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Different Personalities of Teenagers

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Knowing your teen’s personality type is helpful for several reasons, according to Jody Capehart, author of “Bonding with Your Teens through Boundaries” and “Discipline to the Design of the Child.” Your teen’s personality type might help you know what discipline and motivation style works best and makes parenting and motivating easier. No single personality test tells you everything about your teen’s personality, but a combination of tests could make the process more complete.

Animals

Gary Smalley and John Trent, authors of “The Two Sides of Love,” describe personality types based on four animals: lions, otters, beavers and golden retrievers. The choleric lions are extroverted, task-oriented and strong-willed creatures willing to take charge, whether you want them to or not. Sanguine otters are playful, impulsive, forgetful, disorganized, extroverts who are talkative, people-pleasers. The phlegmatic golden retriever is a witty, patient, introverted peacemaker who often tries to be obedient in all things. The melancholy beaver is an introverted, detail-oriented, compassionate perfectionist who prefers order and might become overwhelmed by too many changes.

Responses

The Parent Toolkit, a website run by The Partnership at Drugfree.org, describes eight teenage personalities based on their responses to life. The impulsive teen doesn’t think about consequences and has problems accepting responsibility. The rebellious teen tests limits and loves to argue. The style-obsessed teen cares more about outward appearances and following the latest craze. The irritable teen swings from highs to lows, so you never know what kind of reaction you will receive. The incommunicative teen doesn’t talk to you, but might spend considerable time talking to peers. You know the peer-centered teen as the one who spends lots of time on social media and values friends' opinions over anything you have to say. A risk-taking teen leaves you wondering what extreme he will try next and whether your heart and nerves can take it. The sleep-deprived teen can’t seem to synchronize with this time zone and spends life stressed and overwhelmed.

Love Languages

Gary Chapman, author of the “Five Love Languages” series, describes your teen’s personality based on how she receives and expresses love. Teens who respond to affirmative words need compliments, encouragement and your desires expressed as requests. Teens who express love through quality time enjoy listening and participating in mutually enjoyed activities. Teens who love through gifts treasure substances bought, hand-made or communicated by your physical presence. Teens who love through acts of service are always doing something for you and prefer to do them as you want those things done. Teens who demonstrate love through physical touch need hugs, kisses, pats on the back and high fives to feel validated and accepted.

Puttng It Together

The book “The Two Sides of Love” can help you figure out what motivates your teen to succeed and the type of discipline best suited for your child. The book's assessment form also reveals the strengths and weaknesses of your teen so you can help him become all he can be. The responsive teen types tells you how your teen’s brain shapes his personality and actions so you can anticipate his actions. The love languages explain how you reach your teen in a way that makes him feel loved, accepted and valued.

Resources

  • Homes of Honor; Gary Smalley
  • The Two Sides of Love; Gary Smalley and John Trent
  • The Five Love Languages of Teenagers; Gary Chapman

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

Photo Credits

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