family teensReader Question: I would say that my husband is a type A (driven, structured) personality and both of our children are more like me, type B (relaxed, easy going). At times, this combination of personalities can be challenging. Do you have suggestions as to how to keep things calm but moving forward in our household?

Your question is really about how opposite temperaments learn to work together. Type A parents usually want their children to achieve and respond quickly to directions and consequences. Type B kids are more creative, laid back and tend to drag their heels on getting things done. Neither style is better than the other, but parents need to find ways to work with kids with opposite temperaments.

So one way to accommodate both styles is to make chores more of a game. For example, instead of ordering a child to empty the dishwasher, set a timer and play beat the clock. The important thing, according to Reginald Richardson of Northwestern University’s Family Institute, is to balance high expectations with warmth and support.

Studies do show that parents who are more authoritative in their parenting style have kids with fewer behavior problems, higher academic achievement and less depression and anxiety. And eventually, many type B children grow up to see the value of setting goals and accomplishing them. So your husband’s push for order and getting things done should be balanced with fun, encouragement and support. The driven Type A parent has to be careful to show compassion along the way and understand that success can look different for different kids. The danger with pushing too hard is that children begin to feel they aren’t accepted for who they are and learn to conform to your dreams, not theirs. The best thing is to understand your child’s temperament and help him reach his potential and passion, using a balance of pushing and accepting.


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