February 22, 2018

Does Your Child See the Forest or the Trees?

the Forest or the TreesBy Karen Harvey

This is the second of a 4-part look at your child’s personality.  Part 1, “Is Your Child a People Person,” can be seen here

 This week we’re looking at the second piece of your child’s personality – whether they’re more of a dreamer or a realist. This aspect determines how your child takes in information, which ultimately causes him to see the world in one of two very different ways.


Your child is either a Sensor (S) or an Intuitive (N), but these words are a little misleading. A Sensor is a child who lives in the here and now, and focuses on immediate sensory input. An Intuitive is more of a big picture person – the one who sees the proverbial “forest” – who is more interested in how things could be rather than how things are.


This can be one of the harder personality traits to determine, both in others and yourself, but here are some clues to look for:

– Does your child pay attention to, and remember, specific facts and details from experiences (S)? For example, if a child takes a walk and returns with vivid descriptions of everything she heard, smelled, saw and touched, she’s likely an S. If she was more lost in her thoughts, and somewhat oblivious to her surroundings, she’s likely an N.

- Does your child get easily bored with too much repetition in activities or routines (N) or does he find repetition and regular routines to be a comfort (S)?

- An S child loves having collections, objects and possessions, while an N child loves the meaning of each object (who gave it to her, where she found it, and the associated memories).

- For an S child, rules are meant to be followed, by him and by everyone else. Rules to an N child are more of a guideline or starting point, and he doesn’t mind changing them as needed.


If your child is a Sensor:

• Give her lots of specifics about activities. She’ll feel best if she knows exactly what to expect. Tell her where you’re taking her, who you’ll be meeting, how long you’ll be there. • Provide lots of opportunities for tactile play. Sand, water, finger paints and clay are all mediums this child will enjoy.

• If he asks you what time it is, tell him an exact time. An S doesn’t like knowing that it’s about 3:00; he wants to know that it’s 2:57.

• Recognize (especially if you’re more of an N) that change is hard on an S. An S likes things to stay the way they are, and is less interested in the future than in what’s happening right now.

• It can be a challenge to teach an S new things; she’ll learn best if you can compare a new concept or experience to something with which she’s already familiar.


If your child is an Intuitive:

• He’s always looking ahead; this can make him seem ungrateful for what he has, because he’s more focused on what’s next.

• Give her lots of opportunities for imaginative play – dress-up clothes, puppets, open-ended tasks. She likes to invent new games and enjoys variety in her play.

• He needs you to share his enthusiasm about his ideas, even if they aren’t at all practical. If you’re more of an S, this could be a challenge for you, but your child’s imagination and ideas will flourish if you can be supportive.

• This imaginative streak can also lead to your child fabricating elaborate stories; she isn’t necessarily trying to lie to you when she shares her fantasy world, she may just be completely engrossed in her own story.


As with each of these four traits, it can be challenging if you have a different bent than your child. A Sensor parent needs to be careful not to squelch the optimism of an “N” child, and an Intuitive parent needs to indulge the more practical needs of an “S” child. The more you understand how your children see the world, the easier it becomes to relate to each of them. Next up: Is your child ruled by logic or emotion?

Karen Harvey, CEC, is a life coach and mother of two who specializes in working with moms.  Visit her website at www.clarityandbalance.com



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