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Essential Parenting Dos and Don'ts
CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | "Raising Teens Today & Personalities: a 2-way Street Part I" Cover Banner

Raising Teens Today & 
Personalities: The 2-way Street
PART I

One of the most essential and overlooked parts of a robust and healthy relationship with your child, regardless of age, is the ability to identify and understand their personality. It becomes crucial to ensure we know their qualities and tendencies as they become tweens and teens to improve communication and assist with their moral compass.
CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Picture of colored dad and caucasian mom kissing mixed teen woman on the cheeks
There are right and wrong ways to go about this; this article will cover all you need to know to get to know your teen's personality without becoming overbearing or forcing your personality onto them. I would also like to invite you to stick around next week for part two, where we go into depth on why teenagers need to understand your personality too! You don't want to miss it!

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Raising Teens Today & Personality:
The 2-way Street - PART I

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Written By DanielCurrie
Published: August 21, 2023

Personality Tests

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Beautiful young caucasian teen lady painting

When grasping your teenager's personality, there is a right and wrong way to do this. First, when looking for their personality traits as parents, we want details like they came from something other than a painting by Picasso. Instead, we only wish to use broad strokes to get the basics, nothing too specific. In other words, we CANNOT and MUST NOT try to become amateur psychologists and diagnose them. Even if you are a board-certified psychologist, there still should be no need¹. But, if you find yourself doing this or needing to take your child or teen to the doctor for evaluation, or to get a professional opinion, for no other reason but to "find out" what personality your teen has or to see what one of the 16 MBTI traits they possess, you are doing it all wrong.

Personality Test: MBTI

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Cartoon Characters representing ISFP, ESTP, ENFP, ESTJ, INFJ, INFP, ISTJ, and ISFJ type personalities

There are two well-known personality tests that you can take yourself if you choose for fun. When trying to understand your teenager's personality as a parent, neither of these tests should explicitly define your teen—in the best circumstances, it could be used as a guide. The first test is called the MBTI, which stands for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, named after the mother & daughter duo, Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. The pair invented the test after being inspired by the Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung on personality theories². For more information on the MBTI, check out SimplyPsycology.org's page³ and use their chart to see how you (or anyone else) stack up!

Personality Test: Big 5

The "Big 5" Personality Traits are the second personality of the two tests. The "Big 5" can be considered the broad stroke if the MBTI is the Picasso. Some know it better as OCEAN⁴. OCEAN stands for the five personality traits in the "Big 5":

  • Openness: One who is curious and has imagination. Fondness for the arts, new experiences, and ideas.

  • Conscientiousness: Always working towards achievements, pushing the bar to be the best, and ensuring excellence in part due to self-discipline.

  • Extraversion: Known as a "people's person," how friendly, energetic, and sociable a person is. They draw energy from being around others.

  • Agreeableness: Enjoys peace and harmony. Typically optimistic, generous, and kind while trying to get along with others.

  • Neuroticism: Gravitates towards negativity. These types of emotions include but are not limited to anger, anxiety, and depression.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Paint Palette with center representing personality and other 5 colors representing the 5 types of personalities

A parent's role is to raise their children from the ground up. From the day our children are born up to the time they move out as an adult, we, as parents, are continuously trying to raise and sculpt them starting with basic needs, their physiological needs, such as food and shelter. By utilizing Mozlow's Hierarchy of Needs⁵, we can understand what our teens need in life to be great, successful adults.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Multi-colored pyramid, 5 steps from bottom to top

Step Up: The Pyramid

Start

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Pyramid Block focused in on "Basic Needs"

The Bare Essentials

As we make our way up the pyramid, we will slowly see glimpses of their personalities; the more we observe, the better communication and relating with them will become. At the base of the pyramid is the bare essentials. Parents should always raise their children with food and shelter, among other necessities.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Pyramid Block focused in on "Safety Needs"

Safety Needs

Once their basic needs are covered, a parent's duties are far from complete. Next is to address all their safety needs, ensuring a stable and secure life. Ensuring our teens feel comfortable with daily routines, schooling, and extracurricular activities is vital for their emotional growth.

Love & Belonging

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Pyramid Block focused in on "Love & Belonging"

Parents that ensure a roof over their teen's head and ensure rides to school are only parenting at 40% (we can all agree there is so much more to parenting; kudos to all you parents out there!) Mentally and emotionally strong teens will always have the best chance for success in life. To establish this for their teen, parents must guarantee their child feels a powerful sense of love and belonging in the home while trying to give them the best chance for emotional success outside the house.

Appreciation

When a strong sense of belonging occurs, their self-esteem, respect, worth, and status will naturally flourish without much guidance or oversight from mom and dad (or guardian). Your teen will begin to show appreciation for themselves and others, giving them a sense of self-actualization or the willingness and eagerness to do something great with their life—the top step in our pyramid.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Pyramid Block focused in on "Appreciation"

Self-Actualization

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Pyramid Block focused in on "Realization & Self-Actualization"

As your teen makes it to the summit of the pyramid and holds their future in their hand confidently, with conviction, and a sense of purpose, you can rest assured that you have done a fantastic job parenting. Pat yourself on the back: as a parent, you've gone from giving your child nothing but merely a roof over their head to showing them the way through life, crucially and perhaps most challenging, by guiding teenagers into adulthood with a sense of purpose.

