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    Myers Briggs and Your Family

    By Sara Richmond Walls     

    During my high school years, I was defined as a ďType AĒ personality because I was driven, goal motivated, competitive and often busy. It wasnít until college that I learned that different psychological profiles have different ways of classifying people. Myers-Briggs offers 16 different ways to classify people. Below is a brief introduction into Myers-Briggs and how it can help your family more clearly understand each other.

    Myers-Briggs Basics

    Myers-Briggs profiles do not define individuals, but rather provide a different perspective. Your Myers-Briggs profile is composed of four categories: Introversion/Extroversion, Sensing/Intuition, Feeling/Thinking and Judging/Perceiving. The Myers-Briggs test is not black and white in these categories, but rather assigns a percentage for each possibility within the categories based on your answers. For example, I am 85% Introvert and 15% Extrovert. Thus, I the first letter in my profile is I. Because the purpose of this article is not to outline what Myers-Briggs is, I must encourage you to research this further for the definitions of each category. Why Use Myers-Briggs with Your Family?

    Myers-Briggs is a helpful tool when trying to understand why you and your family members do not think or act the same way. Myers-Briggs opened my eyes to the fact that people are identical in they react to situations, plan for the future, or where they get there energy from. Using the Myers-Briggs, you can identify the ways in which you differ from your family, and use that knowledge to maintain peace in the family.

    Letís take house cleaning. I am an INFP. The two key parts of the profile for this example is the F and the P. I am a feeler and a perceiver. I rely on impulse and abstract conceptions as opposed to logic and order to make my decisions. I do not make a list, check it twice and then follow the list line by line until things get done. Iíll make half the bed, remember that the cats litter needs changed, dust the family room, scrub the toilet and finally get back around to making the bed. At this point in my life, this route really doesnít matter. However, as a child, if I took this round-about way to make my bed when my mother simply asked me to make my bed, it may seem that I took forever to do it and therefore did not care.

    Introversion and extroversion is another area in which understanding is needed. Introverted individuals are often misunderstood as being anti-social. Introversion and extroversion as defined by Myers-Briggs is based on where you draw your energy from. At the end of a long work day, what do you do to get your energy back? Do you retreat to a hot bath and a good read? Or do you out with friends, chat on the internet or talk on the phone? Understanding where your children and teens draw there energy from is imperative in making sure they get there energy back. Knowing when to back off and let your child have some alone time, or conversely, setting up a play date so that they can have social interaction is important in helping your child maintain balance.

    What Not to Do

    As with all tools, Myers-Briggs can be misused. The tool should not be used to judge each other. Donít pick on your INFP daughter who can never be on time or your ESTJ husband who canít break himself from his day planner. The goal is to reach a level of understanding. Know that you can change certain things about yourself while others are harder. Iíve acknowledged that Iím always going to need alone time to recharge, but I can be more organized and on time when I have to be. Realize also that you cannot change your family members. Finally, be patient and thankful that we are not all the same personality type.

    Written by Sara Richmond WallsRate this article:

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