Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When parenting styles differ - are you an S or an N?

On my last MotherStyles post there was quite a bit of great information in the comments. And you all shared beautifully about your spouses so thank you for the great discussion.

Veronica then said that it seemed as if everyone was the opposite style to their spouses.

It probably is true that if the wife is an I, then most husbands are an E, and vice versa. I'm sure that's why you were attracted to him/ her???

Now, in the book, Janet Penley says that many times the core (for me, an ESTJ, that would be ST, the middle two letters) is the same as your spouse's. In my case, that's not true as D is INTJ. But we do have the TJ in common.

Basically I think that if two letters are similar there's enough common ground but you also need some differences to spice things up.

But who knows, right?

D and I were never supposed to have a relationship that worked, let alone thrived, according to astrology, and here we are, 15 years later.


What about if you're torn between two letters?

I don't believe you ever sit "on the fence". I think the essence of who you are might become muddied by the circumstances of life and that's when you become unclear whether you're an E or an I, etc.

I'm a "high" ESTJ which means there are no middling scores for me on any of the criteria - I am clear in my preferences and also a little extreme...

If I were sitting with you one-on-one we could really nail it if you were on the fence but a good way to start is to say "if there were absolutely NO expectations from anyone, and I was 100% honest with myself, how would I behave in this situation?"


Now onto today's letter - S vs N. Sensing vs Intuition

Sensing people are most comfortable with information they get from their senses while Intuitive people gather information through their intuition, or sixth sense.

Sensing people are usually very practical and detail-oriented while Intuitive people are more big picture thinkers, imaginative and not very practical.

The sensing mother is most comfortable taking care of her child's practical needs like food, baths, clothes, sleep, etc. Think PRACTICAL.

The intuitive mother will also take care of her child's needs but will find it mundane, routine, tedious, etc. and will probably do the bare minimum to get by. LOL

In the book there's a great example about..........wait for this..........baths!

Sensing mothers bath their kids to ......... get them clean :) while Intuitive mothers bath their kids so they can play and have fun!

Don't you love it?!

And also Sensing mothers are more apt to bath their kids daily while Intuitives do so once a week, when the child is dirty, or when their hair smells.

Isn't that funny?

Quick example from my house - when I bath them, they are scrubbed and are shiny and pink when done. When D baths them, they probably have more fun (judging from all the talking and giggles) but often their faces will still be dirty, at least by my expectations. LOL

Let's talk play time.

The Sensing mother gets the kids to play with real toys but the Intuitive mother encourages games of the imagination, make-believe, creativity, etc.

Again, in our house, D teaches the children how to roar like lions (!) and other such games. I hand them a toy.

Bottom line

Sensing is hands-on, detail-oriented, practical, real.
Intuitive is imaginative, all about possibilities, creativity, dreaming.

Janet Penley says the two different mothers even have different motives for reading the book - S types because they're looking for practical suggestions and N types because they simply like learning :)

So which are you? Is your husband the same again?

If you haven't yet taken the quiz, please do so. You won't regret it.

And definitely buy the book. I get no commission; I just honestly believe this is a fabulous book and I only have time and space to literally scratch the surface.

If you've done the official Myers Briggs test, use that one as your accurate style as they test the same traits over and over again (they have some fancy terms but it's to make sure you're not lying to yourself).

But if you haven't, the Motherstyles quiz is very accurate. Mine tested the same as my Myers Briggs (actually, it always does and I've had to do MBTI at probably every job, probably because I'm so extreme).

P.S. Don't forget about the giveaway


  1. Unlike the I vs E - I have no qualms on this one. I'm a TOTAL n. Nice explanation - thanks :)

  2. Oh I have to do these tests - will get the time., The hubby and I are so both I it's not even funny.

  3. LOL! When you were talking about baths I knew right away which one I am!! I am an "S". I tell the boys all the time "No, we aren't playing in the tub. Get in let me wash you and get out!!" I am not quite sure what my Husband is, but I would guess he is an "S" as well. Keep blogging about this topic! Very interesting!

  4. Jon and I are both ISTJ, so I think that blows your theory out of the water. hee hee. I don't think I could live with an extroverted person, it would exhaust me.

  5. Laura, interesting. How do you think that works for and against you?

  6. This is hilarious. I'm so totally and completely an N that it never occured to me that anyone would give a kid a bath for any reason except to play and have fun.

    Like, what is this "getting clean" stuff you're talking about?

  7. Yep, the descriptions here nailed it! I'm an S, and my kids get baths every day. It's just part of what we do at the end of the day, to get clean and snuggly and ready for bed! The toy thing got me too...Jeremy is so much better at playing without using toys, but I have to sit down and show them a toy, how it works, etc.

  8. I'm an N. I don't really know what Jesse is. He may be a little more S, but I'm not so sure. I should have him take the quiz so I can see for sure. The bath example is TOTALLY me. Josiah gets a bath when I know that he's totally dirty (not even close to every day or even a few times a week) or when I just want to give him a chance to play. I like to see him splash and stick his feet in the running faucet and play with all of the toys. In fact, I normally sit in the tub with him and play too. I still wash him before he gets out, and I think he's clean, but the amount of play time is way more than the clean time. The toy example isn't as clean-cut for me. I suppose that if I just want him to play by himself, I'll give him something, but it could be a spoon or a ball. But if I want to play with him, I'll get down on the floor and tickle him or make noises or throw him in the air. So, it's less about tangible objects or typical playthings and more about creative play. And I suppose since that's the way I play with him, that'd be my answer.

    I do think my percentages of S and N are not so polar. It seems like when I've taken the Myer-Briggs test before, I was slightly more N, but quite a bit S also... It's been so long since I've taken the test, though...

  9. M, this is just SO funny.
    You've really explained it well... I don't need the book :-)

    I only bath David so I can get in and soak with him. And I don't bother to wash him at all - I blame this on the harsh soap being bad for his eczema, but maybe it is the N in me.


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