Parenting Tactics for Thinkers

I am more and more of the opinion that learning about personality types is a great way to learn to be a better parent and teacher. Here’s a section I have dog-eared in Gifts Differing by Isabel Myers:

The thinker’s natural process is inappropriate when used in personal relations with feeling types, because it includes a readiness to criticize. Criticism is of great value when thinkers apply it to their own conduct or conclusion, but it has a destructive effect upon feeling types, who need a harmonious climate.

Both my husband and I are thinkers.

The feeling types have a great need for sympathy and appreciation. They want others to realize how they feel and either share the feeling or at least acknowledge its value. They want others to approve of them. […] Uninhibited criticism makes life stressful for feeling types.

I have at least 2, possibly 3 or 4, feeling children.

People who are conscious of such damage and want to avoid it can improve matters. […] Thinkers can do three things to limit the damage their criticism may cause.

To summarize the three things:

  1. Refrain from criticizing in the first place, recognizing it won’t help.
  2. Be careful not to exaggerate faults to make a point. Everything you say will be ignored because of the outrage this causes.
  3. Play by the feeler’s rules: “Remember how feeling types respond to sympathy and appreciation; a little of either will greatly tone down a necessary criticism, but the thinker must express sympathy or appreciation first.”

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8 Comments

  1. St. George is a perpetual favorite here, too. Love that.

    As a “feeler” I think sometimes we need to get over ourselves and let thinkers be their way too. Can I empathize with the thinker? Yes. Different for children, though. Thanks for linking up.

  2. Yes, there was an admonition to feelers to not take critique personally, but the bulk of it was directed at the thinker – Isabel Myers was an INFP. That’s what you said you get and don’t relate to? Have you looked at the description of ISFJ? ISFJs tend to mistype themselves because they relate to the people they’re around so much.

  3. I think I really need to read Gifts Differing, if I can ever find a copy.

    Confession time: that shelfie made me twitch. I’m constantly straightening our shelves. (Really awkward confession time: I’ve been known to straighten book shelves in stores too. Philip will say, “You know, they pay people to do that.”)

  4. I hope you don’t mind that I borrowed your idea of sharing other family members’ reading in my Wednesdays with Words post. :)

    The Disappearing Spoon is on my to-read list now, and Gifts Differing look intriguing, too.

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