How to Handle Different Personality Types in Children: 6 Steps
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Kids have more than one personality type.

As you watch your child throw a temper tantrum in the middle of the supermarket, it is perfectly normal for you to wish your toddler was well-behaved, sweet, intelligent, kind and funny instead of an occasionally defiant, self-absorbed, aggressive little monster. You love your little one, but you don’t love all of her personality types. It’s frustrating when your usually sweet little love turns into the little girl from The Exorcist. It happens, however, and your job is to understand why it happens and how to handle the many different personality types of your toddler. Toddlers have many different personality types, and learning about them will help you deal with them.


  1. 1
    Learn to recognize which personality types your toddler is exhibiting. She has one of the five basic personality types -- aggressive, inattentive, self-absorbed, sensitive and defiant. She may exhibit as many as two at a time, though she will exhibit them at all at some point or another. It may seem to you as if she has multiple personalities, but rest assured that she’s just a kid, even if she does have more mood swings than you do when you’re premenstrual.
  2. 2
    Practice caution when your child is exhibiting the sensitive personality type. Children with a sensitive personality are often shy and even scared. The best way to handle this type of personality is to show her patience and empathy. Introduce new things to your child slowly and carefully. It may be tempting to take her to a theme park and thrust her at her favorite princesses while asking her to hug them, talk to them and smile for your camera, but this may overwhelm her. Set firm rules and do not overindulge her sensitivity or else she will never learn to handle her own emotions.
  3. 3
    Provide a lot of stimulation for the self-absorbed child. It takes a lot of noise and interest to attract her attention. She becomes bored easily, doesn’t always come across as interested in what you have to say or do and often plays by herself rather than with others. To handle her personality, provide her with a plenty of stimulation, such as other children, hands-on activities and a lot of noise and creativity. She responds best to these.
  4. 4
    Acknowledge your defiant child’s good behavior. By showing her attention when she does something good, she is more likely to continue with the good behavior. Do not give in when she is acting out. Avoid struggling for power with your defiant toddler. Be firm and show her at all times that she has no power as the toddler and that you, as the parent, are the one with the power. The last thing that you want is a reality show nanny showing up at your front door to “fix” your behavior problems in front of two or three million of your closest friends and family.
  5. 5
    Practice focusing with your inattentive child. Do not automatically assume she has some sort of learning disability, as so many parents do. She’s a kid with a short attention span. By consistently teaching her to follow through, finish and focus, you can help her with her inattention.
  6. 6
    Teach communication to your aggressive toddler. She often reacts first and thinks about her actions later, which is what you want to avoid. Learn to handle her personality type by teaching her to recognize her feelings and talk about them rather than act on them. By learning to talk about her feelings first, she will be less likely to act on them in her usually aggressive manner.


  • Do not expect your tactics to work at all times. Kids have many different personality types. Do not expect that you can deal with one and everything will be all right. You need to learn to recognize which type of personality your toddler is exhibiting each day and handle each one accordingly.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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