Enjoy the Summit, Briefly

The steps to raising a solid teenager are complete. Continue maintaining the pyramid by utilizing some of the essential parenting dos and don'ts discussed in previous blog articles. As you continue to support your teen from atop the pyramid, it's time to go back down step by step to obtain insight and improve your relationship with them that much better. As any great, committed parent will agree, a parent's work is never done.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Multi-colored pyramid, 5 steps with vector man peering off into the distance over pyramid

The Pyramid Overview

All the steps are complete, and we've enjoyed the proverbial view from atop the summit and all that we have accomplished as great parents. As you can see, we have some more steps to go, specifically in gaining insight into the minds and personalities of your young ones.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Full Pyramid for "Raising Teens Today: How to Successfully Raise Your Teen and UNDERSTAND Them"

After raising your teen with essential parenting dos and don'ts—and proving that it has been successful via the pyramid, it is critical to head back down. Why though?

We climb the pyramid to raise our teens to the best of our ability but carefully, gradually, and discreetly head back down to UNDERSTAND their personalities, quirks, and what makes them tick. When we do this, it is essential to find the sweet spot and aim for it, trying to keep it manageable. The closer we reach the mark, the better our understanding of our teen will be.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Multi-colored pyramid, 5 steps from top to bottom

Descend: The Pyramid, CAREFULLY

End

Observing the Tick

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Pyramid Block focused in on "TICKS"

The target mark to thoroughly understand their personality is the middle of the pyramid: Love and Belonging. To get there, we need to start at the top, so as we get to know our teens on the self-actualization level with their newfound confidence and ambitions (compliments to your great parenting!), we gain insight into what makes them tick. Understanding their desires, passions, life goals, and what drives them will paint a vivid picture of how they feel about specific topics and self-found morals and ethics. Furthermore, it forces their reasonings and why they may have such a deep conviction regarding certain opinions, beliefs, or ideas.

Focusing on the Quirk

QUIRKS

Now that we understand their desires for life, we also understand why and what makes them tick. Carefully moving down the pyramid, we arrive at the esteem level. This level will show insight into their quirks and reveal more personality. Remember, as we molded our teens in this step, it included building their self-esteem, and emotional strength, liberating them from the fear of ridicule. As the layers peel back and we begin to see our teen's self-esteem thrive, it begins to reveal the quirks that make them unique with their personality that makes them one of a kind.

Finding the Personality in the Middle

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Pyramid Block focused in on "PERSONALITY"

Arriving at the sweet spot in the pyramid, love & belonging, will show us all we need to know about our teenager's personality. Coupled with their ticks and quirks, studying their enjoyment of friendships and connecting with others will show us how emotionally invested they are in relationships. This pyramid section will reveal their personality and social tendencies with friends and strangers—interactions between others and virtually any emotion. Observing your teen with the mindset of their feelings will establish their personality when trying to understand where they are coming from and what they believe in due to their emotional stance on the situation.

Missing the Mark

So what happens when we fall short or overshoot the "pyramid" mark? Hitting the target of the Love and Belonging section of the pyramid is difficult and similar to a game of curling. Don't try to overdo it, but make sure you also put enough effort into it. If you put little effort into trying to, you will only scratch the surface and need help understanding what makes them tick. If you try too hard, you will drive them away as you overinvest in analyzing every aspect and appear controlling instead of inviting and supporting.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Pyramid Block focused in on (overshooting the mark)

I Found Their Personality.
Now What?

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Cartoon African American girl shrugging her shoulders

Accept Their Personality - NEVER Resent It!

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Blonde Caucasian Mother and Teen Daughter solemly looking on with mother's arm around teen

As you learn their personality and what makes them tick and why, figuring out their quirks along the way, under no circumstance should you hold a grudge to it. This is who they are, their personality, and what makes them unique. If you try to change a person's personality because you do not like or approve of it, even if it's just a portion of it, it is the equivalent of saying, "I do not support you (or a part of you), and you must change to meet my expectations." Please note that you must accept and respect their personality; they are entitled to it. Crucially, it does NOT mean you must approve of their tastes and lifestyles.

Why is it so vital to understand their personality?

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Happy caucasian family sitting on a park bench; mom on left, dad on right, young teen girl in the middle

Your teen will undoubtedly do things you do not approve of at times or, at the very least, go against the grain of your teachings. Once you begin to understand their personality, it will allow for a better understanding of why they do what they do. Furthermore, when you can see their thought process more clearly, even if unapproving, you can begin to appreciate their reasoning, which will translate into better relations.

Crack the Code, Begin Communicating

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian mother and daughter sitting on couch talking with teen looking uneasy

Continuing to hone in on that sweet spot of understanding their personality will get you closer to understanding the reasoning for their decisions. The more you know about their reasons, the better your relationship will become because you can see both sides more clearly and with less bias. Handling the situation will become more effective when you can talk and relate to your teen, better understanding their thoughts.

Conclusion

In the end, if you can better understand and communicate with your teen, the more and easier you will get through to them the way you want. Despite teens being teens and rolling their eyes, if you can understand their personality, the more you will connect and communicate with your teen, the more your relationship will improve.

There is one other part to the personality equation: the teen. We can attempt to talk and woo our teens since we know the tricks to their personalities, but it will only work effectively if our teens are willing to meet us halfway. Stay tuned next week for the 2nd part of the two-part series on teens needing to understand their parent's personalities and how to handle personality changes.

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