There are several good books on personality types. I have found DISC and Red, Blue, Yellow, White to be an effective model for interpersonal interactions in sales, leadership, and parenting.

I particular liked one book that called the four types red, blue, yellow, and white and gave examples of kids in a class room that were pretty funny. We’ve used this concept with our own children to adjust our communication style with them to approach them in their ‘comfort zone’.

For kids, I never much liked the Myers Briggs type system because it is too complex to apply and teach to this age group. The other system I liked is DiSC (just like the color codes).

I’ve known some people that get upset when I explain this to them. They feel like I’m trying to label them. I don’t recommend it for labeling, but rather for helping figure out a way forward with peers, teachers, other adults, etc. for your child. It provides an imperfect model that is better than no model. It highlights tendencies with a broad brush so you have to adjust. But thinking ANY leadership model is free from problems is silly in my mind. The old military rule of thumb that “No plan survives first contact.” applies just as well to the plans of mice and men. We use these models to get ideas about what to do next, but in the dance of real life, the choreographed moves often fall by the wayside. So some have asked me, “then why bother planning at all?” Because it is the planning that gets you mentally in the frame of mind to adapt quickly when reality shreds your plan. OK, off my soapbox.

Keep in mind that children do not settle on a personality type quickly. We started to see tendencies that suggested a particular type or two before the age of 8, and had each child pretty well figured out by age 12. It doesn’t always help, but it can help adjust if you are a red (D) and the child is a white (S), so you can slow your pace etc.

We haven’t had much success trying to get the children to use this model, but we’ve used it to relate better with them on their terms.

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KW Lanham



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