My 8 year old C personality type daughter has been having a hard time lately. For the past several weeks she's seemed whiny, disagreeable and really negative. At first, I just assumed she was out of sorts and didn't think too much of it, but after a few weeks I decided I needed to seriously talk to her about it so that it didn't become habit.
From the time they're pretty little, I teach my kids about DISC. At first they learn about their own personality type and then as they mature I keep feeding them information so that they understand other types and how to interact and communicate effectively. It's fun to hear them describe friends or teachers ("You'd love her mom; she's such an I!" or "At first I thought the new math teacher hated me, but then I realized she was just a D.").
So here's how the conversation with my 8 year old went:
"Elle, you've got to be careful. It's really easy for people with your personality type to see the negative stuff in life and completely overlook all of the good stuff. For instance, when your little sister is singing, she really isn't doing it to irritate you. She's just happy and feels like singing. Or maybe you get really upset because you don't like the chicken I made for dinner and you're afraid I'm going to make you eat it. What you're forgetting is that I made your favorite kind of cheesy rice to go along with it and that I'm not the kind of mom who makes you eat stuff you don't like.
"We all have things that come easily to us and other things that we have to work harder at. Like, it's really easy for your little sister to make friends, but it's not so easy for you to talk to new people and get to know them. On the other hand, you are super organized, but your little sister's room usually looks like a tornado has gone through it. You are really good at your schoolwork, but your sister often loses her papers (if she even remembers to bring them home). It doesn't mean you don't have to learn how to make friends or that she doesn't have to learn how to become more organized, it just means that you'll have to work harder at the things that don't come so easily to you. And being positive and happy is something you will actually have to work at. Some people are just naturally happy and some people have to decide to be. "
Okay, so it was more of a monologue than a conversation, but you get the idea. The whole point of it was that because she understands basic personality types, she understood what I was saying. She started to grump about something the very next day and when I looked at her and asked her how she was going to "choose to feel" she glared at me for about 5 seconds and then broke into a smile. After that she'd make a grumpy face every time I turned my head and then would switch back to a smile when I looked at her. It became a game and she had her little sister in stitches.