At MOPS a week ago we had a speaker who is a certified personality trainer. (I never knew there was such a thing!) She spoke about understanding our children's personalities, and it was very fascinating. For me, anyway--I can't speak for the others in the audience--but I have always been intrigued by personality analyses. In college I took the Meiers-Briggs assessment, probably the first personality "test" that I ever took. It was fascinating for me to look somewhat objectively at my personality, and then to apply the blurbs to my family and close friends to understand them a bit better.
Over the years I have since been exposed to other assessments like this--you're likewise probably familiar with the terms choleric, melancholy, sanguine, etc. I even vaguely remember reading something about animals, possibly in a book I read in college. So the information our MOPS speaker presented wasn't totally new, but it was definitely interesting to view in light of the fact that I am now a mother of three children! During the presentation, she mentioned that likely we will find at least 2 of the 4 animals that represent to some degree our children's personalities. In other words, we are unique individuals, and we can't be defined by X number of parameters. Still, it's interesting to see the overall trends and think, yup, that's my child! I know some people shudder at the thought of "categorizing" or "labeling" ourselves and other people, but I have no problem doing so. It's part of my Beaver personality. ;-)
The four animals are Lion, Otter, Beaver, and Golden Retriever. Their basic desires are control, fun, peace, and perfection, respectively. For the more visual learners, it looks like this--
Golden Retriever--Peaceful--Desires Peace
Now for a partial list of attributes for each one (when I hear you laughing, I'll know you've identified either yourself or a person very close to you!):
organizes and delegates well
likes to be in control
In children, this personality expresses itself by being demanding, loud, manipulative, not sleeping much, and throwing tantrums. These children need choices so they can feel they have control over something. For example: "Which of these two outfits would you like to wear today?"
life of the party
love to entertain
love to talk
There weren't as many adjectives for this personality type, but she did talk about how a child who is an Otter is best disciplined by being in time out or isolation. It kills them to miss out on something!
like to research
hard on themselves
can get depressed easily
avoid noise and confusion
A point I thought was interesting (especially given that I have the majority of these characteristics!) is that Beavers can tend to avoid being cheered up. They get depressed easily (probably because of our high standards that we can never seem to maintain!) but don't seek out ways to lift themselves out of their funk. I never thought of that as being true of me--I'm generally a glass half-full kind of person--but I can definitely see how this is sometimes true. Wallowing in misery is never fun, but sometimes it is mildly satisfying to throw oneself a pity party. :-)
crushed by getting yelled at
can be selfish and lazy
go along with the crowd
hard time saying no
An interesting point about the Golden Retriever is that last characteristic. Golden Retrievers will be whatever they need to be. If no one is taking charge, they'll be a Lion. If everyone just wants to have fun, they'll be an Otter. If work needs to be done in an orderly fashion, they'll be a Beaver. This bit of information made it a little easier to figure out what my children are.
So...what are we? If you've read this far, you probably don't mind reading to find out what animals I think our family of 5 is made of! I picked two animals for each of us quite easily. I listed the more dominant side first.
Ted: Golden Retriever/Beaver
Charis: Beaver/Golden Retriever
Arden: Golden Retriever/Otter
Just this brief exercise of "classifying" my family helped me understand them so much better. Tobin really does need control. At the same time, he loves people and attention! Charis is definitely a serious, creative student with high standards (except when it comes to keeping her room clean...this is where the Golden Retriever kicks in about being selfish and lazy!). Arden is my little people pleaser, happy and undemanding MOST of the time, and when he's not, it is usually due to A) he is the youngest child and getting picked on or B) he is a toddler!
I found it interesting that Arden shares characteristics of both Charis and Tobin. Perhaps this is one reason Charis and Tobin fight so much--they truly are opposites!
So, which animal are you? I'd love it if you left a comment! (And by the way, quite awhile ago I changed my settings so that anyone can comment, not just those who have a blog, so it's much easier. You just have to do a word verification so that Blogger knows it's not spam comments!)
Edited to add this comment: I just got a link with the lion-otter-beaver-golden retriever assessment that some of you may want to check out! It has a lot more characteristics than I had written down in my notes--and trust me, I wrote down everything she said, 'cuz I'm a beaver. :-) Especially check out the personality skit--very hilarious! Especially if you imagine people you know as those personalities!