(57) Family Personalities with Sandra

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If you like using data to make your job as a parent easier, your brain will love today’s guest, Sandra, who is a Myers-Briggs expert and counselor who helps families figure out their personality types. She breaks things down in such a simple way, and you will witness me processing my own personality in real time. We discuss how personality typing can help you help your kids, which personality types have a harder time with motherhood (and the pandemic), and how to fill your kids’ specific buckets so they can stretch out of their comfort zone. Of course, we also talk about the fact that our parents’ generation would never contemplate any of these things! 

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Brandy:           Hello Adult Conversation Podcast listeners! If you like using data to make your job as a parent easier, your brain will love today’s guest Sandra, who is a Myers-Briggs expert and counselor who helps families figure out their personality types. She breaks things down in such a simple way, and you will witness me processing my own personality in real time. We discuss how personality typing can help you help your kids, which personality types have a harder time with motherhood (and the pandemic and distance learning), and how to fill your kids’ specific buckets so they can stretch out of their comfort zone. Of course, we also talk about the fact that our parents’ generation would be contemplating NONE of these things!

Brandy:           I want to give a quick shout out to my newest Patreon supporter, Tara Levein Mack. Thank you, Tara! If you want to join Tara and the others in making this podcast possible, go to patreon.com/adultconversation. On to the show.

Brandy:           So you guys know me, I am always trying to make this mothering thing easier. So that’s the spirit of today’s podcast. How might knowing more about what makes our kids tick help make things easier on us (well, and them, of course)? Today’s guest, Sandra Etherington, hosts the Family Personalities Podcast, and is a personality type expert and counselor who is passionate about the fact that we are all wired with different preferences and mental processes that determine the way we prefer to interact with the world. And she’s going to share some insight with us that can hopefully lead to a more peaceful family dynamic with less struggle and resistance for all. That’s kind of a tall order, but welcome to the podcast, Sandra.

Sandra:           Thank you so much for having me. It’s my favorite thing to talk about, so I’m glad to be here.

Brandy:           Okay, good. I am just eternally fascinated by personality typing partially because I see an immediate difference when I change my interactions with people based on how they best engage with the world, but also because my left brain loves categorizing things and then implementing a strategy based on data points. So I feel like when someone tells me they’re an introvert or an extrovert or a certain number on the enneagram, that’s the equivalent of what would have taken us hours to suss out in conversation. So the efficiency is just beautiful to me.

Sandra:           Oh, yes. You’re speaking my language, and I actually loved mathematics growing up–

Brandy:           Yes!

Sandra:           So being able to put a model to something – to human behavior – is really fascinating to me.

Brandy:           Yes. And I mean, I’m sure there’s shortcomings there. I’m sure there’s not like a one-size-fits-all, but I like a one-size-fits-most, maybe. But it’s funny you say that about math because my daughter seems to do well at math and likes it, and I’m always telling her, “This is one of the few things in the world that there’s a right and a wrong answer for.” And god I love it just for knowing like, “Did I get it right?” Whereas as a writer, there’s no right way to do it. And so math is just that place. And also when I was in high school, I took an accounting class, and debits and credits that even out – it was just like fucking orgasmic to me.

Sandra:           Okay, see, that’s where you lost me. I’m more like the theoretical math gets me going.

Brandy:           Oh no.

Sandra:           And when it comes to accounting or applied math, just stick a pencil through my eye.

Brandy:           Okay, but wait – theoretical math? So this is messed up because then it sounds like you like math that doesn’t have a right answer like you like thinking about the philosophy of math or do I not know?

Sandra:           I like to be able to get to a right answer, but I like that there’s different ways to get there and then you can manipulate it.

Brandy:           So you love Common Core?

Sandra:           Yes. I know a lot of people are just gonna stop listening right now.

Brandy:           No, I’m with you. I actually like it too because I mean– it’s so frustrating as a parent to have to show all the different ways when we were never taught that. But I love that different Brains think differently. I love the concept that the kids aren’t just memorizing something, even though that’s faster, but they know how they got there. I’m all for it, except for probably in high school. Do they still do Common Core in high school, because I feel like by then I won’t know what to do?

Sandra:           Yes, they do. But the idea is that by doing Common Core all the way through, they will be more equipped to handle math in high school. You know, it’s only been around for, I don’t know how many years, but eight years or something so it’s kind of an experiment.

Brandy:           Awesome. This is a fun experiment that our kids have all been part of on top of a pandemic. Great great times. {Laughter}

Brandy:           So I am excited to talk to you about the benefits of putting labels on people. {Laughs} But first, what is something the listeners need to know about you?

Sandra:           I am a recovering perfectionist. And it’s funny, you brought up the enneagram earlier, that was really how I discovered that I’m a perfectionist. I’m a one on the enneagram, which is called the perfectionist or reformer.

Brandy:           Hi, so am I. Hi! {laughter}

Sandra:           I could tell when we were setting up the podcast, we both had the same anxieties about losing the audio and making sure we have backups.

Brandy:           Yes!

Sandra:           So I didn’t realize that you could be a perfectionist without being overly concerned about details, because I’m really not a details person. And I’m kind of like, if you looked at my environment, you wouldn’t think that I was a perfectionist. But for me, when you learn about the enneagram – and I’m not trained in enneagram – but I love the enneagram. But when you learn about it, it’s about the core motivation, or like defense mechanism you put into place when you’re young. And for me, it’s always been about being good. And I have to do everything the right way in order to be good. And that’s how I feel like I need to earn my love. And so it’s about finding the best way to do something, and I have to do it that way or I feel like I’m somehow failing. And so for me that’s come up really strongly in motherhood, and feeling like I have to be feeding my kids the best diet, and I have to be giving them the right amount of screen time, and all these things have led to this crazy amount of anxiety that I’ve been working really hard on over the last few years. And so the reason I want everyone to know that about me is that I have learned to have a lot more empathy and compassion for myself because I’ve realized how strong I went the other way, and how that damaged my mental health. And so I work really hard to be more gentle on myself and therefore gentle with others. And so when I talk about these personality type things– like I have this model that I’m trying to follow, because I think that we can find the best way to interact with our kids through this. On the other hand, we are all struggling, and we cannot always show up as our best selves and parent in the exact right way. And so I try to have a lot of empathy with myself a lot of compassion with others as I go through this type of stuff.

Brandy:           Wow. Wow. Okay. Yeah, totally. That didn’t resonate at all for me. {Laughter} Yeah, I’m sorry, I just can’t connect to it. So no, I’m curious – when you say (which is something I say too), about being a recovering perfectionist – because I was raised by I was raised by a woman who uses a straight-edge ruler to write her letters so they’re perfect. I mean, my mom is amazing and quirky, and funny as hell, and I didn’t ever go that far. But penmanship was like a thing that I took great pride in. So how, when you said that you’ve been working on that, like you just basically gave away your– not probably deepest, darkest secret, but this very personal thing that the way that I feel love is by knowing that I’m doing things the right way. So how are you undoing that? I mean, I have this whole list of questions for you, and that wasn’t on there. But like, I need to know, what does that look like? How are you recovering? How are you undoing that intrinsic part of you?

