Personality Tests and Parenting Styles

May 26, 2010


In a past life also known as “consulting”, I was often subjected to tests. Personality tests, intelligence tests, behavioral tests and even tests regarding my values.

Turns out I have some of each.

I could almost guarantee the results of any test I had to take. Some were incredible “so what?!”, a few were “mildly interesting”. I was always ridiculously consistent and really transparent. Never a surprise.

I hadn’t taken one in a while and while I was on Jory’s site (congrats!) poking around for the first time she mentioned in her “About” page how she is a “3” on the Enneagram. I had never heard of that one, so I googled it and came across an abridged version of the test. I took the test and, not surprisingly, came out with one slightly dominant type and several evenly spread types right behind that.

Here are my results. They will be of no surprise to anyone who raised me, knows me and has had to live with me.

Type Score
1 5
2 1
3 5
4 5
5 6
6 4
7 5
8 4
9 1

Here’s what caught my attention on this test, though. Unlike other results, this one talks to you about not only what your type is about (i.e. How to Get Along with Me), but also why you like being this way, why it’s hard to be that type, what kind of kid you were and what kind of parent you are.

Now THAT is interesting.

We’ll use Type 5 for me since that was my highest score. Here is what it says about Type 5 parents.

Fives as Parents
• are often kind, perceptive, and devoted
• are sometimes authoritarian and demanding
• may expect more intellectual achievement than is developmentally appropriate
• may be intolerant of their children expressing strong emotions

All of these things are true. And, yes, you cannot sum up a person’s parenting style in four bullets, but it’s an accurate start. Rope in the parenting bullets from the other very close scores/types and you pretty much build a picture of me as a parent.

As I started to think (Type 5!) about the results I wondered if parents who took these tests saw the results and made choices to continue their parenting style or change it. That’s what these tests are for, right? To give feedback to you and show you a snapshot of your “true self” for you to consider (and for others to figure out how in G-d’s name to work/live with you).

So, the bullets. They gave me a moment to consider the way I parent. Because of my scores being so close in several other types, I put them all together to consider them as a whole. Here is the whole list:

• teach their children responsibility and strong moral values
• are consistent and fair
• discipline firmly
• are consistent, dependable, and loyal
• struggle between wanting to spend time with their children and wanting to get more work done
• expect their children to be responsible and organized
• help their children become who they really are
• support their children’s creativity and originality
• are good at helping their children get in touch with their feelings
• are sometimes overly critical or overly protective
• are usually very good with children if not too self-absorbed
• are often enthusiastic and generous
• want their children to be exposed to many adventures in life
• may be too busy with their own activities to be attentive
• are often kind, perceptive, and devoted
• are sometimes authoritarian and demanding
• may expect more intellectual achievement than is developmentally appropriate
• may be intolerant of their children expressing strong emotions

There are some themes among these and looking at this in sum I cannot say it’s wrong. My strengths and my weaknesses in life and in parenting are here in black and white. I no longer get all huffy and defensive about the results of these tests – I can look at them and say, “Yep. That’s me.” But I can decide to improve on some of the bullets and focus more on others if I want to.

It was really an interesting exercise.

Take the test. You can find an abridged version here. It’s 38 questions where you have two choices on each. I’m curious to see how it “types” you – in life and in parenting. And remember, there’s no “wrong” answer – so be honest.

Is it correct? Do you think you’ll make any changes from the feedback?

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2 Responses to “Personality Tests and Parenting Styles”

  1. Knighton Says:

    I was very strongly Type 1: The Reformer (Perfectionist), followed by Type 5: The Thinker (Observer). Spot on.

    I believe I’ve taken this test before and have been striving to be less perfectionistic & demanding and more outgoing, spontaneous & friendly. It’s a daily challenge.

    And while I don’t have children, I think this is a decent predictor of how I might parent them if I did. Mostly based upon my experiences with my 8 nephews and nieces.

  2. Pammer Says:

    So what you’re saying is we were basically separated at birth? 😉