Book Review: Personality Plus for Parents, by Florence Littauer

Even before studying psychology in college, I had a love for learning about personality types. My favorite class at KSU was Psych of Personality, and my favorite session of premarital counseling involved comparing our personalities and identifying possible conflict areas. I frequently recommend The Five Love Languages as an excellent resource in learning to love our spouses, children, and others. I love love love this stuff, so you can imagine my excitement to hear about a new (to me) book about personality and parenting.

Now, let me first give a shout out to those of you who don't like being labeled: I truly believe we are all designed uniquely in God's image by our Creator, and therefore, no quiz, category, or index could ever completely define any of us. Our identity is in Christ! However, I also think that God has clearly created us in an orderly manner and to be relational beings. There are evidences of patterns in personality and behavior, but boy, are they complex! With a Biblical perspective, these kind of books/theories can be extremely useful as we seek to better understand and communicate with our loved ones.

The four basic personalities defined in this book (Popular Sanguine, Powerful Choleric, Perfect Melancholy, and Peaceful Phlegmatic) are by no means original, but the Littauer's explanation of their strengths and weaknesses is enlightening. Perhaps the most helpful section of the book deals with the interactions between personality types. After a brief overview of the four types, Littauer begins by addressing "partnering personalities" (page 20), which challenges spouses to understand and appreciate the strenghts and weaknesses each bring into their role as parents, and to rely on one another as members of a team. The author continues by describing what a particular personality type might look like in a child, and then gives insight into the potential relationship with a parent of each of the four personalities.

As I have discussed parts of these chapters with Daniel (who lovingly puts up with my passion for this stuff!), we have had quite a bit of insight into both our role as parents and our marital relationship. Pretty much complete opposites in our personality type, this book enabled us to identify common threads in some of our biggest areas of conflict. Hopefully understanding each other better, we can more lovingly communicate in moments of frustration! (You'd think I was describing a book on marriage!)

Well, although we think we have a pretty good idea of what Elli's personality might be, she is still unfolding before us every day! I look forward to understanding her more and more as she grows! As a mom, I loved learning about what the needs of each personality are, and thinking about practical ways to meet those needs.

My biggest critisicm of this book is that the author frequently uses rather silly examples to illustrate a point. At times I felt like I was reading an episode of "Kids Say the Darndest Things;" the stories were entertaining but usually unnecessary.

Anybody have any book recommendations? I'm looking for a new one!

1 comment:

Stacey said...

I have lots of book recommendations. What area are you looking for? Fiction? Christian? Health? Of course maybe you have already read them all.