4 Personality Types of Teenagers & How to Connect with Each One for a Better Relationship

instruction manual
Learn to connect with your teen

If you have trouble understanding your teenager, you might not understand their personality type.

Teenagers are complex creatures. Just when you think you know them, they change. What was once a seemingly simple task of communicating with your child now seems nearly impossible.

But there is hope. 

If you focus on two of their core personality traits, you will better understand their current emotional state. Understanding their behavioral patterns will allow you to adapt your approach and message to match their needs.

The two traits you want to focus on are:

  • How assertive they are.
  • How emotional they are.

While there are very complex personality modeling tools, they are overly complicated for most of us. The Herofree Parent's framework allows you to position yourself and your message in a way your teen can understand.


 If the thought of analyzing your teen's personality is too much, you can use your teen's eye-rolls and sighs as a guide.


The Emotional Identity Compass

Like a compass determines your direction, the Emotional Identity Compass helps assess your teen's current heading.

Once you determine their emotional state, you will better understand their motivations, fears, and desires. You can use this information to communicate more effectively with your child and build a deeper relationship.

To better understand how the compass works, plot these two characteristics on a 2 x 2 grid and name the traits associated with these behaviors. By plotting this out, you will better understand how and why your child acts as they do.



*Human behavior is complex, and this simple grid might not accurately capture the nuances. The grid is a helpful starting point, but understanding your personality will help you know your teen's personality.

To understand how and why your teen thinks as they do, let’s assess their behavior:


Emotional Control

The left-hand column of the 2 × 2 grid measures emotion. This is entirely subjective, so you must make your best guess. To help you determine your teen's emotional control level, please answer the following questions:

How does your teenager handle emotionally intense situations with others, such as friends, classmates, or family members?

  • They may be low on the emotional intensity scale if your child remains calm and focused, effectively communicating their thoughts and feelings in these situations.
  • They may be high on the emotional intensity scale if your child tends to become overwhelmed and struggles to express themselves effectively during these situations.

How do they feel about discussing emotionally charged topics in group settings, such as meetings or group discussions?

  • They may be low on the emotional intensity scale if they feel confident and comfortable discussing emotional topics while maintaining composure.
  • They may be high on the emotional intensity scale if they often feel overwhelmed or struggle to maintain their composure when discussing emotional issues.



The bottom row of the 2 × 2 grid will be how assertive or direct they are.

Again, just like emotion, this is subjective.

How do they handle conflicts with others, such as friends, classmates, or family members?

  • If they tend to avoid conflicts or compromise to maintain peace, they may be low in assertiveness.
  • They may be high on the assertiveness scale if they approach conflicts head-on and express their needs and opinions clearly.

How do they feel about speaking up in group settings, such as meetings or group discussions?

  • If they often feel nervous or uncomfortable speaking up in front of others, they may be low on assertiveness.
  • They may be highly assertive if they feel confident and comfortable expressing their opinions and ideas in a group setting.


Now that you have a quick baseline test let’s plot their level of emotion and assertiveness.

If they are not emotional or direct, they are in Quadrant I.

If they are emotional but not direct, they are in Quadrant II.

If they are emotional and direct, they are in Quadrant III.

If they are not emotional but direct, they are in Quadrant IV.

You can recognize their strengths and weaknesses now that you have identified their quadrant(s).


 It's like being able to see a map of a city and understand where the major streets and landmarks are. You know the territory better and can use that knowledge to navigate it better.


The 4 Personality Types

Quadrant I - The Analytical Observer (Low Emotion + Low Assertiveness)



Observers are curious, independent, and above all else, analytical.

They're problem-solvers, always seeking to understand how things work. They value knowledge, insight, and statistics and want the world to follow a specific order. They ask a lot of questions, always seeking the truth. Sometimes the nature and number of questions can be considered an inquisition. Still, The Observer aims to absorb all information before giving an opinion.

Because of their analytical nature, Observers can be emotionally detached and aloof, preferring to observe rather than participate (which is why they score low on the directness scale).

The Observer leans more toward a fixed mindset than a growth mindset. While they understand the advantages of a growth mindset, they believe we all have limits. Therefore, they want to hold onto what they have rather than go out and do more.


Quadrant II - The Supportive Caretaker (High Emotion + Low Assertiveness)



Caretakers are loyal, caring, and above all else, supportive.

They always put others' needs before their own. They're also highly intuitive and empathetic, able to sense others' emotions and respond accordingly. They want the best for everyone but need help making decisions.

Caretakers can also be compassionate, seemingly carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. They are more fearful than daring, and their lack of decisiveness can frustrate highly assertive individuals.

Caretakers usually have a fixed mindset. Their fear and lack of assertiveness make it hard to have a growth mindset.


Quadrant III - The Enthusiastic Motivator (High Emotion + High Assertiveness)



The Motivator is passionate, energetic, spontaneous, and always ready to champion the cause.

They thrive on new experiences, challenges, and opportunities. They're natural optimists, always looking for the silver lining in every situation. They will get lost in conversation because they are so enthusiastic about what they are talking about or doing at the time.

However, The Motivator can also be impulsive and easily distracted because of their enthusiasm (the process is secondary to their outcome). Their emotions can sometimes get them in trouble, as can their assertiveness. They are well-loved for their big hearts, but often they can be too much for some personality types (those with low emotions are often turned off by the high emotions The Motivator shows). They don’t mean to harm, but they can’t help themselves.

