Explore Personality Dynamics in the Family

family tree connections

When people share a dynamic, they share brain activity that helps them get along.

       – Dario Nardi

A family environment is naturally a reflection of the parent’s personality. Learning to behave and perform well in their home environment is a valuable lesson in adaptation that contributes to a child’s well-being in adulthood.

Gain a greater understanding of how your natural perspectives, needs, values, and motivations may be similar to – or different from your child’s.

Expand the applicable sections below to explore similarities or differences in psychological type preferences between family members.

family tree connections

When people share a dynamic, they share brain activity that helps them get along.

       – Dario Nardi

Extraverted Parent/Extraverted Teen

Extraverts tend to speak freely about what ever is on their mind. They develop their thoughts by talking through them with others. You both enjoy a good conversation and bouncing ideas off each other.

Extraverted Parent/Introverted Teen

Extraverts tend to speak freely about what ever is on their mind. They develop their thoughts by talking through them with others. Extraverts gain energy from chatting with others.

Introverts are territorial with the landscape of their minds. They need time to think and reflect before sharing their thoughts. Introverts gain energy from quiet time.

Your introverted teen requires alone time after any amount of extraverted participation. A parent asking questions about their day at school when they have not had time to recharge can seem like an inquisition or an invasion of privacy. An introverted teen will be more willing to share how their day went with you if they are given a little quiet time first. This means you may need to allow them to sit in silence on the drive home and/or retreat to their room for an hour before resurfacing and interacting with you. Then, after they have had some alone time to recharge, start the conversation by sharing how your day went rather than asking questions about theirs. A strongly introverted teen may appreciate opportunities to share by expressing their thoughts in writing.



Introverted Parent/Introverted Teen

Introverts are territorial with the landscape of their minds. They need time to think and reflect before sharing their thoughts. Introverts gain energy from quiet time. You both enjoy silence and some alone time at the end of a long day.

Introverted Parent/Extraverted Teen

Introverts are territorial with the landscape of their minds. They need time to think and reflect before sharing their thoughts. Introverts gain energy from quiet time.

Extraverts tend to speak freely about what ever is on their mind. They develop their thoughts by talking through them with others. Extraverts gain energy from chatting with others.

In conversation with an extraverted teen, the things they say at first are not their final thoughts on a subject. You can help them complete their thoughts by repeating back to them what you heard them say and then asking them if that is their final word on the topic. Extraverts will typically start talking as soon as they see a person to talk to. If an introverted parent doesn’t give the extroverted teen immediate attention they may move on feeling ignored. Ask your extraverted teen to make their presence known first and then give you a moment to switch gears in your head so you can focus your attention on what they have to say. You may be able to avoid some hurt feelings by understanding that you both process thoughts in different ways.

Planned Parent/Planned Teen

Individuals who prefer the planned mode of operation find comfort in following routines and schedules. You both enjoy a sense of accomplishment and being prepared.

Planned Parent/Spontaneous Teen

Individuals who prefer the planned mode of operation find comfort in following routines and schedules. They have an innate drive to have decisions made and bring things to closure. Changes in plans and decisions left open cause them distress. They complete projects as soon as possible, often working ahead of schedule. Planners appreciate receiving a heads-up when new information becomes available.

Individuals who prefer the spontaneous mode of operation find schedules and routines restricting. They have an innate drive to keep options open. They thrive on making decisions in the moment. They need a fire lit under them in order to make final decisions on a project. They crave variety and flexibility and may change their minds often.

Your spontaneous teen may need help keeping track of things. Teach them to develop a habit of putting their keys and cell phone in a designated place. Provide gentle reminders of rules and boundaries. Understand that it takes extra effort for a spontaneous teen to retain anything that their brain perceives as limiting or restricting. Do not expect a spontaneous teen to plan ahead or start a project early. Rather, teach them to determine realistically how much time they will need to complete their project at the last-minute. Have them mark the calendar with the “last-minute” deadline. Understand that a sense of urgency stimulates effective thinking for a spontaneous teen.

Spontaneous Parent/Spontaneous Teen

Individuals who prefer the spontaneous mode of operation find schedules and routines restricting. You both prefer to make decisions in the moment and keep options open.

Spontaneous Parent/Planned Teen

Individuals who prefer the spontaneous mode of operation find schedules and routines restricting. They have an innate drive to keep options open. They thrive on making decisions in the moment. They need a fire lit under them in order to make final decisions on a project. They crave variety and flexibility and may change their minds often.

