I am what you would call an extrovert. I love to be around others as much as possible and I find excitement recharges me. The busier my day, the more I seem to crush any challenge. Being under pressure helps me to focus and has been a positive force in raising three kids, maintaining a career and keeping my home in one piece.
Why does that matter? Because my personality has an impact on the way I relate to my friends and family. My personality combined with theirs affects our relationships from the way we show love to our everyday interactions and communication with one another.
I have two daughters who have very different personalities.
My oldest daughter is like me in many ways. She loves to be with people. Social interaction and personalized attention are her comfort zones. There is rarely a moment she isn’t on her phone these days, making plans with someone. Her social media is filled with thousands of images and videos of her exploits with her friends. This personality was clear from the time she was a toddler going up to other kids on the playground.
As my second daughter got older, the contrast in her personality through me for a loop. She is friendly and gets along well with her peers. However, she is quickly exhausted in social settings and needs alone time to recharge. She would much rather sit with a book than play with the other kids. Privacy and quiet are her comfort zones.
My extroverted, social butterfly and my introverted bookworm both respond differently to criticism. They both speak different love languages. And most importantly, they both require their own method of learning life lessons.
Noticing the difference in their personalities was the first indication that perhaps my own interactions with them might require some customization.
I had to rework my approach to parenting.
My initial approach to parenting was one-size-fits-all. Choices, consequences, activities and responsibilities were the same for all. But as the kids grew, we found that this approach wasn’t going to work.
By spending more one on one time with my daughters, I’ve been able to better understand their emotional needs. When my extroverted daughter needs help, I can best capture her attention by getting her out of the house. Shopping is the key to that girl’s heart! When we go out, just her and I, we talk and laugh. We connect through conversation and our shared love of accessories. She is more willing to let me into her thoughts and her life when we are better connected this way.
My introverted daughter requires a different approach. In the same setting, she would close up, getting lost in the overwhelming sea of the shopping center. So I know that our one on one time is best spent in her space – her room, a quiet coffee shop or a quirky bookstore. This is where she communicates best. When she can let her guard down in a quiet, comfortable space, she is more likely to communicate her thoughts and feelings.
By better understanding their emotional side, we’ve opened up the gates of communication. This had led to more respect and happiness in our home and for that, we are truly grateful.