the way that works best for that type.

An introverted child may not want to "talk" when they are upset but really appreciate a hug and your company.  An extraverted child might say many things they wish they could take back when upset, but just listen without judgment.  Focus only on the problem that is current.  Help them experience the breadth of options that Epstein proposes when they have their energy free for exploration but when their energy is limited because it is being drained by a life issue, deliver assistance in a way that matches their type.  That is not a time for stretching to new ways.

Epstein also suggested that the individual "reflect on their experiences."  Instead of just admiring what a child does, a type approach would suggest talking with them about what makes a project fun and what is required to complete the project - the work!   An excellent model for this technique is the Z-approach to decision making, where we look at the experience from a Sensing, Intuitive, Thinking and Feeling perspective.

Type does not operate in a vacuum.  The concepts can blend with other ideas offered for helping children be prepared for a future with challenges that will be unique for their generation.  It is the blend of type awareness (and use) with the other good ideas that will really prepare our children to succeed in the 21st century.




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