As my daughters have gotten older, I’ve been fascinated with how their personalities have become more obvious. My oldest two are often taken for twins because they look alike, yet their personalities are very different. I find it interesting that two children with the same parents and same upbringing can be so different. Clearly, God has made each of us unique! I often contemplate their personalities as I consider how best to teach, discipline, and interact with them.
I was excited to hear about Hettie Brittz’s new book, Growing Kids with Character: Nurturing Your Child’s Potential, Purpose, and Passion. This book provides a resource to understand a child’s natural bents not only to excel in life but also to establish their identity and purpose in Christ. While I’ve noticed the differences in my daughters’ personalities, I don’t often know what to do with those observations. Through Hettie Brittz’s tree metaphors, I’ve been discovering how to let my kids excel at being who they naturally are as they grow in their unique purpose in the world.
The first chapters of Growing Kids with Character give an overview of why it’s important to know our kids’ personalities to nurture their growth. I love her garden analogies. For example, every time we move, I have to figure out where in the house my houseplants will best grow. I know my aloe and spider plants’ “personalities” and needs, so I put them in a place where they will thrive. It’s equally crucial that I recognize my daughters’ personalities, and find ways that they can flourish as themselves.
Hettie helps readers identify their kids’ natural bent and understand how that affects the parenting journey. Parents will learn how to:
- cultivate each of their kids’ unique way of encountering, following, and worshiping God
- disciple and discipline based on each child’s blueprint
- help their children celebrate God’s individualized design for others
The biggest section of Growing Kids with Character is about specific personality types. Parents are invited to take Hettie’s online personality test to determine their child’s tree profile. Once you know your child’s profile, you can look up that profile in the book to get specific tips for your child.
One thing I really liked about Hettie’s tree profiles is that multiple people can give their input on a child’s profile. So far, I’ve done the test for my oldest daughter, Sunshine. I did the profile for her as her mom, then let her do the profile for herself. My husband and a teacher or grandparent could also add their perspective on her personality. The test then amalgamates all the feedback to give you your child’s tree type. This seems more accurate to me, because often we answer personality questions based on emotions (subject to change). Other times, a question is hard to answer because none of the answers seems to fit. Having multiple perspectives on your child helps overcome these problems.
Sunshine and I both identified her as the same tree type. (That made me feel like I do know my daughter well!) She’s a hybrid tree, so I need to do more reading on the three tree types that make up her personality. She’s also curious about the answers to the test she did, so I’d like to discuss her personality with her. I didn’t identify myself as an introvert until I was in my mid-twenties, but knowing that part of my personality earlier could have helped prevent some struggles (especially early in my marriage). Helping her know her own personality could help her in various situations with her sisters and friends, and, as she grows up, co-workers and bosses and others.
I’d also like to do the test for myself and for Lily and Jade. Because the test is based on brief video stories, it’s easy for kids to complete (even 5-year-old Jade should be able to answer the questions). I’m looking forward to seeing how our personalities are similar and different, and helping the girls to understand themselves as well. Then I can apply Hettie’s tips to help us all grow and thrive as we are, instead of being frustrated by certain personality bents in my daughters that are different than my own.
Hettie Brittz is a South African-born author, international speaker, and a foremost voice in parenting advice and personality styles. She is the author of “(un)Natural Mom,” the developer of the Evergreen Parenting Course, and the co-developer of Tall Trees Profiles. She heads up Tall Trees Consulting (USA). Find out more about Hettie by visiting her website.
Do you know what your kids’ personalities are? Does this help you in parenting them?