Parenting Style Vs. Personality Type
Some babies sleep in their cribs while others sleep in bed with their mom. Some babies eat on a schedule while other babies eat on demand. In an attempt to justify our parenting style, people often blame the baby, using one of the following cliche’s.
“Every baby is different.”
“What works for one baby doesn’t work for another.”
“Babies have different needs.”
While this may be true to a degree, I think our different parenting styles have a lot more to do with mom’s personality than baby’s preference. If we replace the word baby with mom, I think we get a little bit closer to the truth.
“Every mom is different.”
“What works for one mom doesn’t work for another.”
“Moms have different needs.”
If we could better understand and accept our differences, we would stop fighting against ourselves and against each other regarding what’s “best” for baby. The more I understand about who I am as a person and what parenting style works best for me, the less frustrated and more satisfied I become as a parent.
The first step is to understand your own personality preferences. Go to my-personality-test.com to take a free online personality assessment.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a well-research personality assessment used to help people find a good fit between their personality and career. The better the fit between personality and work environment, the more satisfied people are in their job. Why would it be any different for a stay at home mom? The more moms know about themselves, the more likely they will find an approach that fits their needs.
Perceiving (information gathering)
First, personality impacts the way parents interpret information about what’s going on with their child. Read the two descriptions below and identify your preference.
(S) Sensing – These moms prefer to gather concrete information that they can see, smell, touch, hear, measure, and observe to assess their baby’s needs. They may use a baby tracker App to keep a detailed log of feeding times, diaper changes, and sleep patterns. They may use a breastfeeding timer to record the length of their baby’s feeds.
(I) Intuition –These moms prefer to interpret their baby’s cues based on their instinct, not a clock. They add meaning to their baby’s cry based on their gut or intuition. They are confident in their ability to read cues and use their 6th sense to understand Their baby’s needs.
Personality not only affects how parents gather information, but also how they use this information to draw conclusions and make decisions regarding how to respond to their child’s needs. Read the descriptions to identify your personality preference.
(T) Thinking – These moms may make decisions regarding how to intervene based on patterns, cause and effect, time of day, or a set of rules. As a result, they are extremely consistent in how they respond to their child’s needs. However, their decisions may be viewed as insensitive to the feelings of others or needs of the moment.
(F) Feeling – These moms make parenting decisions based on feelings. They want to keep the peace and make everyone happy. They can easily empathize with their child’s need for kisses and cuddles. While they are always sensitive to their baby’s needs, they may be more inconsistent in their response.
Judging Vs. Perceiving
Finally, personality differences impact whether or not parents prefer to make a decision or continue assessing new pieces of information. Read the descriptions below and pick your preference.
(J) Judging – Regardless of whether they are more swayed by facts or feelings, these moms prefer to make a decision and move forward. These moms prefer to have a set schedule, plan of action, or goal they can complete. They may come across as more confident and decisive. They may be planners in general, but specifically when it comes to their baby’s schedule and anticipating his or her needs. If a Perceiving mother brings up a concern she is having to her Judging friend, she may just want to discuss all the possibility but her friend may think she is asking for advice.
(P) Perceiving – These moms like to weigh all their options and remain open to new information. As a result, they may be more adaptive or flexible in their approach. They may try a certain nap schedule or bedtime routine for a few days, and then stop and try something new. If they bring up a concern, they want to analyze every angle, not to be told what to do. Not wanting to commit one way or another, they may be more indecisive in their decisions.
Mothers who score higher the Sensing, Thinking, and/or Judging dimension may be most successful following a BabyWise and/or sleep training approach. Mothers who score higher in the Intuitive, Feeling, and/or Perceiving dimensions may be more comfortable with a flexible and/or attachment-style approach.
Whether you are intuitive or sensing, thinking or feeling, remember that one preference is not better or worse than the other. You could accurately or inaccurately gather information about your child’s needs and make good or bad decisions as far as how to intervene no matter what your personality type or parenting approach. This assessment indicated personality preferences, not parenting ability. However, you are more likely to gather accurate information and respond effectively if you are following your natural strengths.
So be careful not to judge another mother’s approach just because it doesn’t fit your own. Moms who attack other moms likely have a strong mismatch between their personality type and the other mom’s approach. Just because a certain approach wouldn’t work well for you does not mean that other moms cannot use different styles to effectively meet their baby’s needs.
The next time you hear other moms bashing a particular parenting style, share this link and begin a conversation about personality styles to reframe the conversation in a more positive direction. If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy my other parenting articles.