Sandra:           It’s so hard, and it’s really been a journey the past couple years, especially– I had severe postpartum depression after my daughter was born, and it’s been like a journey coming through that. A lot of it is self talk for me. I have this critic in my head that’s always telling me that I’m not doing things good enough. And so it’s talking back or talking over that voice, and saying, like, “Ot’s okay to be late. I am still a good person. If I’m late. It’s okay to have lost my temper with my kids. It’s okay.” I have to talk myself through that and tell myself it’s okay. Everything’s okay.

Brandy:           Yeah.

Sandra:           And then I have to learn to let go of things too. So I’m sure everyone really struggled with the pandemic, right? At the beginning of the pandemic, when we were first shut at home with our kids, I was super overwhelmed, super stressed out, and I was trying to hold on to everything I normally hold on to. We were eating a plant based diet, we were–

Brandy:           Screen time rules?!

Sandra:           Screen time was limited. We had all these things and that were very important to me, and to let go of them felt so hard that one day I was out I was out on a bike ride just trying to clear my head and was like thinking about, “Okay, I know that I need to let go of something because it’s causing me so much anxiety to try and hold on to everything.” And literally when I would start going through and thinking about the things that I was trying to be perfect at that I need to let go of, everything started to close up and I felt like I was gonna have a panic attack just that the idea of letting go of something, which should be a relief, right? {Laughter}

Brandy:           Right.

Sandra:           But the idea of like letting myself not do as well at something as I wanted to was very hard. And so for me, it’s just a constant self talk and a constant looking at, “Okay, I’m stressed right now, what can I let go of?” and then reminding myself that it’s okay to let go of things.

Brandy:           Wow. So do you see a therapist for that? Is that something that you just know to do? Do you read books on it? How did you teach yourself to do that?

Sandra :           Yeah, all of the above. I’ve been in therapy, here and there. But because of the cost, I don’t do it all the time. And reading– I love personality type models, so I’ve read all about the enneagram and of course, Myers Briggs, which is the one that I’m trained in and that I use in my work.

Brandy:           I would be interested to know, and I doubt there’s data on this, but people who have postpartum depression, if you were to do some sort of study that was like, what enneagram number that most shows up for, or Myers-Briggs– I was a birth worker for 10 years and whenever I’d have somebody come my way that was similar to myself, like a kind of type A, perfectionist kind of person, I would be like, “Oh.” I just knew that motherhood was gonna hit that person over the head. And it mostly came true because there are certain personality types that are just set up, like you’re talking about, all the things you have to let go of. And if that’s never been the way that we’ve been taught to be, or we’ve gotten love from, it can be overwhelming. So I would love if there was a study someday based on personality stuff, to see how those things correlate with postpartum depression and anxiety.

Sandra:           Yeah, I can’t speak for enneagram. But I know I have seen studies on Myers-Briggs and depression, not postpartum depression, specifically, but depression. And there’s a chart that shows which types are more more likely to find that they struggle from depression and all the introverted types were at the top, not that extroverted types can’t also experience depression, but you’re just more likely if you prefer introversion. And there were some other things– and definitely my type was towards the more depressed side, more likely to be depressed side.

Brandy:           Interesting. I’m curious to hear about your type, and so will you tell us– I don’t know, I’ve done a Myers-Briggs quiz a while back, and I don’t feel like I ever connected with what my label was or went further with it. But can you give us a quick take on the Myers-Briggs personality typing? Is that even possible?

Sandra:           Yeah. People generally have heard now about enneagram, because it’s becoming so popular. And so I’ll start with that, and then move to Myers-Briggs. That’s a good entry point, a model that you know, and then compare it. So the enneagram kind of measures the defense mechanism that we put into place as kids, or as very young babies, or maybe we were born with it – there seems to be conflicting opinions or viewpoints on that. And it’s kind of like we are putting this defense mechanism place to guard ourselves from the outside world. And Myers-Briggs is what’s underneath that. It’s how we naturally came into the world, and how we naturally want to approach things.

Brandy:           Okay, real fast. So with the enneagram, it sounds like there’s confusion with that about how we naturally were, or was it nurture versus nature sort of a thing? Whereas you’re saying Myers-Briggs is like, “No, this is how you came in. This is nature?”

Sandra:           Mm hmm.

Brandy:           Okay, got it.

Sandra:           So, with Myers-Briggs, it measures two things. Mainly, it measures how you take in information from the world, and how you make decisions. And there are four letters. So you may have heard of it before in the four letter context. So like, for example, my personality type is INFJ.

Brandy:           That’s the only one I’ve heard of, because I feel like there are so many introvert memes about that one. {Laughter}

Sandra:           Yes. INFJs love being INFJs. And we love talking about the fact that we’re INFJ’s. Anyway, it’s a whole it’s a whole community. There’s a lot of like, type pride out there.

Brandy:           Wow. So are there some people who aren’t really that but they’re like, “I really love this community. It’s very supportive. And so I’m not that but I’m going to join it,” like are there posers? Are there INFJ posers? {Laughter}

Sandra:           There’s a lot of people who mistakenly think they’re one type or another. And the reason for that is because a lot of those online quizzes or tests are just, well, it’s inherently flawed to have an assessment tell you what type you are, like, you really need to understand the model and do a lot of self-reflection. The quizzes are a great place to start, but you shouldn’t just take it at face value. So there’s definitely a lot of people thinking they’re one type when they’re not, which is okay. It’s a starting point.

Brandy:           Sure.

Sandra:           And, so the letters each stand for something. So like the first one is the easiest one to understand. Your first letter is either I or E, which stands for introversion or extroversion. And one common misunderstanding about the Myers-Briggs is saying that you are only introverted or you are only extroverted, which is not how it works. We, as humans are more dynamic than that, and we use all of the preferences, it’s just that we have a preference for one or the other. And that doesn’t mean you like one more than the other, it means that you’re naturally wired to head in that direction more often than the other.

Brandy:           Ah, okay.

Sandra:           And you tend to be more comfortable doing that, you tend to get more energy from doing that. Whereas when you’re using the other one, it’s more awkward. It’s more frustrating, it’s more tiring, and draining.

Brandy:           That makes sense.

Sandra:           I like to use the concept of handedness, so like if you’re right-handed or left-handed. So I’m right handed, and that doesn’t mean I can’t use my left hand. In fact, I have to use it all day long, you know, when you’re cooking or driving, you have to use both your hands. But if I had to write an essay, obviously I’m just going to automatically pick up with that right hand and write it that way. If I broke my right hand, and I had to use my left hand all day, I mean, how would that feel for you? If you broke your preferred hand and you had to use your other hand all day?

Brandy:           Yeah, that would suck. It wouldn’t be non-efficient. I would not like it.

Sandra:           Yeah, it would be tiring and frustrating, exhausting. You could do it though, right?

