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:
- Refrain from criticizing in the first place, recognizing it won’t help.
- Be careful not to exaggerate faults to make a point. Everything you say will be ignored because of the outrage this causes.
- 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.”