How early can you determine your child’s temperament?
Some temperament traits can be recognized even before birth! I have worked with several sets of twins whose differences were evident as they were moving around in the womb! Countless parents have shared their stories about their very young babies exhibiting very distinctive traits. However, I recommend waiting until a child is between ages two to three years old before a parent takes the Child Inner Drive Assessment for them.
Can your temperament change and is it genetic?
From birth, your temperament is set, but as a person matures and develops, their temperament appears to change. However, research shows that 50% of temperament is innate or a result of “nature” and 50% is situational or a result of “nurture”. An eighty-year Harvard study on happiness reports that 50% of a person’s happiness is determined by their innate nature or temperament, 10% is determined by a person’s circumstances and 40% is determined by how a person reacts to the other 60%.
As we mature and experience different situations and roles we can learn strengths or even weaknesses that fall outside of our temperament. As a result, it becomes more difficult to get an accurate result on a test as a person matures. A parent testing their young child is the most accurate method for measuring temperament. Research is split as to whether or not temperament is genetic. In my work with thousands of families, I would concur that a child’s temperament aligning with a
Are all temperament tests the same? I took one at work and it wasn’t accurate.
No. There are many different varieties of temperament assessments, but they have all been built from the fundamental systems set into place over the last 2000 years, beginning with the first reference of four temperaments in the Old Testament. I have called my temperament test the Inner Drive Assessment because I have compiled the best elements from a myriad of systems ranging from the Bible, Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Carl Jung, Myers Briggs, David Keirsey and most recently, neuroscience. A temperament assessment is only as accurate as the self-awareness of the person taking it. The most accurate way to discover your true type without an expert’s help involves a deep study of Carl Jung’s eight psychological functions of the brain.
How does knowing your child’s temperament help you connect with your child?
If your child’s personality is different from yours, and most of the time it is, you may be struggling to give them the understanding they need. Young children are full of turbulent feelings and need understanding. Some temperaments are rare, and very few people will understand them, so it is even more important that their parents do. Once you understand your child’s temperament, you will understand what their behavior is actually saying, so you can help them become their best selves.
How does knowing each other’s temperament help in our other relationships?
Unrealistic expectations are the number one cause of relational problems. Knowing the temperaments of those around you will help you to see the world through their perspective and adjust your expectations to fall within that person’s strengths and limitations. If you are having frequent misunderstandings with a certain person, it probably means you have very different temperaments. Instead of trying to change the other person, you can come alongside them and learn how you can complement one another.
How can you put someone who is so complicated and diverse into a category or box?
All people are individual and unique with some similarities and differences. People categorize almost everything on the planet like stars, plants, dogs, and gemstones. They do this to try and limit the infinite differences and to focus on the commonalities to gain a better understanding. We are proud of our uniqueness, but bristle if our characteristics are considered “common” or categorizable. You can’t have one without the other.
Can a person be more than one temperament? I feel like I am all of them.
We can adopt strengths from other temperaments, due to a difficult situation or a role we have to play, but we will always find the most fulfillment when we are using and developing the strengths of our dominant preferences. Everyone has preferences in the way they think, feel, sense and use their intuition. Pinpointing our natural preferences offers us much more opportunity for self-growth then trying to develop skills that don’t come as naturally.
What do the letters mean?
Eight letters are used to identify temperament and type. They represent the two poles that each of the four questions create. The questions are:ï
- How do we favor recharging when all our inner energy has been spent? (E-I)
- How do we gather our information about the world around us and inside of us? (S-N)
- How do we make decisions based on the information we gather? (T-F)
- Which of two lifestyles do we prefer? (J-P)
- In addition, there are eight psychological brain functions. Introverted and extroverted thinking, Introverted and extroverted feeling, introverted and extroverted sensing, and introverted and extroverted intuition.
These questions provide us with information that helps us identify the similarities that make up each temperament.
Can a person be both an E or an I, S or N, etc?
No, although many temperament tests can’t point out the complexities that cause many people to feel like two types. Introverted people especially, feel as if they are two different types since they often exhibit different characteristics at their jobs or at social functions than when they are relaxing at home.
Are weaknesses a part of temperament?
No. Weaknesses form from the overuse or imbalance of our strengths. Within our four psychological functions, there are balancing elements that can bring alignment; however, these other functions are often unconscious and unrecognized. Self-growth occurs when these functions are brought to consciousness and cultivated. Temperament should not be used as an excuse for how we act. By understanding and becoming aware of the challenges we must overcome, we become better equipped to face our challenges. If we are using our temperament as an excuse, we are misusing it.