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Personality: Discovering Your Child's Personality

The following is taken from the children's book, The Treasure Tree, By Gary and Norma Smalley, and John and Cindy Trent.

In the authors' words, "This is the story of four best friends who find out how much they need each other… it's also the story of four different personalities and why they are each special in their own way.

In our homes, we've seen how beneficial it can be when family members understand each other's personality strengths.  The animals… in this book can teach you and your child how important each personality trait is.

The four animals in this story came out of the personality section we teach in our "Love Is a Decision" seminars, based on our book The Two Sides of Love. Not only do we want children to begin to learn the different personality characteristics, but it is also our deep desire to help parents begin to recognize and highly value even their very young children's unique, God-given bents.

It was our good friend Chuck Swindoll who first pointed out to us how the familiar Proverb "Train up a child in the way he should go…" should be translated. The way it actually reads in Hebrew is "Train up a child according to his bent…"

We hope that by using four animals to describe the four basic personality types, we have helped you to see more clearly your child's "bent." And for you to help your child learn more about his own personality strengths, we've included a brief personality checklist for the two of you to do together.

The instructions are very easy. Simply circle the descriptions that show your child's consistent characteristics. Total the circles in each personality area, and you'll see your child's personality strengths. Is he a lion, an otter, a golden retriever, or a beaver?

As you l earn more about your child in particular, learn to praise him in light of his God-given talents. If you're the parent of a child with a lion personality (who probably is allowing you to live at your home!), understanding his decisive, goal-driven nature can help you relate to him, not react to him.

Recognizing your Otter child's fun-loving nature, your Golden Retriever child's sensitive side, and your Beaver child's tendencies toward perfectionism can also be very helpful in coming up with a parenting plan.

For additional information on your child's personal strengths, we have just the resource for you. In fact, our book The Two Sides of Love was written specifically so that Lions and Beavers would learn to balance their love with softness, and that Otters and Golden Retrievers would learn to balance their love with strength.

And if your child seems to be a "pure-bred" lion, we recommend another resource for you. It's the book Who's in Charge Here? by our friend Dr. Robert Barnes.

May the Lord bless you as you read to your little one(s), snuggle them close, and affirm their God-given strengths."

by John Trent, Ph.D., and Gary Smalley


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