Friday, July 24, 2009

Nurture by Nature
Understand Your Child's Personality Type -- And Become a Better Parent

Nurture by Nature
Understand Your Child's Personality Type --
And Become a Better Parent

by Paul D. Tieger & Barbara Barron Tieger

Daniel introduced this book to me in our last discussion about type personality. I was telling him that I was trying to figure out which type my son was and he suggested that I read this book. I ordered it via and I just got it today.

I think my son is an ISFP. It is quite clear that he is an I and a P. It was the middle two that took me some time to figure out. But after thinking about it for sometime, while observing him more intently, I am quite certain he is an ISFP.

Now that I got the book, and reading his section, entitled "Gentle Free Spirits", it describes him quite well. And with that I hope I will be able to nurture him better. The one thing I must learn in dealing with him is to be gentle with him. I tend to be quite impatient, and I these are something I need work on, as the book suggested:

* Speak to him with a soft gentle voice *
(I tend to be harsh lately, I am not sure why -- still figuring out why I am so short-tempered lately)

* Look him in the eye and give him my fully attention when he speaks to me *
(I have been bad in this area, being a mom who is doing this and that and everything else all at one go)

* Be explicit in my directions and instructions; whenever possible, show him what I mean and physically point out limits and boundaries *
(I am a generalist, being an N -- I must learn to come down to details. No wonder I usually do not get the answers from him. I do realise even before this that my questions are usually too general for him to give me a detailed answer)

* Support his feelings and allow him to express them in his own time and style *
(Oh dear, I have been demanding him to answer my questions most of the time whenever I see he is not too happy about certain things. I wonder how I will be able to work this out, since I am a person of the moment. When I am passed that stage, I will not bring it up again.)

And many more that I would have to think through and slowly work through to make it a better experience to be his mom and he my son.

If you think (I do) if I am getting too serious about this type personality, let me know -- I do need someone to look over my shoulder to watch over me, lest I go overboard. I have always been very intrigued by personalities and since being introduced to this 16 types, I find it a very useful way to manage communication, understanding and life in general -- as long as it is not abused that is.

By the way, I am only using about 20 over pages of this 287-page book. If you know your kids' type, I'll see how I can share it with you.


Post-Script: Ouch, this bites.

(Nurture by Nature, 1997, p.7-8)
Happily, most children don't live in the kinds of horrible conditions that we have all seen so much of on the news. So why, then, do so many children become adults who feel lousy about themselves? Perhaps it’s because the most common and pervasive assault on a child’s self-esteem that does on every day in most of our homes. As well-meaning but unaware parents, we all chip away at our child’s sense of self in a multitude of little ways: the criticism and disparaging comments, our impatience, the times we hurry our children though tasks they are enjoying to do something we deem more important, It’s the way we casually dismiss their interest or curiosity with things vaguely odd or seemingly inappropriate. It’s when our children live though years of constant nagging, discouragement, or disrespect. Ironically, we often treat our children in ways we would never consider treating another adult and certainly wouldn’t tolerate ourselves.

Those are the conditions that erode our children’s sense of themselves as strong, capable, and resilient individuals. And the price they pay for our criticism is that they begin to see themselves as we keep telling them we see them – as inherently flawed and in need of major overhauling, rather than innately perfect, capable, and divine. When the measure of a child’s worth is tied to how he compares to our estimation of what’s good or valuable, we undermine his confidence. When we gauge a child’s value by how he may meet our expectations, we cause him to doubt himself and doubt his true nature. Instead, as parents, we need to consciously accept and love our children for exactly who they are, naturally. That’s how we encourage self-esteem.

But how do we really accomplish this? By tailoring our parenting to match our child, rather than expecting our child to match our parenting.


  1. :) Hey great book! Really interesting and I do believe it would help a harried sunday school teacher a lot too in knowing the uniqueness of each child under her care.

    By the way, it's like a Red Indian name for Calvin: the Gentle Free Spirit. Cool! What do you reckon my type would be? What do they name it after? :P

  2. You'll like it - INTJ is "Creating Perfection" or shall I call it "she who creates perfection" :P

  3. Aiyor ... that sounds like "Kiasu" to me ... Goodness, and it can't even be made into a Red Indian name. Gentle Free Spirit is a much better name.

  4. Pearlie,

    I see this point. But I sense a bit of an issue here. Children need to learn to filter, where we, as adults hopefully prioritize better.

    There is a time to tell your child, "Honey, it's bedtime." They may not think they are tired, but we can recognize the signs.

    My goal is not to crush my child's spirit: my goal is for them to be the best that they can be.

    Unconditional love needs be conveyed and it should be a given.

    Just like we are with Christianity, boundaries sometimes help 'nurture' our self-esteem.

    God Bless

  5. Hi Doug,
    But I sense a bit of an issue here
    I am trying to see where you are coming from because I agree with all the things you have said.

  6. Hey Pearlie,

    This post-script is what I was refering to:

    "the times we hurry our children though tasks they are enjoying to do something we deem more important,"

    Like, it is bedtime!

    "But how do we really accomplish this? By tailoring our parenting to match our child, rather than expecting our child to match our parenting."

    While I agree that I must address my two girls differently, there is still a core of values, and beliefs that I stick to that are unmovable. We can 'tailor' some things, but probably 95 percent of what we do should come with the expectation of compliance. For instance, unless you have some physical ailment, it is always impolite to chew food with your mouth open. Rules, like these, are non-negotiable.

    None of what I have said is any different than how God deals with us. He allows us the ability to express our wants, desires and frustrations, yet there are many things that just aren't going to budge... in spite of our resistance.

    All this to say that I think you are puting too much into this. It is great to be retrospective and we all need to improve our parenting, but sometime being a loving parent requires you to be an unpopular friend.

    Here are my thoughts:

    > Make sure that your truth and authority are tempered with love.

    > Make certain that your purposes are for the benifit of the child, rather than for personal convenience. (Easier said than done). Insuring that your motives are selfless is a lot harder than it sounds.

    > Make effort to put yourself in their shoes and strive for mercy, but don't lose sight of the fact that your child's rebellion / defiance / insubordiantion must be dealt with consistantly and justly.

    > Find ways to demonstrate that you willingly submit to authority too. Modeling is the best teacher.

    > Be accountable, to a friend or someone you can trust to give you sound inspection. Be sure that when expressing the situation that you are as forthcoming as possible.

    Thanks for letting me share.

    God Bless

  7. Thanks Doug for sharing :)
    I agree with you on the points you have given and thanks for highlighting your concerns. I will be careful to read it all in the light of Christ.