A Look at Parenting Styles

from PeopleKeys, DISCInsights, 

and the Institute for Motivational Living  

Take our May survey and earn a coupon for 20% offyour next purchase on www.DISCInsights.com.

May’s DISC Insight:

Since Mother’s Day has recently passed, we want to talk about parenting for this month’s DISC Insight. Naturally, a parent wants their children to be happy, healthy, and safe, but since parenting comes with no clear set of rules, how do we set about accomplishing this? It has much to do with what we choose to incorporate from our own parents, our values systems, our support systems, and our situations in life. But also, our personality style and natural tendencies in communication.  To go one step further, our children are people too, so they also have personality styles, specific needs and fears, and natural tendencies in communication. By understanding our own styles and those of our children, we can increase communication, anticipate insecurities, and avoid some very predictable conflicts. Below is a very brief breakdown based on primary DISC styles.

The D-Style Parent (THE BOSS)

These parents are determined, hard working, competitive, and energetic. D-parents are often busy parents, surrounding themselves with tasks and activities.  They focus on problem solving and big picture solutions, focusing less on the emotions behind something or the reasons why…as long as the end result is positive. They do not respond well to dramatic or emotional displays.  The D-parent will strive to be a figure of authority and to be a good role-model for their children.  However, if their authority is challenged or they feel disrespected or taken advantage of, they will likely display strong tone and body language.

Food for Thought for D-Style Parents:

  • With a D-style child, there may be a struggle for power. Assert your authority early, but allow them to make decisions for themselves, as this still gives them some control over their own lives, which they crave.
  • With I, S, and C-style children, you will need to be careful of your tone and body language, as these styles will easily feel rejected or intimidated and may withdraw or avoid you as a result.


These parents are energetic, expressive, fun, and communicative.  They love to be the center of attention, and enjoy when others are smiling, interacting, and being creative. They are very focused on people.  The I-style likely struggles with organization, details, time management, and especially rejection. As they will want to be accepted by others, and their children, they will likely struggle with being the disciplinarian or one who has to say “no”. This style encourages being in touch with one’s emotions.  They are open, spontaneous, flexible, and giving.

Food for Thought for I-Style Parents:

  • You will need to set boundaries, even though it is uncomfortable for you.
  • D and C style children will be more task oriented than people oriented, but you crave people interaction. Talk about what they like, and the systems and tasks they enjoy, in order to open lines of communication.

The S-Style Parent (THE NURTURER)

These parents are stable, selfless, patient, and calm. They strive for peaceful relationships and environments, and will put others’ needs before their own in order to achieve this.  The S-style will avoid conflict with others, as it causes them intense stress, which they will likely internalize.  They create a strong sense of security and grounding for their children and are very committed and loyal to their families.  As they dislike change, they may also become stubborn or inflexible in their ways.

Food for Thought for the S-Style Parent:

  • You may give of yourself to the point that you no longer take time for your own wants and needs. Try to balance this.
  • With a D-style child you will have to make an effort to hold your ground. Although you will want to avoid conflict, they will respect you for setting boundaries.

The C-Style Parent (THE ORGANIZER)

These parents are organized, modest, task-oriented and logical. They will teach their children to find out how and why things are how they are, to gather information, and look at the details before deciding. They often will put systems in place for things to run smoothly, but may be inflexible when it comes to changing these systems. They are independent and creative people, who can see into the details and analyze a situation based on information. However, others may perceive them as withdrawn or unemotional and may have a difficult time getting close. They will avoid conflict and also seek out peaceful and stable environments.

Food for Thought for the C-Style Parent:

  • You gather information, look into the details, and analyze the world around you, which is full of mistakes and problems.  Try not to be too critical of others, when you notice these things.
  • You are reserved and modest. Be sure to assert yourself with D-style children and set boundaries. Try to open lines of communication with I and S style children, so you do not become distant to them.

Featured Products for Parenting:

Different Needs, Different Children

  • Through this book, you will gain a greater insight into parenting styles and the personality styles of your children.  With each style comes different needs, fears, and tendencies, and two styles interacting always come with their own challenges to overcome.

