Let’s cut to the chase. What kind of parent are you?
Don’t worry, nobody is on trial here. The answer is simple — you’re a good one.
But thanks to a new study from Truity, a company that specializes in personality assessments, we can learn how our personality types affect our roles as parents.
The tool being used is the famous Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which has its critics, but resonates deeply with a lot of people.
In a nutshell, there are four dimensions on the MBTI, and the majority of us favor a side for each one.
1. Extroversion (E) vs. Introversion (I) — how one manages and replenishes personal energy
2. Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N) — how one gathers and processes information
3. Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F) — how one prioritizes personal values
4. Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P) — how one organizes and structures daily life and work
The end result is a four-letter code based on each of the four dimensions, and if you’re unsure about your personality type, you can complete a free online assessment. There are 16 possible personality types and you can learn more about each one here.
Truity took that information a step further by using a three-step questionnaire to find correlations between personality type and parenting.
Here are five big takeaways from the study.
1. Each personality type has its own unique parenting strengths.
Yes, we all have our weaknesses as parents, too, but it’s important to note that our personality types provide us with some pretty awesome strengths when it comes to raising tiny humans.
Nothing is absolute. For example, just because “sensors” tend to emphasize traditions doesn’t mean that “intuitives” don’t. It simply means that the study found they focus their energies more on behaviors that come more naturally to them.
There are so many different parenting styles out there, and one isn’t better than another. But it’s pretty cool to see how our personalities shape how we choose to interact with our children.
2. It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom or dad, INFP parents are most likely to embrace the stay-at-home lifestyle.
It’s important to note that the chart lists the percentages of women who are stay-at-home moms. Due to the small sample size of male respondents who are stay-at-home dads, the chart for men reveals the percentages of men who would like to be at home with their kids primarily.
Either way, INFP respondents (or introverted, feeling types) are the ones who tend to embrace the stay-at-home parent role more than any other type.
Another interesting point is over two-thirds of the fathers surveyed said they would give up their day jobs to be stay-at-home dads.
3. When it comes to rating their own parenting skills, extroverts gave themselves a lot of props. Introverts? Not as much.
Respondents were given a series of statements about parenting and were asked to rate their level of agreement on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). In almost every instance, extroverts rated themselves highest while introverts went in the opposite direction.
Here’s a snapshot of the results.
If you think that means all extroverts are better suited for parenting, think again.
“Previous studies have shown that extroverts are more likely to express positive emotions in general,” the researchers at Truity said. “We can expect them to score more highly on any measure where they are asked about emotions such as happiness and joy.”
4. Feelers prefer having kids more than thinkers do. And some personality types just don’t dig the whole parenting thing at all.
OK, so it’s too late now for those of us who are already knee-deep in parenthood, but in case you’re wondering how personality type correlates to the desire to have kids, this section is for you.
Of all of the personality types, INTJ responders were the most likely to say that they never wanted children.
Truity interviewed a few INTJ respondents to get their thoughts on the topic. One INTJ father of four had this to say:
“As an INTJ, being free and able to grow and learn is very important to me, so being a parent can be a challenge. I have to constantly carve out time for reading, thinking and quiet, which can be a real challenge. But, if I can find some maintenance time for myself, I can be a really good parent. If I don’t my impatience with my children really surfaces.”
That’s not to say that thinkers can’t handle parenting. They just need some “me time” every now and then. And let’s be real — every parent needs some time to themselves.
5. Sometimes surviving parenthood starts with surrounding yourself with people who “get” you.
For the people who choose to have children, it will be the toughest job they’ll ever have. But it can be a little easier if they know there are others out there who experience similar joys and frustrations of raising kids.
“Most parents report that one of the best ways to cope with the struggles of parenting is to hear from other parents going through the same challenges,” said the people at Truity. “In this respect, personality typing can be a unique form of stress relief for parents.”
Regardless of personality types, that is something we can all agree on.