Brandy:           Yeah, for like two days. And then I would whine in bed.

Sandra:           Yeah, so it’s kind of the same thing with our preference pairs. Like I can introvert, I can extrovert. I’m extroverting with you right now. But–

Brandy:           {Laughter} We are currently extroverting.

Sandra:           Yes we are.

Brandy:           This is hilarious.

Sandra:           But if I had to do that all day, and I didn’t have a chance to retreat and go into myself as often as I want to, I would start to get really tired and frustrated.

Brandy:           Oh, yeah. Oh, yes.

Sandra:           And so my preference is for introversion. That’s where I fill up my energy. That’s where I’m most comfortable. But I can still come out and extrovert myself, and in fact, I enjoy it. But it just needs to have a limit on it.

Brandy:           I feel like if you’re an INFJ, when you get together, the kind of conversation is like, “We are extroverting right now.”

Sandra:           {Laughter} Yeah, that’s probably why I like Myers-Briggs so much is because I get to explicitly say what I’m doing.

Brandy:           Yes. Oh, my God, I love it. Okay, so we’ve got introvert/extrovert for the first letter.

Sandra:           Then the second letter pairing is an N or S. And the N stands for intuition, which I realize intuition does not actually start with an N, but we already used I, so now they use N. Then S stands for sensing. And this deals with how you take in information from the world. So those who prefer intuition tend to take in the big picture, they tend to take in the themes, the meanings, the ideas, whereas those who prefer sensing tend to take in the details. They tend to take in practical applications, and that sort of thing. So like, when you read through an article– like if I read through an article online that someone sent me, I retain, “What did that article mean? What is this? What is the implication on my life? What was the theory behind it?” And I never remember the details of it. Someone who prefers sensing is more likely to take away the details and the practical applications of it.

Brandy:           Yeah. I’m trying to think where I land on that. I feel like I’m both but I’m looking at your right hand, left hand analogy, and I’m thinking where am I?

Sandra:           Mhmm. And then the third letter pairing is thinking and feeling, which is the T or the F. And this, I really hate the labels for this, because it makes it sound like some people only think and some people only feel, which is preposterous. So what it really means is, this is how we how we approach decision making. And so it’s like all the little decisions you’re making throughout the day, how are you approaching it? So feelers tend to like to step into a decision emotionally, either considering their own values or desires, or people around them their desires and values and feelings. And then thinkers, they feel like that muddies up the waters to making a decision and it confuses them and makes the process of making that decision feel too complicated for them. And so they want to step out of the situation emotionally and just consider the objective logical points.

Brandy:           Wow– I’m having a lot of things happen inside right now. {Laughter} I feel like my thinking and feeling are at war all the time. Because when I really think about that, like I just said earlier, I love math, I love things that are very logical, very efficient. And also, I’m totally the feeling person as well. And I can just like hear a conversation in my head, trying to make a decision about something. Like for example, we’re going through a kitchen remodel, and if you ever want to lose your mind, do a kitchen remodel, because you have to pick so many kinds of pointless things. I don’t love picking out hardware for the cabinets and all that stuff. I will do it because it’s a means to an end, but this is where I find myself, and I said to the lady that’s helping us, I was like, “So I’m very practical, like, I want something that cleans well, I want something that’s durable. But then I also want something that’s beautiful.” And so I feel like there’s a constant war going on. And I’m kind of connecting the dots on why some of these decision making processes for me, are very hard. And I always just think it’s probably anxiety, which it probably is partially. But it’s also that if you’re kind of equal on these things, like almost ambidextrous– like if I’m ambidextrous on thinking and feeling, then I’m at war when the two things don’t meet. And my favorite thing ever, is when the two things meet. You give me something practical, efficient, durable, that’s also beautiful? Oh my god. When people ask, “What’s your style or fashion sense?” It’s basically give me something that washes well, that’s comfortable, that’s also cute and stylish, like that for me is the mecca of everything. So I’m sorry that this is turning into Brandy processes what kind of personality she is, but that just was like a big light bulb.

Sandra:           No. And that’s one of the best parts of doing the Myers-Briggs personality type is that self-reflection that you go through in the process to figure out what your type is. And I just want to touch on something you said about ambidextrous, cuz a lot of people ask this, “Well, can I just be 50/50?”

Brandy:           Yeah.

Sandra:           And the research shows that there is a preference in like 99.9% of people. And there is a preference one or the other, and it tends to be stronger than you think. But that doesn’t mean that you haven’t trained yourself really hard to try and even that out. So to exist in the world, especially as adults, if we have kids, we’re somewhere approaching middle age often, and so we’ve done a lot of work on ourselves to show up healthy in the world. And so we probably have done a lot of work on our other side, but trying to uncover our natural preferences can be really valuable. And so, a good example for the thinking/feeling that can come up is like when you’re trying to make a decision with your partner. One example I like to use is what your holiday plans are going to be. A feeler parent, someone who prefers feeling might have this plan that, “Okay, we’re going to drive to grandma and grandpa’s house for the holidays. And we haven’t seen Aunt Dodo–” and there’s actually an Aunt Dodo in my family, “–haven’t seen Aunt Dodo in eight months, she hasn’t seen the kids. So we have to drive and go see her on the way.” And the thinking parent might be like, “That’s so inefficient. It’s going to take us four hours more of driving to do that. And we’re all going to be tired and exhausted when we get there. I don’t think we should do that.” And the feeling parent is like, “We have to consider Aunt Dodo’s feelings.” And it’s really hard for them to make a decision that’s going to hurt someone else, or that’s going to go against what someone else needs and that piece of input is so on the forefront of the feeler’s mind that it’s hard to just exclude that and look at just what’s efficient, or what is objectively logical.

Brandy:           Okay, so this exact example is in my brain. Where you’re saying there’s a feeling parent and a thinking parent. This is like the two wolves inside you. These are mine, which is always I feel like I’m probably a feeler most, but I think it’s it feels pretty close – even though the data says it is not. This is always what’s going on in my head is, “Here’s what feels right, here’s what I want to do for other people, here’s what I want to do for me.” And then also the efficiency of it is incongruent with the feelings of it. And then it’s like a spiral, and that’s why sometimes decision making feels paralyzing. But again, you put me in a situation where it’s efficient to do that, and I get to check both boxes? Fuck yeah, sign me up for that! So yeah.

Sandra:           Yeah. And sometimes this can be because you grew up with parents or society telling you to do it one way, you might have grown up with it, you might now have a big confusion around it. Like say, you naturally grew up as a feeler wanting to consider values and desires. But you are constantly being told, “Stop being so emotional, stop being so sensitive.” And then you get into, say the school or the workplace, where everything is about logic and efficiency and that sort of thing, and now you have trained yourself that’s the good way to be — and as enneagram ones, we want to be the good way to be. And so I can tell you for myself, I would have considered myself a thinker for many years because I thought that was the good way to be. And so I always had this decision pull in my head of like, I have to make the decision the logical way, when really it feels so much better to make a decision that pleases other people and has to do with getting other people’s needs met.