People in this quadrant almost always have a growth mindset. How could they not? They think with enough interest and passion, anything is possible.


Quadrant IV - The Achieving Taskmaster (Low Emotion + High Assertiveness)



Taskmasters are ambitious, confident, and competitive and will do almost anything to see their vision through.

They're natural leaders, always striving to be the best and achieve their goals. They value recognition, success, and status. You almost always know who the Taskmaster is in the room because they tell you they are there. They are direct and demanding and value those who listen and follow their commands.

Their desire to achieve, however, can also be very frustrating since they only see life from their point of view. While focusing on facts and processes, they don’t care if their style offends you. They are on a mission to achieve, and anyone standing in the way is a nuisance. Taskmasters often intimidate the Caretakers. Taskmasters are decisive, often at odds with the Caretaker’s personality.

Taskmasters are almost always growth-minded individuals. They believe the world is theirs for the taking, and with the proper execution of their vision, anything is possible.


Who Are You Like? - Real-Life Examples

Personality types are not black and white; people can exhibit multiple traits. Even more challenging, people change when stressed. Depending on the situation, it is possible to categorize someone into multiple quadrants.

However, understanding the core characteristics of each type can help you recognize and appreciate personality diversity. Some real-life examples of personality types include:

Famous Analytical Observers (Low Emotion + Low Assertiveness)

  • Stephen Hawking - The renowned physicist and cosmologist who contributed significantly to our understanding of black holes and the universe's origins.
  • Jane Goodall - The primatologist and anthropologist who conducted groundbreaking research on chimpanzees and animal behavior.

Famous Supportive Caretakers (High Emotion + Low Assertiveness)

  • Mother Teresa - The Nobel Peace Prize winner and missionary is known for her selfless acts of charity and kindness.
  • Princess Diana - The late Princess of Wales is known for her humanitarian efforts, including the landmine ban campaign.

Famous Enthusiastic Motivators (High Emotion + High Assertiveness)

  • Oprah Winfrey - Oprah loves celebrations and is into many things. She has an infectious personality that fans love.
  • Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter) - The late Australian wildlife expert and conservationist was known for his infectious enthusiasm and passion for animals and nature.

Famous Achieving Taskmasters (Low Emotion + High Assertiveness)

  • Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple Inc., was a famous taskmaster known for his uncompromising leadership style.
  • Elon Musk - The billionaire entrepreneur and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is known for his ambitious goals and drive to revolutionize industries.

Now that you understand your teen’s personality type and have a few examples of what that looks like take a step back and assess your personality traits.


What Is Your Personality Type?

Understanding your personality type can help you build a strong relationship with your teenager.

Looking in the mirror, what do you notice? Do you notice traits you consider undesirable? Do you see similarities with your child or the opposite? No matter what quadrant you are in, your goal is to adapt your parenting style and message to best suit your child’s personality type.

Think of it as a counterbalance to their style. 

If you learn that you are both highly emotional and assertive, you will conflict with your teen when things get heated. Suppose you discover that neither of you is very emotional nor direct. In that case, you may frustrate each other because neither of you reacts or responds to anything done or said.

It is crucial to understand that personality types are not set in stone and can change over time. Stressful situations can change behavior, and people can develop various traits as they grow and mature. However, having a basic understanding of the four personality types can help you tailor your approach to better communicate with your child.


Effective Ways to Interact with Different Personality Types

To interact effectively with different personality types, consider the following tips:


Be Aware of Your Personality Type and How It Affects Your Behavior

If your child has some of the same traits, they will behave like you would (i.e., the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree). You know your triggers and hot buttons, so avoid finding and pushing those on your hormonal teen. Remember, be the counterbalance to their personality. You aim to guide them to the answer, not set them off.


Be Respectful of Their Personality Type and Avoid Stereotypes or Assumptions

DO NOT remind them of their personality type in the heat of battle (e.g., “You always get so emotional!” or “You never act on anything!” You are the adult, and they are the child. Herofree Parenting is a mentorship style. You give advice, you suggest, you teach, you show, you guide, you lead, and you support.

You can be judgy and petty behind closed doors, but not when your kids are around.


Communicate Clearly and Tailor Your Message to Your Teenager's Communication Style

Adapting your message can be one of the most challenging aspects of Herofree Parenting. It is very doable and works well but it requires patience and practice. Try minor issues first, non-stressful situations.

Be patient and evaluate. Any new skill takes time to master, and this is no different.


Show Appreciation, Recognition, and Empathy

Showing appreciation, recognition, and empathy can take you a long way to building a solid relationship with your teenager. Take the time to acknowledge their efforts and achievements, even small ones. Recognize their unique strengths and talents and encourage them to pursue their passions. Empathize with their struggles and challenges and offer support and guidance. By showing your teenager that you value and care for them, you can create a safe and nurturing environment for them to grow and thrive.

Remember, parenting is a journey, and every step counts.


Be Open-minded, Curious, and Willing to Learn from Your Child

If you are a Ted Lasso fan, you know it is better to be curious, not judgmental (the original quote is from Walt Whitman, but the Ted Lasso scene is great!).

 Teens want to be heard, so letting them tell their stories and share their perspectives can be eye-opening. Don’t always fix things. Our children are raised in the social media cauldron.

Herofree Parents know that sometimes their teen wants someone to listen, not offer advice.

Learning how to improve your relationship with your teen starts when you become a Herofree Parent.