Teens are all very unique. Understanding what makes your teen special can help you to identify areas in which they may need support or areas in which they are strong. There are several personality models you can use and tests your teen can take to try to better understand their character. Your teen might even portray attributes from a variety of personality types, and that’s normal too, particularly as they continue to grow and discover who they are as an human being. By simply identifying some of their key characteristics, the two of you can work together to build a greater understanding of yourselves and each other.
Is your teen a high-achiever? Do they insist on making all deadlines, getting straight A’s, following rules precisely and never breaking a sweat? Then your teen might be a perfectionist. While many of these traits can be desirable, such as detail-orientedness and dedication, be sure your teen isn’t too overwhelmed or anxious. Perfectionists have a habit of suppressing a lot of their stress until they break, so teach them positive self -care habits at an early age.
If your teen is constantly seeing the worst in a situation and is convinced that the least desirable outcome will certainly befall them, then they might be a classic worrier. While these teens will take a more cautious route through adolescence, thinking through their actions carefully, they might also be afraid to take risks or fail. Encourage your teen to be confident in who they are and what they have to offer and watch for signs of persisting fear or social anxiety.
Does your teen like to take “the road less traveled?” Do they seem unfocused or do you always find them off doing their own thing? Then your teen might be a dreamer. These individuals are often big dreamers and eager explorers but encourage your teen to have focus and set some concrete goals. This will help them to not be discouraged if their big plans don’t pan out.
Some teens always seem to be in a “mood.” They’re easily angered, constantly entering debates and often taking on the role of devil’s advocate. Irritable teens might swing from happiness to anger swiftly and without apparent cause. While this isn’t too abnormal for teens, watch for signs of a personality disorder or depression. Really spend some time trying to understand the root of your teen’s swiftly changing emotions.
If your teen tends to act without thinking and is surprised by the consequences, they might be impulsive. Your teen might be willing to take risks and try new things, but they also might be rebellious, struggle with taking direction and find it hard to set goals. While some impulsivity is healthy for all of us, encourage your teen to find the benefit in structures and the importance of taking responsibility.
Does your teen feel sure of who they are and are independent? This confidence is great and healthy for teens. Assist their leadership development and encourage them to give back to those around them in their community rather than just focusing on themselves.
Feature image Jeremy Piehler