Brandy:           That’s so interesting. Wow, there’s so many layers.

Sandra:           There are so many layers. And honest to me, it’s the fun part of figuring out your type – trying to pull back these layers and really see what’s going on in your brain.

Brandy:           Man, okay. And then what’s the last one? What is the J? Well you’re J, but what is the other one?

Sandra:           So the last letter pairing is J, or P, which stands for judging or perceiving. And again, with the lettering labels, they’re not great, they don’t actually mean what you think they mean. So this has to do with how you approach your outer world. And if you are someone who prefers judging, you tend to like to put your outer world in order through rules, structure, planning. And if you’re someone who prefers perceiving, you tend to prefer to take the world as it comes and fit in by being flexible and adaptable and spontaneous.

Brandy:           Nope. {Laughter} But it’s funny, because that’s the thing is, that’s what motherhood does – what parenthood does – is it makes you be the perceiving. But those of us who are the judging, yeah, yeah–

Sandra:           But there’s both though because the people who prefer perceiving really have to stretch to the judging side in order to manage all the conflicting schedules for the family too and get their kids to school on time and all this other stuff.

Brandy:           So it’s hard for everyone! {Laughter}

Sandra:           It is! I would actually say that on this letter pairing is where you have to do the most stretching, no matter which one you are, you have to do the most stretching to the other side in parenthood.

Brandy:           This is so cool. I’ve never heard it broken down like that. So the work that you do with people– you meet with families, right? And tell me if I’m right or wrong, and then you type them so that they can all know about each other. Is it usually a parent that’s coming to you like, I guess my question to you is, is it more important to know your kids personality type or your own? Or what’s the process around that?

Sandra:           Yeah, my ideal is that the whole family learns together because to understand your child’s type, it’s easier to understand it in context with your own. And so you see how the preference pairs show up for you. And then you have that perspective to be able to see, “Oh, I see how it shows up the same in my kid in this way, but different in this other way.” And so, that’s my ideal, but sometimes it’s just the children or just the parents, depending on what you’re looking for.

Brandy:           So what age for kids is the youngest that you can type them at?

Sandra:           This is a great question. So based on research, our personality preferences show up really, really early. Potentially, we’re born with them, though, that hasn’t been 100% proven, but at least it’s very early like when you’re a baby. But it’s hard, obviously, to tell what someone’s type is that early. When my children were just like crying and drinking milk out of my boob, I couldn’t tell what what type they were.

Brandy:           Right, there’s like literally no way, there would be no way to know. And I love the idea of thinking of people trying to type a baby.

Sandra:           Oh, I was. {Laughter}

Brandy:           How? How would you be like, “Is the baby judging versus perceiving?” This is great. This is like a sitcom. There needs to be a sitcom about you trying to type babies. Oh my god, can you please just give us like a little look into that?

Sandra:           I’ll tell you what, I’ll write a book about it someday and then you guys can all see how crazy I am.

Brandy:           Please do. Okay, but will you just give me a quick snapshot of what you were using as criteria to try to type a baby?

Sandra:           Well, I didn’t actually think I would be able to arrive at their type. But I was very curious. And so I was observing and thinking about it. And there are like, you can look back and see that babies who end up being feelers tend to be more smiley as babies. Babies who tend to be prefer extraversion, you can just see that they’re more comfortable going to different people. So you know, just like little things that you can’t certainly can’t when they’re babies be like, “Oh, I see the extroversion.” You can’t get there when they’re babies, but you can look back and see that, “Oh, yeah, it did kind of fit into this trend.”

Brandy:           Got it. Got it.

Sandra:           So with my own children I was able to tell by the time they were two. But that’s from someone who really understood the model very well as well as I knew my own children very well. So I would not try to help another family type their own two-year-olds because that’s too much. But I have worked with families– four and up tends to be what I do. Every once in a while I’ll do an older three. But if they’re younger than seven, actually generally if they’re younger than teenage, I’ll call it a best guess type, because we are guessing what their type is based on the observed behaviors. And it’s really important to me that we are not boxing in or labeling children and that they have a chance to do their own self-reflection and choose their own type itself. So before that age, I call it a best guess type. And you can definitely learn a lot from observing their behaviors or getting some input from them too if they’re seven or older with second grade reading level level or higher, I include them a process and we go through some exercises, and they kind of say, “No, I feel more this way,” or “I feel more this other way.” And then once their teenage age, and even 12, depending on the kids maturity level, and their interest in it, they own the process themselves, and they choose their own type.

Brandy:           I totally want to do this for my kids. I feel like my 14-year-old would just totally nail this. And then I feel like my seven-year-old would just be like, silly answering everything. But I totally want to try it.

Sandra:           Yeah, it’s funny. The first time I brought it up with my son who’s now eight, he was maybe five, maybe six, I can’t remember. But he actually picked everything that I you know about him. So he picked all his letters – he has INTJ preferences, and he picked all those. On the other hand, thinking back, I might have been skewing him in that direction, because I knew– {Laughter} like I was explaining introversion to him with the same actions that I see him doing, you know, so–

Brandy:           That’s funny that if you know this stuff really well, you can parent somebody towards something. gosh.

Sandra:           Yeah, and that’s definitely something I want to caution people to be careful of. This is not to create a limiting belief about your child, because you’ve identified that they prefer to use feeling. It doesn’t mean that your child has to always use that preference. Like we are all human and dynamic and capable of using both, and so I want to make sure that people are not creating limiting beliefs about their children. Like, when your kid’s doing badly and math, and then now they’ve created a limited belief that like, “I’m bad at math,” it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So we want to be careful not to do that, and look at Myers-Briggs instead as a growth tool. So like, “Oh, I understand now how my child naturally fits into the world.” Let’s take the introversion/extroversion example: both my children prefer introversion. And they naturally do better if they have time to process things before they have to come out and interact with the world. So there’s little tips that help with children who prefer introversion, like getting places early, so they have a chance to observe before they have to jump in. When you ask them questions, giving them lots of wait time to consider before they respond, that sort of thing. And if we can help them show up more in their most comfortable way, you are filling their bucket, and you are having them be more resourced, so that when they do need to stretch and be more extroverted, they have the energy to do so. And then they can more easily grow their extroverted side. So that’s kind of the message that I really try to instill in people is that no, you’re not saying your child can only introvert or your child can only use feeling or only sensing, what you’re saying is that that’s what fills their bucket, that’s what gives them the most energy, that’s what helps them be most resourced. And so you’re trying to– I use the 80/20 rule. You’re trying to let them exist in that space and work on that part of themselves about 80% of the time, and expect them to stretch about 20% of the time. And that will make sure that they’re the most rested and resourced and mentally healthy to be able to stretch in those other ways.