DISC – The Children’s Profile (paper profile)

  • Find out the primary personality style of your child, so you can gain insight into their needs and tendencies. (ages 8-12)

StudentKeys – DISC Personality Style Workbook (paper profile)

StudentKeys – Personality Style Report (online profile)

  • Find out the primary personality style of your teenager, so you can gain insight into their needs and tendencies (ages 13-18)

StudentKeys – Student Strengths Report (online profile)

  • Combine the StudentKeys Personality Style Report with the Cognitive and Perceptual Style surveys. Find out your student’s personality style, learning style, and thinking style all in one report.

eDISC – Relationship Report (online profile)

  • Find out your DISC Personality Style and gain insightful relationship tips, including how you likely show and want to receive love from others and common occurrences with relationships for your personality style.

May’s Survey Results:

What Parenting Style Are You (Or Would You Most Likely Be)?

18% – D (Do It or Die)
18% – I  (Do It and I’ll Buy You Ice Cream)
09% – S (Do It or You’ll Break Your Mother’s Heart)
54% – C (Do It or I’ll Have to Sit You Down and Explain All the Possible Consequences of Not Doing It)

Our Favorite Responses:

What Advice Would You Give to a D-Style Parent (a.k.a. The Boss)?

  • “Recognize that your child’s style is probably different than your own. Allow him/her to operate in that style. Give them freedom to fail.”  – CA
  • “Consider it a “task” to listen to your child and ask questions. Challenge yourself to read part of a parenting book or blog at least once a month. Give your child a get out of trouble card once a month. So if they do something that angers you, they can hand you the card and you have to lay off.” – JD
  • “Children will always remember how you left them feeling. And sometimes that can be categorized easily in to simply ‘good’ and ‘bad’.” – TZ
  • “You don’t have to win every argument.” – DB
  • “Learn to ask good questions instead of always offering solutions.” – WD
  • “Tone down, don’t put high expectation or pressure on your child!  ” – AC
  • “Allow time for your C and S children to think through and complete tasks and help them create a step by step list of ‘how to’.” – AF

What Advice Would You Give to a I-Style Parent (a.k.a. The Communicator)?

  • “Ask your child questions and practice just listening. For every question you don’t start talking give yourself a dollar to spend frivolously.” – JD
  • “Be firm” – KK
  • “Stop talking and listen” – JF
  • “Be willing to risk the pain of temporary rejection in order to instill healthy boundaries in your children. Listen more and talk less.” - WD
  • “Say what you mean and mean what you say….follow through with what you tell your children. Allow them to retell a story, share the spotlight.” – AF

What Advice Would You Give to a S-Style Parent (a.k.a. The Nurturer)?

  • “Make a list if things your child does that you know they shouldn’t get away with pick one and make them stick to it.” – JD
  • “Discover your child’s gifts. Discover in what ways they need to be challenged/what makes them grow?” – TZ
  • “Be willing to try new things and take a few risks in order to tie heart strings with your I and D children.” – WD
  • “Awesome, continue to be supportive.” – AC
  • “Read Boundaries With Kids, by Cloud and Townsend. Think of the future spouse when you are tempted to do everything for them.” - WD
  • “Think ahead and know some kids will act without thinking… step out of your comfort zone to help grow your kids…be spur of the moment sometimes.” – AF



What Advice Would You Give to a C-Style Parent (a.k.a. The Organizer)?

  • “Avoid being critical or correcting on things that really don’t make that much of a difference. Too much criticism can stifle the child’s self-esteem and potential.” – CA
  • “Schedule times to stop. In all the chores and activities, all the schoolwork and outings, make a point of scheduling blocks of “stopping” to just spend with your child. Brush her hair. Look at his trading cards. Nothing complicated.” – TZ
  • “Let go” – KK
  • “Try to find a positive to encourage your child’s growth before addressing a negative trait that’s hindering growth.” – WD
  • “Let your child express his own way of organization, they might not be as detailed as you” – AC
  • “Let your children have a space they can organize or not organize… Be spur of the moment sometimes.” – AF

“Get involved in a leadership role of a relationship organization with your child; i.e. Indian Princess or Scouts. Your standards are probably too high for them. Fake being an encourager until it become natural. Tell your child you love them unconditionally (and do it), what they are good at and that you are proud of them. All parents should do this, but especially a “C” as they can seem impossible to please and child grows up feeling they don’t measure up.” – WD


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