Individuals who prefer the planned mode of operation find comfort in following routines and schedules. They have an innate drive to have decisions made and bring things to closure. Changes in plans and decisions left open cause them distress. They complete projects as soon as possible, often working ahead of schedule. Planners appreciate receiving a heads-up when new information becomes available.

Your planned teen will benefit from having something consistent in their weekly schedule they can look forward to and depend on for a sense of stability. Spontaneous parents who change their minds often will need to be mindful of the appearance of too many broken promises to a planned teen. Understand each others strengths and work together to achieve a balance between being flexible and following-through on things. (Your planned teen may have already taught you to lay out your clothes the night before and to hang your keys on a hook so you know right where to find them.)

Hands-On Parent/Hands-On Teen

Individuals who prefer hands-on gathering of information focus on the present moment and proceed one step at a time. You both appreciate clear objectives and tangible results.

Hands-On Parent/Theoretical Teen

Individuals who prefer hands-on gathering of information focus on the present moment and proceed one step at a time. They appreciate clear objectives and tangible results.

Individuals who prefer theoretical gathering of information focus on future possibilities and pull from all directions at once to see the big picture. They appreciate opportunities to be creative and use their imagination.

You gather information in fundamentally different ways. It is important that a theoretical teen’s performance be evaluated based on the final product rather than the process used. A theoretical teen may be perceived as a dreamer. They could benefit from coaching on how to determine feasibility and work out the specifics for their creative ideas.

Theoretical Parent/Theoretical Teen

Individuals who prefer theoretical gathering of information focus on future possibilities and pull from all directions at once to see the big picture. You both appreciate opportunities to be creative and use your imagination.

Theoretical Parent/Hands-On Teen

Individuals who prefer theoretical gathering of information focus on future possibilities and pull from all directions at once to see the big picture. They appreciate opportunities to be creative and use their imagination.

Individuals who prefer hands-on gathering of information focus on the present moment and proceed one step at a time. They appreciate clear objectives and tangible results.

You gather information in fundamentally different ways. A hands-on teen will trust only what they can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. It is important that they are introduced to the practical applications of information before being asked to learn an abstract theory, such as mathematics. A hands-on teen may be perceived as providing too much detail in conversation. They could benefit from coaching on how to provide context and summarize thoughts in conversation.

Objective Parent/Objective Teen

Individuals who prefer making decisions objectively seek clarity and have a sincere need to evaluate and improve. They make decisions based on logic and impersonal facts. You can appreciate each others curiosity, observations, and suggestions.

Objective Parent/Subjective Teen

Individuals who prefer making decisions objectively seek clarity and have a sincere need to evaluate and improve. They make decisions based on logic and impersonal facts.

Individuals who prefer making decisions subjectively seek harmony and need to know that others care how they feel. They make decisions based on values and personal impact.

You make decisions in fundamentally different ways. A subjective teen looks for your approval to measure their own self-worth. They could benefit from coaching on how to evaluate their own performance. A subjective teen may seem oblivious to the personal boundaries of others. They may even get offended when others don’t let them in or go out of their way to accommodate them. They are extremely giving and accommodating so they expect the same from others. It is not in their nature to enforce personal boundaries of their own. Help them understand the importance of respecting the personal boundaries of others without taking things personally and to establish some of their own.

Subjective Parent/Subjective Teen

Individuals who prefer making decisions subjectively seek harmony and have a sincere need to know that others care how they feel. They make decisions based on values and personal impact. You both value self-expression, a sense of community, and validation of your feelings.

Subjective Parent/Objective Teen

Individuals who prefer making decisions subjectively seek harmony and need to know that others care how they feel. They make decisions based on values and personal impact.

Individuals who prefer making decisions objectively seek clarity and have a sincere need to evaluate and improve. They make decisions based on logic and impersonal facts.

You make decisions in fundamentally different ways. An objective teen places a high value on competency, dignity, and self-sufficiency. They can become frustrated when they realize they cannot know everything and do everything for themselves. They have a defiance to follow the norm which stems from their need to make sense of their world. They must know “why” and it must make sense or they won’t do it. They will not blindly follow orders. They view it as a favor to point out opportunities for improvement so try not to take their observations and suggestions personally.

Recommended Reading

Personality Lingo by Mary Miscisin
Please Understand Me by David Keirsey

Recommended Reading

Personality Lingo
Please Understand Me