Brandy:           Gosh, that’s so compassionate. I’m just sitting here thinking about how, which is something I talk about quite often about how my parents’ generation were never thinking about, “What personality type is my child? Maybe I should go to a counselor who knows about these things because I would like to set up the most resourced and rested child.” Like it’s just so different. So I’m kind of like caught in this place where I love this stuff and trying to really set an environment for our kids where they are the most rested and resourced. I love those terms– and just understood and given some comfort so that all the things about life that are uncomfortable, they can have the bandwidth for. But then there’s also a part of me that’s like, only us moms today would fucking do this, like this is part of the problem. I can’t help but be like, is this part of the problem? Also, I love it and I’m going to do it, but is this this part of the problem? Should we be playing tennis and drinking Tab instead of typing our kids? I know there’s no answer to that, there’s no real answer to that. But I always feel like my mom would never do this. {Laughter}

Sandra:           Right. I totally feel you, and if we’re gonna compare children, which you’re not supposed to do, my son is entirely the more difficult child and just has been since birth. Like he came out of the womb fighting me, and has been fighting me ever since. And a lot of times, I’ll talk to my husband about it (and they are the same Myers Briggs type my son and my husband), and my husband was like, “I wasn’t this difficult. I know I was not this difficult,” and I was like, “I think that’s because your parents didn’t allow you the space to be difficult and so sometimes I’m like, well, maybe we should just like, yell yell yell you know? But then it’s like, well think about all the mental struggles that we’ve gone through because of that, and how we could save our children that. And I do believe that we can give our children the most chances for success and happiness and mental well-being, if we can allow them space to be human.

Brandy:           Yes, I’m so on board with that. And then I also think, is this part of the thing where people are like, “Kids these days, everything is catered towards them?” Is this why our kids in the future won’t be able to hold jobs? Because they’re like, “Well, I’m an introvert. So I need 80% introversion,” and their boss is like, “Fuck you, you’re a salesman, you go sell this crap.” But then I think about maybe kids who’ve been brought up in, I guess, for lack of a better term, a more humane, compassionate way, maybe the workplaces they create, and the environment they create is different and isn’t this inhumane way that we’ve been doing things. So it’s like, again, I have so many things fighting inside me, which is maybe we’re just coddling our kids by doing this, but also, maybe it gives them the tools to create a more humane environment for our all of our future.

Sandra:           Yeah. Yeah, I agree. I think that workplaces will change a lot through the generations. I also think that by creating more resourced children who are more mentally healthy, they can adapt to different work environments more easily because they are more resourced and more mentally healthy, and know themselves better.

Brandy:           How does this tie into resiliency? Because if part of what we’re saying is, they don’t have to be as resilient because instead of having to be resilient, they’re building resources. Which kind of seems– and maybe I’m wrong, but seems like the opposite of resiliency. So does this undermine their resiliency at all?

Sandra:           Oh no, I see it as the opposite.

Brandy:           Okay.

Sandra:           Because if you have more resources, you can be more resilient because you can bring your own strength to a difficult situation. Like I can tell you that six years ago, when I had my daughter, I was not in a very mentally healthy place because I was very one-sided in my personality. And I hadn’t been giving myself more of the things I need. Like, I was really in my enneagram. I was really in that perfectionism. And I wasn’t letting myself operate in my more natural manner, and more of like my natural Myers-Briggs type. So I was in a very unhealthy, mentally unhealthy state. And then when both my kids came along, and that was a hardship for me learning how to parent a toddler and a baby at the same time, I completely crashed.

Brandy:           Yeah.

Sandra:           And I wasn’t able to handle it. And now I can tell you having worked on finding self-care, like, how do I make sure I’m caring for myself, so that I am resourced? Then when the pandemic came along, I was scared because I knew what happens, right? I knew what happened when I had kids and when I was struggling. And I was afraid that I was going to go right back there. But because of all the work I had done, I was able to be more resilient, and make it through.

Brandy:           We’ve talked about that on a couple past episodes here recently about when the pandemic hit, all of us moms who had figured out ways to not be in that beginning, postpartum time (and all of those triggering feelings), that we were just thrust back into them like, “Wait, I thought I moved past this.” When our kids got to school – and I think it was something that maybe the dads wouldn’t necessarily recognize, I mean, maybe they did – but I know that it was like almost every friend I was talking to was like, “Oh my gosh, we just got out of this. I don’t know if I can go to this dark place again.”

Sandra:           Yeah, I went through that exact same thing. My kids literally just went back to school a week ago.

Brandy:           Oh my god.

Sandra:           After ten months! I’m like oh my god, I’m so relieved.

Brandy:           I’m hoping we’re there soon. Okay, so I want to ask you about some of the practical sides because this is all so interesting, and seems so helpful. Knowing these pieces– I feel like in those moments where you are clashing heads with your child, and then you have a sort of understanding about, “Okay, what would help them in this moment based on their typing?” I want to ask you about what you talked about, about how we’re motivated. So I remember a playground conversation back in the before times, I had with some moms and this one mom was saying that her son who was in middle school, never did his homework. And she was just at the end of a rope like nothing worked. He seemed motivated by nothing. They take something away, that didn’t matter. They reward him, it didn’t matter. And so we were talking about you’ve gotta find his currency and nobody knows what it is, but you know, finding that currency. And so I would imagine this is a situation where personality typing might be of help because of different types having different motivators. So can you give us some examples of how different types are motivated differently, and how we would know that with our kids?

Sandra:           Yeah, let me let me start with an example of my children and potty training. My kids are five and eight now, but you know, we went through the potty training with them at around, three-years-old or whatever. And my son who has INTJ preferences – and I’m going to focus in on the T and the J here – T and J, when they work together, they are motivated by outward things. So rewards work really great with them. I always call them bribes, but rewards work really great, charts, anything where they can outwardly measure how they’re doing, or they can work towards a future goal works really well with them. And there are a lot of T J’s in the world, and this tend to work for F J’s also, so for kids who prefer both feeling and judging. That judging really is motivated by these outward things. And there are more people who prefer judging in the world than who prefer perceiving, and so you’ll find a lot of things in our society are aimed towards the judging style. So our school system is like that, most of our workplaces are like that, the way that they tell you to parent is like that. And so for these kids, charts really work and rewards really work, and that’s a lot of what you’re told to do, and it works really well with my son because he has these preferences. My daughter, on the other hand, she has a preference for feeling and perceiving. And she just can’t hold a future reward in her head the same way my son can. So when I’m trying to get them to do things, we’ll will be like, “Okay, if you guys can–” we’ve had a hard time with drop off at school now that we’re going back to school, “…if you guys can, be brave, and–“

Brandy:           Tuck and roll! {Laughter}

Sandra:           Yeah, and what happens is, as soon as it’s time to start getting dressed and brush teeth for school, they’ll just be like, “I don’t wanna,” and then they’re melting on the floor. So, “If you guys can be brave and get through, do all the things you’re supposed to do without without crying or whining or like dragging on the floor, then we can have a treat after school to celebrate that you made it through.” And for my son, this works, he’s like, “Treat? Okay, I will work towards this future reward, I can do this.” And with my daughter, it’s just not there. It’s all about what’s happening in this moment, and making the moment more pleasant. So for her, and especially as someone who is feeling and perceiving, it’s all about making the current moment fun. She gets caught up in what’s happening right now. And so we have to make a game out of it, which is exhausting.

