Personality Priorities in Families

Personality priorities, the most important way our personality strives for belonging. There are four types: comfort, pleasing, control, and superiority. Which one are you and which one are your kids and why does this matter?

Let’s start by breaking this down a bit. Personality is defined as the characteristic sets of behaviors, cognitions, and emotional patterns that evolve from biological and environmental factors. Our pattern of actions, thoughts, and feelings from DNA and the world around us. 

Priorities are actions that arrange items or activities in order of importance. What we give value to. 

Leading us to personality priorities as the important behaviors, thoughts, and feelings in our attempts to belong

There are four types of personality priorities and neither is better or worse than the other. They all have positive and negative qualities. We can determine our personality priority by looking at what we desire to achieve and more importantly what we desire to avoid. 

Comfort

 These individuals desire amazingly enough- comfort, along with pleasure and ease. They enjoy being pampered. They wish to avoid stress, expectations, work, and responsibility. Other may describe them as irritating or lazy. However, their strengths are that they are easy-going, they mind their own business, get along with others, and are empathetic. Unfortunately, they often do not live up to their potential, do not complete tasks, and are undervalued. 

These kids are the ones who avoid homework- often causing stress for the parents. They may complete the bare minimum tasks when it comes to chores and are resistant to change. They also have few demands and are predictable. 

Pleasers 

These kids, like myself, are working hard to achieve the needs of others. We avoid rejection and conflict. People are happy at first with our willingness to meet their needs, however this need for approval becomes annoying. Parents enjoy the way pleasers follow the rules. Teachers appreciate our willingness to volunteer for tasks. 

We are nice, reliable, and helpful to our friends. However, we are constantly worried about other’s expectations of us and consequently do not meet our own needs. Kids who are pleasers will complete their sibling’s chores and take the dog on an extra walk. They will also loose sleep over worrying about a fight with a friend or take on so many responsibilities they don’t have time just to play. 

Control 

This personality priority has two subtypes: control of self and control of everything. The goal of this type is control of self, others, and situations. They want to avoid humiliation and surprises. These kids are your team captains, as they are natural leaders. They are productive, assertive, and responsible. 

Lacking spontaneity, they thrive on routine. They may have diminished creativity and fun. These kids will get in trouble for bossing their friends and siblings. Parents will feel challenged and frustrated because they will dig in their heels and be stubborn to get what they want.

Superiority

Our final personality priority type also has two subtypes of achieving and outdoing. Their goal is to be more competent, smart, good, useful and better than others. They desire to avoid feeling meaningless and inferior. They will be competitive in whatever they engage in, academics, athletics, art, or music. 

They are organized and productive but may also be overwhelmed and over-worked. Trying hard is natural for them and they tend to be perfectionistic.  These kids will try over and over again to get things just so. They may bully others to feeling inferior and inadequate. 

Imagine a control parent and a control kids, I would guess this household has a lot of power struggles. A control parent and a comfort kid may also create a great deal of conflict. Two superiority personalities will constantly try to one-up each other, competing for who is the best. 

Keep these thoughts in mind the next time you have a conflict with your child. Try addressing them a different way, thinking about what the desire to achieve and avoid. You can tell a comfort kid life will be a lot easier if we work together to pick up and then relax for the evening. Approach a superiority child by telling them they are the best dishwasher in the house. The way we talk to children has a big impact on their willingness to comply.  

If your child continues to struggle or need extra support, please contact me to see how I can help. 

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