How Far is the Acorn from the Tree? Family Influence and Personality Type


Some individuals adhere to their parents’ choices somewhat precisely when it comes to their own work, values, and lifestyle. Others prefer to forge their own way, paying little attention to their families’ influence. Obviously, many factors determine how closely individuals align their adult lives with their families’ values and interests. However, while it doesn’t tell the whole story, personality traits do seem to sway the degree to which people follow in the footsteps of their parents and siblings.

Some of our survey responses hint at how much Executives rely on their families for support, their values, and even their career paths – or how they don’t. As always, our surveys reveal tendencies and never absolutes. Some tendencies they reveal for Executives follow:

  • Executives were one of the types most likely to share their religious beliefs with their parents, with 58% stating they’re at least as religious as their parents. Similarly, 52% of Executives said their political views align closely with those of their parents.
  • Only 23% of Executives said their parents’ parenting style had a negative impact on their self-confidence. This is in stark contrast to many other personality types who were much more skeptical about parents’ influence on their self-confidence.
  • 92% of Executives said that parents in general should try to ensure that their children adopt their values, the second highest score among all personality types. While this doesn’t show that they necessarily pass down said values, it indicates a deep respect for the generational preservation of family morals and ethics.
  • Executives were among the least likely types to say their parenting style was more relaxed than that of their parents, with 52% agreeing.

Executives are likely one of the types most comfortable with the phrase: “Because it’s a family tradition...” They typically value family (biological or extended) and community, and they feel a loyalty to traditions. This is likely to be reflected in the influence their parents hold over them as adults.

An obvious caveat is that, while their families can be powerful support systems, it can be important not to lose individual Executives in those systems. People must have a sense of autonomy and identity. Safeguarding this can be difficult when a family is too tightly entangled, and when values or ideals are maintained merely for the sake of tradition or “not rocking the boat.”

The following are some ideas and exercises to help you as an Executive maintain your individual sense of identity:

  • Ultimately, you are responsible for the results in your life. Support and advice are good, but overreliance on it can be problematic. Look for signs of being overly dependent on family feedback.
  • Make a list of your values. How many of them are from your family? Are there any that no longer seem important? What is on your list only because you feel a family obligation to include it – not because you really embrace it?
  • List three things that you can proudly say are important to you but may not align with the opinions of family and friends.

What kind of influence does your family exert in your life as an adult? What’s good about it, and what might you do better without? How do you think it relates to you as an Executive? Let us know – we love hearing from you!

Until next time,

The 16Personalities Team


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