Brandy:           Oh my god, that’s exhausting.

Sandra:           That’s my first reaction too like oh really do I have to do this? But it works so much better for her. And we’ve been for the last 10 months homeschooling, they weren’t even doing distance learning, I was homeschooling because they just didn’t take well to the online classes. And so every morning, they both had trouble getting started with doing our homeschooling stuff. And for my son, it was, there’s either a consequence, like, if you don’t do your homeschool, you don’t get your tablet time later. Or you earn it, like you can do your homeschooling and then you get your tablet time. For my daughter that didn’t work. It was all about what’s in this moment? And so all I would have to do is make a game out of it, so I’d say, “Hey, let’s play puppy school today and you’re a little puppy and I’m the puppy teacher.” And she would go ruff and then hop up on the chair.

Brandy:           Oh my god. {Laughter} I want to just launch myself out of my window thinking about that. And my daughter is– she’s reward, but she would also love that shit so hard.

Sandra:           It wouldn’t work for my son. If I tell my son, “Let’s make a game out of it,” he’s like, no. He’s very much like, “No–“

Brandy:           “Show me the goods.”

Sandra:           Yeah. So it doesn’t work for him, but it works for her. And like bedtime, neither of them really want to do bedtime. She’ll be like, “I don’t want to go to bed.” and my husband does the first part of the bedtime routine with them and I do the second part. And he has this tradition that he races them to the bathroom. All he has to do is hop up and get in his race spot and be like, “Boy, I’m feeling fast today,” and she’s up off the couch and over there, and that doesn’t work for my son. He’s still there like, “You can’t get me out of my mood.”

Brandy:           So then what do you do for him? Is his day just littered with like treats, like, “After you brush your teeth, you get M&Ms, you get an ice cream cone?” {Laughter}

Sandra:           No, but there are things that he has to earn and in order to get his tablet time or whatever it is he wants, he has to have been able to handle the different things we throw at him, but it’s also understanding that for him, this goes with a different preference pair, he prefers N over S, intuition over sensing, and set those really practical daily care type things like getting ready for bed, brushing your teeth are much harder for people who have a preference for intuition than for people who have a preference for sensing. And so I try to have empathy that at the end of the day, when he’s least resourced and he’s most tired, it’s really hard for him to go through that bedtime routine. And so paring it down to only what is essential and not dragging it out to be too much, or maybe even though it feels like he’s older and should be doing everything on his own, agreeing to do some of it for him. But at the beginning of the day, when he does have more energy, he has to do more for himself and kind of working within that.

Brandy:           Yeah, again, I’m just like having these flashbacks to me when I was a kid, like not even on my parents radar, “How much bandwidth does she have right now?” And, you know, “She’s more sensing.” And so it was just like, I do my shit. I do all of it. It’s just funny. Okay, I want to go back to something when you said that you and your son– like he’s been resisting you since day one. What is the pairing that seems to have it that you guys resist each other? What specifically is that in both of you, letter-wise?

Sandra:           Yeah, there’s a few different things. The judging definitely is one of them because kids who prefer judging, they want to control their outer environment. And so if they don’t like something that’s happening, they’re going to try and exert control over that. Whereas my daughter who prefers perceiving, she’s more just like, “What, we’re doing this now? Sure, whatever.” And that can be easy in some ways. It can also be hard in other ways. And then when you pair the judging with the thinking, so people who prefer feeling and judging like myself, we have this desire to get other people’s needs met in our environment. And so I grew up wanting to please my parents. And it’s really hard for me to relate to the fact that my son does not give a shit about what I want.

Brandy:           Yeah, right. No, that makes sense.

Sandra:           And I mean, that’s not 100% true. There’s a little bit of that, but for thinking judgers, it doesn’t factor into their decision making, “Am I gonna make Mom or Dad happy?” Maybe it does, if they know there’s a consequence coming associated with it. But the desire to make a decision that’s going to please someone else is just not there as much.

Brandy:           That’s so interesting because I have a friend who is always like, “I can’t believe my kid says the shit he says to me.” He’s like, “I would have never said that to my parents.” And he’s just boggles his mind. So I feel like this is probably a situation where they are different in exactly what you’re talking about, where if you have a kid that you’re like, “The audacity of this kid! I towed the line with my parents. I would never say this stuff. Why does my kid feel like it’s okay?” maybe this is one of the things at play.

Sandra:           Yes. And then the other thing is that he prefers the N over the S. And especially when you pair N with J, there’s this natural confidence about knowing– I’m also someone who prefers and J, and we tend to be very insightful, we have these very clear insights or in our mind of how things should be, and how we see the future. And so there tends to just be this confidence, and so he’s eight years old, and he thinks he knows the world and the right way that things should be done. And so there’s this– stubbornness is the negative word for it, but this tenacity, this persistence, that will really serve him well in life. But it is really hard to parent.

Brandy:           There are so many of those traits that we know in the future, this is great, his is great that you do this, just stop right now because it’s exhausting. {Laughter}

Sandra:           Yeah.

Brandy:           So how do these different types handle distance learning or homeschooling or in-school differently? Because as we’re talking, I’m thinking about some of my friends and people whose kids have had a hard time distance learning, other people having an easier time, and I would imagine there’s some of this stuff that is part of that. What is your take on that?

Sandra:           Yeah, I think it definitely affects learning in general, just the way that we prefer to take in information from the world. But distance learning specifically, I know both of my children had a really hard time with distance learning. And I think part of that, and this is probably for all kids, but just changing how they were doing it is really difficult. But some kids do better with change than others, you’ll find that your kids who prefer sensing and judging so the S and the J really want to hold onto past ways of doing things. They really like their routine, and have a harder time with things changing. So for them, it might have been really difficult to switch to distance learning but then once they get in the groove of it, they get into that routine of everyday at the same time I turn on my computer and I do this and then it can just go and be very sustainable.

Brandy:           So those kids who like that are a lot of times the judging, right?

Sandra:           Yeah, I was gonna say sensing and judging combined really likes the routine of it.

Brandy:           Okay, got it, because I’m trying to think understand these and in my mind I’m thinking the last letter – the judging and perceiving to me kind of sounds like masculine and feminine. And I don’t know if you would agree with that or not, but the judging is sort of like the riverbanks, everything that holds everything up. And the perceiving is more like the river which can bend and be more flexible. So in my mind – the masculine feminine is something that I’ve worked with in the past – so that’s how it’s coming off to me. Does that seem like a fit to you for the judging/perceiving?

Sandra:           Yeah, I don’t think I’m familiar with the masculine/feminine in the way you are, but the river analogy that is a very perfect way to describe it. Yeah.

Brandy:           Okay, because it’s not male/female, it’s just the more like– our society is so masculine, where you show up on time, and there’s a certain framework, and you aren’t flowy. But then the other side, the feminine side is the side that’s more flowy, and they can’t really exist without each other. Without the river banks, the river can’t flow. But with the riverbanks, what’s the point if you don’t have the river, so it’s kind of like they work together. Anyway.

