Personality Matters When You’re Building a Parenting Village

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on March 02, 2023

You know who to call when you need a pep talk. You know who to call when it’s time to go shoe shopping. You also know exactly what your mother is going to say when you call her about “that” issue.

The people who make up our personal village accumulated as we grew up, went to schools, moved, hired on for jobs, or traveled the globe. Some were friends for a season, others are friends for life. Some remain at acquaintance level, others are in our colleague circle, and a smaller percentage of our people are privy to our darkest secrets and wildest dreams.

Your tribe already has a nice variety of personalities in it, although you likely were unaware of this when they appeared in your world. They simply met a need wherever you were in your life journey at the time.

Becoming a parent means the next significant change in your world. Suddenly, you have someone who is absolutely not you, yet is tied to your world intimately and forever. Trust me when I say, there’s no such thing as too much support in this new world! 

One way to provide that is to actively add the personalities into the village that may be missing. Here’s why personality matters when it comes to parenting and how you can build the perfect village to support you. 

Personalities are a plus for parenting

Parenting is not for the faint of heart and no one does it in a vacuum. Parenting can feel individualistic and isolating. Families move, relatives can be out of touch, or you may have a small family, single child, or a child with particular needs that go beyond the norm.

There are some things that only a parent can give, like unconditional love and the security, structure, and protection of a stable family home.

Rather than replace the family, the social connections in your community form an emotional, physical, spiritual, social and mental support network around it. This is where a wide variety of personalities come into play.

Careful with the edit button

Some personalities get along better with you and others can create friction, especially if you aren’t aware of how different personalities interact. While it might be tempting to seek out others for your village that always support and agree with you, those who challenge, inspire and stretch you into better parenting can be equally – if not more – valuable.

This isn’t about excluding people from your village. Opposites can attract and we need people with different approaches! You will grow wiser with every year you parent, so listening to those with other points of view can challenge you to new ways of parenting.

Keep the door open. Deliberate diversity in your parenting village will give you the best odds of a well-rounded and healthy resource base for your family, but your needs are going to change constantly as your child grows. Building bridges instead of burning them leaves you multiple paths to pursue when you find yourself in a whole new world. Again.

Of course, block anyone toxic or dangerous. Everyone in your family village should be safe and this consideration comes before all else. Our village should align around the goal of promoting a family-friendly environment through a healthy, dependable and trustworthy group of people.

Who you gonna call?

Now that you’re parenting, it’s a good idea to give your community an update. Whether through sports or schools or mom groups or church, you can find a delightful mix of personalities. You may end up staying in touch with the people rather than the organization as time goes on.

This holistic approach to community-building promotes respect and cooperation, something your child will appreciate and learn to emulate. There will always be some personality in a group that feels like a poor fit, but learning to value the strengths in everyone you meet is a life skill. You can’t screen the entire preschool or soccer team before inviting them over for a party, nor should you.

Diversity is a strength in every group. So let’s take a quick scan over personalities that may be in our village to get an idea of what a healthy parenting community might include.

“Variety is the spice of life” - William Cowper

INFP: Adaptable and encouraging in the ups and downs of life, the Healer is strong in the areas of compassion and empathy. The INFP might be the school counselor, the social worker, or even your midwife.

INTJ: Motivating and innovative, the Mastermind can help you improve your systems. Can’t figure out how to get the family out the door and to school on time? The INTJ will have an idea for you.

INFJ: High standards plus a visionary outlook are the hallmark of a Counselor. You will find them in the family physician or the clergy in your church. The INFJ lifts you out of the parenting weeds and gives you hope for a better tomorrow.

INTP: Architects like to think outside the box, which is handy since our children never seem to fit into one. When you need a break, the INTP friend is ready to sit up all night and philosophize with you, glass of wine in hand.

ENFP: Parenting takes the word ‘tired’ to a whole new level. You need a Champion for a rousing pep talk. Encouraging and communicative, your hairdresser or massage therapist can be your village cheerleader.

ENTJ: You usually have the Commander on speed dial in your phone: the one who can handle emergencies, from a last-minute party plan to a twisted ankle. The ENTJs are your dentist, optometrist, scout leader, or den mothers.

ENTP: The problem-solving Visionary thinks on her feet and can have great answers for tough parenting quandaries. They can also recommend allergy-sensitive recipes, new playgrounds, and fresh adventures for your family.

ENFJ: The Teacher is likely to be in your world without even trying, and in multiple places. This idealist organizer wants to give, really seeing the individual and the cause. Not just in every version of the classroom, your marriage therapist might also be an emotionally supportive ENFJ.

ISFJ: Nurturing, empathetic and communicative, the Protector is here to keep your family safe and tries to meet everyone’s needs. The ISFJ masquerades as the bus driver, the nanny or the daycare worker.

ISFP: Giving, flexible and open to change, you need the Composer to help you go with the flow of parenting challenges. From the special education teacher to the emergency room physician to the florist, these cheerful ISFPs are understanding and want you to win.

ISTJ: The Inspector is here to protect and respect your time and space. Missed the carpool? Sick at home? They will keep your routines and schedules rolling. A duty-bound ISTJ has your back and can look like your next-door neighbor, car mechanic or housekeeper.

ISTP: A parent seems to be trouble-shooting on the regular. You need the practical and logical Craftsperson for fresh solutions and new perspectives. The ISTP will remind you to appreciate the now and that problems are separate from people.

ESFJ: When your toddler has just had the fifth tantrum in a single day, the Providers are good to call. Dedicated empaths are perceptive listeners and can sense the emotional environment and do something about it. Pediatricians and their nurses are obvious ESFJs, but they can be anyone who sincerely works well with people.

ESFP: Someone has to be the clown at your child’s birthday party. The Performer is ready to chaperone a field trip, go on a clothes shopping mission, or host the neighborhood barbecue. The ESFP contributes to a fun and magical childhood.

ESTJ: In every village, there must be one cold-blooded rule enforcer. If you need it done, get out of the Supervisor’s way because she will pull off that PTA event like nobody’s business. And everyone will look better for it. Hard working ESTJs are perceptive and practical leaders.

ESTP: When things hit the fan or you have a dumpster fire to put out, call the Dynamo. It may seem obvious that the police, firefighters and the military are somewhere in your village, but don’t overlook the ESTP as your child’s sports coach, the spontaneous girls’ weekend advocate, or simply the friend who helps you loosen up and not take everything so seriously.

While a parent’s job isn’t something you can delegate or abdicate, deliberate diversity in a village provides a community in which you and your child can flourish together. Let’s end with a moment of appreciation for all the people in our tribe who support us in the most important job in the world – parenting.

Jolie Tunnell

Jolie Tunnell is an author, freelance writer and blogger with a background in administration and education. Raising a Variety Pack of kids with her husband, she serves up hard-won wisdom with humor, compassion and insight. Jolie is an ISTJ and lives in San Diego, California where she writes historical mysteries. Visit her at

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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.

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