Sandra:           Yeah, that’s a great way to describe it. And I actually find that my kids, my perceiving child and my judging child, actually get along with each other better because of that difference. And my son provides the riverbanks and my daughter just is the river flowing with it.

Brandy:           That’s so cool. Okay, so I cut you off– because I was thinking about how those different personalities, like you said, once they have to be on distance learning, but it’s like a rigid thing that’s like every day, you come at this time, then they’re okay with it?

Sandra:           Yeah, exactly. Once they get used to it, because it’s all about the rhythm and routine and their past experiences, and they relate things to their past experiences. Even if you have a judging child, but they prefer intuition, ike my son, they want to understand the structure of things, and they feel better, and they want to plan for things and know what to expect. However, they get bored with the same old, same old. And so that’s why routine can be difficult for them. So why my son gets bogged down with bedtime routine. And I feel him, like at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is go through brushing my teeth and washing my face.

Brandy:           Oh, yeah.

Sandra:           And so they need to change things up every once in a while. And so he’ll get into something, and then he’ll get bored with it, and it starts to become actually physically tiring to have to do the same thing over again. And then we need to switch it up entirely and letting him control that can be really helpful. “How do you think we should do this? We still need to do learning every day, but can–” And you may not have the space for this in distance learning, but when I switched to homeschooling, I could say, “We still need to do learning today. But how do you think we should do it? Should we start a different time? Should we make this lesson into a game yada, yada?” and then when we changed it up, we could do that again for a little while and it would be more exciting again to him.

Brandy:           Your kids better erect a statue of you. {Laughter} It’s so beautiful and so thoughtful, and will our kids, and specifically your kids, will they understand that you pretended you were a puppy to make something more easy for your daughter and that you gave your son choices? Please play this for them if they’re ever shitty, ever ungrateful, because this is amazing. I just have to point that out.

Sandra:           Listen, and again with the recovering perfectionism, I’ve tried to give myself a space to not always do things right, but also, I think that I have because I’m very open with my kids about how challenging it can be to be a parent. My daughter doesn’t want to have kids. She’s five, and she’s like, “Nope, I don’t want kids. It’s too hard.” I’m like, “Oh, no, I complain too much!”

Brandy:           No, but the reality is that what if she does have kids, she’ll be like, “Okay, I know, this is work,” instead of just like, “You just have kids and they just like raise themselves.”

Sandra:           Yeah, I certainly had no idea how hard it was gonna be.

Brandy:           No, that’s because and I think partially, I mean, I don’t know what your family situation is, because I don’t think it was this hard for our parents’ generation or any, any earlier parents’ generation. I mean, obviously, everybody’s got their own stuff. But I just think the expectations that we put on now are so much and in fact, I was at my kids’ dentist the other day, and I was just chatting with her. She was really sweet. And I didn’t know she was pregnant. But we were just talking about something and I said, you know, my same old broken record, because I was talking to my mom about the fact that they didn’t have Google and there wasn’t the internet to tell you things. You couldn’t look things up, so you just chose something and you weren’t sure. It was just that’s what you did. And I said, “I just think it’s so different these days, because we have so many expectations on how to do this, right?” And she looked at me, she goes, “Thank you so much for saying that.” She said, “You know, I’m pregnant. I just got in my third trimester. All the decisions that I have to make, like, I don’t feel like my parents had to make a lot of these decisions.” And just for a second, to myself I was like, “Oh, yeah, the new people being initiated don’t maybe know.” I don’t know, maybe nobody’s calling it out for them – the high expectations and the getting it right that we have now. But I just thought that was kind of an interesting moment where I feel like everybody knows that we’re all crazy now as moms and go overboard and have high expectations. But apparently, the new generations aren’t being told that. So my goal on this earth is to tell them that so that they know. Starting with our kids.

Sandra:           Yeah, and there are so many different opinions of how to do the same thing out there. And everyone who you’ll talk to will say that their way is the right way to do it, and if you’re not doing it that way, you’re a bad parent, and it’s confusing and overwhelming, and all the things.

Brandy:           Yes, and even just thinking about giving birth, all the things that you have to decide these days, I mean, what you’re going to wear, are you going to wear a birthing gown, are you going to wear the hospital gown? I mean, it’s great to have some of those freedoms, but with all of those choices, I feel like we all end up less happy in some ways. I don’t know. I know that there’s a middle ground, but we have to make so many choices that we then beat ourselves up about them later if they didn’t feel like the right choice. So I don’t know. I definitely am so intrigued by the differences in the generations of parenting and the mental health of mothers and children based on that. Anyway, side tangent. There was something that you were saying that I wanted to ask you about. Oh, when we were talking about the handling of distance learning, so I feel like extroverts right now, during the pandemic, are just having such a hard time. Are you seeing that those are the kids and the adults that are having a harder time during the pandemic? Or is that even a factor?

Sandra:           Yeah, that’s definitely a factor. I think that people who prefer extraversion are having a hard time, especially if you’re E, F, and J. So we’ve we talked a lot about these letters separately, but how they work together is really what Myers-Briggs is all about. There’s a deeper level called the cognitive functions, and EFJ’s, they all lead with this function called extroverted feeling. Or there’s a nickname for it that Personality Hacker uses called harmony. And that function is all about connecting with other people. So there’s different types of extroversion. But people who have that E, F and J, they use a type of extroversion called extroverted feeling, which is about connecting with other people and getting other people’s needs met, that sort of thing. And there are introverts who use that too. So ISFJ’s and INFJ’s, which is myself, we also use that function. It’s not our dominant one, but it’s still there. And so I think, personally, I think that those four types ENFJ’s ESFJ’s, INFJ’s ESFJ’s are having the hardest time because of that inability to get out and connect with other people. But then, introverts are struggling being stuck in a house with people and not ever getting a quiet house alone. That’s what I’m struggling with.

Brandy:           Yes!

Sandra:           And then our sensing judgers, like we talked about being in routine, having their routine suddenly thrown off in a very different direction, that was very shocking and difficult. And then people who prefer judging, not being able to predict the future was really hard for them. And so I think we’re all struggling but maybe in little different ways, depending on our personality type.

Brandy:           Yeah, for the people who like to have more structure this time is hard, for the people who like to go with the flow, this time is hard, because there’s like neither. It’s like this nebulous neither.

Sandra:           Yeah.

Brandy:           Okay, so when you do a test with a family, walk us through how that goes, because I’m thinking I would love to do this with my family. What does it look like? Especially right now? Is that a Zoom call? Do you send questionnaires? How does that go?

Sandra:           So I do everything over Zoom so that I can work with you, no matter where in the world you are. And it starts with a free intro consult, which is like 20/30 minutes where you tell me about your family, about some of the difficulties that you have, and I tell you about how the process works. And then from there, we do the typing process, and I’ll do parents together. So if you are doing it with a parenting partner, or if you’re single parents, or sometimes people do it even with an ex who’s still involved in parenting, who sometimes wants to be involved in sometimes doesn’t. And I like to do them together because a lot of times your parenting partner will have an insight about you that you didn’t recognize in yourself. And so there can sometimes be aha moments like, “Oh, I didn’t even like realize that about myself.”

Brandy:           I bet there’s some moments of hardness too. {Laughter} Because I did that when I did my enneagram quiz. I did the one that was from the site, so it’s super long. And I had my good friend who’s very well-versed in this stuff do it with me, she was on Zoom while I was doing it, because I just get paralyzed – the thinking and feeling in me is at odds. And so there would be sometimes where I’d be like, “No, I don’t do that.” And she’s like, “You don’t, really?” and I was like, “Okay.” So it was great to have somebody loving, but I could not imagine doing this with an ex, even though I can see the benefit being huge.

Sandra:           Yeah, usually if they’re willing to do it together, it’s because they are working well together, co-parenting.

Brandy:           And then after you get everybody’s results, do you sit down knowing what the pairings are and go by each relationship? Or do you say like, “Okay, your son is this. And then for all these breakdowns of these four different areas, here are ways to parent them that are more cohesive with who they are?” How is the next part where you tell people what to do with that information? What does that look like?

Brandy:           True.

Sandra:           So all the examples I’ve seen of it have gone really well. And then for kids, I’ll do the kids together, usually two, unless they’re vastly different ages, but if they’re around the same age, I will have them if they’re seven and up and second grade reading level or higher, I go through some exercises with them. If they’re younger, I just talk with the parents about observed behaviors. And for the kids who are second grade reading level or higher, there is also an assessment called the MMTIC that I will use to and it’s much shorter than the one for adults and easier to go through.

Sandra:           So first, I make sure everyone understands their type, and what that means. And you understand the kids types and what that means. And then there’s some general information that is just specific to that kid’s type, so it’s not them as a person and everything you’ve told me about them, but literally just, here’s what a kid of this type is normally like, and here are some tips. And then I move to the last part, which is specifically your family and the issues you are having, and here’s how type can help inform those and help you guys move and work through them.

Brandy:           Awesome. And then do people come back and report things to you? What are some of the things people have said after they’ve typed, things that have gotten easier or changed?

Sandra:           Yeah, the biggest thing is the perspective shift. And understanding that when my child does this, I thought they were just being an asshole. Right? It’s like, I understand what’s happening in their brain now, and I know how to approach it without getting emotional about it. And so having these practical tips that you can go to can help take out the reaction that could have happened before. And now it’s like, “Oh, I know, when he says this, I need to do this or say this to him.” And it can fix the situation much more quickly than it would have before.

Brandy:           And then how about with parents working with each other once you type the parents? How have you seen that change either their marriage or their co-parenting, because I feel like that’s even a part of it. Like take away the kids part, I feel like even the how we work together would be huge for most couples.

Sandra:           Yeah, it is. It is huge. And again, it’s a perspective shift. Understanding that your partner isn’t just there to exist to annoy you.

Brandy:           So basically, when doing this, you learn that everybody around you isn’t an asshole! Because it’s like the same thing like, “Oh, when you do that, you’re not just being an asshole. It’s because you’re perceiving something.” {Laughter}

Sandra:           Yeah, and just giving couples the language to use to describe what’s going on is really big. And actually,on the podcast a while back, I had a couple– Mom has INFJ preferences like myself, and Dad has INFP preferences. And they came on and I did a three-part series with them where they talk through some of the things that go on in their marriage, and being able to put the words to it from a Myers-Briggs standpoint, was so helpful to them to be able to work through it in the moment and be like, “Oh, you know what, I’m going into my introverted feeling right now. And you’re using your extroverted feeling, and that’s causing this. So let’s go back, right.” And then also just being able to prevent those things from happening in the first place. Now that you understand how someone else takes in information better this way, or this way, or whatever.

Brandy:           Right, yeah, to be proactive about it. So where can people find you and your podcast and your services?

Sandra:           So you can start at familypersonalities.com. That’s where everything is. You can follow me on Instagram. I fell off for the last few months–

Brandy:           Same!

Sandra:           And have just been struggling with the home and the homeschooling. But my kids are back in school, and so I’m rededicating myself to social media, hopefully in the next week or two, I should start to have some stuff really rolling out. I like to post fun content about certain types of kids this look this way, and some look this way, and people have fun in the comments like, “Oh, this looks like my older kid, but not my younger kid.” And it’s fun and interactive. So Instagram is @familypersonalities. That’s where you can find me on Facebook too. Although to be honest, I don’t understand Facebook as well as Instagram. So there’s not as much that goes there. But if you’re a Facebook person on Instagram, you can find me there. And then my podcast is called Family Personalities, which is on any podcast platform.

Brandy:           Awesome. And your website, does it have quizzes and things? I feel like Joanne, a past guest, maybe told us about some of your quizzes? Is that right?

Sandra:           I don’t have quizzes. But I do have, as of the time we’re recording, I have one free guide, which is how to determine if your child has a preference for introversion or extroversion. And possibly by the time this airs, I may have the other three guides up for the other preference pairs.

Brandy:           Oh, cool.

Sandra:           And that’s familypersonalities.com/downloads.

Brandy:           Okay, awesome. Sandra, this has been so interesting. Thank you so much. I mean, I’m obviously going into flashback scenarios and realizing things about myself, so thank you for the conversation, and thank you for offering your wisdom here. And I definitely want to talk to you about doing something with my family. This is like when you were a teenager, and I think it was Glamour or Teen Magazine that had the questionnaires that were for personality types – this is that but an actually usable data/left-brained situation. So thank you for bringing this to me and my listeners.

Sandra:           Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I always love talking about it.

Brandy:           So much to think about here. Or feel. Or sense. Or perceive. Our poor kids, we’re all going to be looking at them like they’re specimens now, trying to figure them out.

Brandy:           A quick plug for my book (which as an indie author, I gotta do). If you’re enjoying this podcast, you will likely enjoy my book, Adult Conversation: A Novel. It’s a darkly-comedic story about a frazzled modern mother and her therapist who go on a Thelma-and-Louise-style road trip to Vegas, looking for pieces of themselves that motherhood and marriage swallowed up while they are also tested and tempted to make life-altering choices. Yes, there are strippers, there’s weed. It’s Vegas. One Amazon reviewer said, “Absolutely phenomenal! One of those books that you ignore everything going on in life to finish it, it leaves you wanting more. Never has there been a book that has such a clear portrayal of the real struggles of being a mom. We all lose a part of ourselves, sometimes a huge chunk once that little baby is put in your arms, but we cannot lose all of ourselves.” And this reviewer was not even friend or family (that I know of). Maybe she’s one of the 1000s of DNA relatives that I have now through 23andme though. As always, thanks for listening.

** As always, thank you to Scott Weigel and his band, Seahorse Moon, for providing me with that jaunty intro and outro music. You guy are awesome. Check ’em out on iTunes.