Gretchen Rubin

Help! Have Ideas for a Four Tendencies Quiz for Kids?

Help! Have Ideas for a Four Tendencies Quiz for Kids?

I'm getting geared up for publication of my book The Four Tendencies -- planning the book tour, getting ready to launch the major pre-order bonus (stay tuned for that!), thinking about my book talk.

I can't wait for the book to go out into the world.

One question keeps coming up, over and over, and I want to sit down to figure out the answer before the book hits the shelves: people keep asking me to write a version of the Four Tendencies Quiz aimed at children -- so I'm going to try to draft one.

I need to adapt the existing Quiz so that it uses vocabulary that children understand as well as examples that resonate with them. How do I help determine if a child is an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel?

I could really use your suggestions and ideas! What questions should I ask? Related to dealing with school, parents, friends, coaches, classes, pets, anything that's part of a child's life.

I asked this question over on my Better app -- my free app that's all about the Four Tendencies -- and got such helpful, insightful responses, that I decided to ask here, too.

One difficulty is that an eight-year-old and an eighteen-year-old inhabit very different worlds. I'm not going to write multiple versions of the child test (at least not at this point), so one challenge is to try to be general enough to cover most ages.

For some children, their Tendency is very obvious at a very young age. For other children, it's much harder to determine. Partly, of course, this is because children aren't autonomous in the way that adults are. Also, their lives tend to include tremendous amounts of accountability. Nevertheless, in my experience, it's often possible to see a child's Tendency.

To spark your thoughts, here are the questions from the adult version:

1. Have you kept a New Year’s resolution where you weren’t accountable to anyone—a resolution like drinking more water or keeping a journal? 

  • Yes. I’m good at keeping New Year’s resolutions, even ones that no one knows about but me.
  • I’m good at keeping resolutions, but I make them whenever the time seems right. I wouldn’t wait for the New Year; January 1 is an arbitrary date.
  • I’ve had trouble with that kind of resolution, so I’m not inclined to make one. When I’m only helping myself, I often struggle.
  • No. I hate to bind myself in any way.

 

2. Which statement best describes your view about your commitments to yourself?

  • I make a commitment to myself only if I’m convinced that it really makes good sense to do it
  • If someone else is holding me accountable for my commitments, I’ll meet them—but if no one knows except me, I struggle.
  • I bind myself as little as possible.
  • I take my commitments to myself as seriously as my commitments to other people

 

3. At times, we feel frustrated by ourselves. Are you most likely to feel frustrated because…

  • My constant need for more information exhausts me.
  • As soon as I’m expected to do something, I don’t want to do it.
  • I can take time for other people, but I can’t take time for myself.
  • I can’t take a break from my usual habits, or violate the rules, even when I want to.

 

4. When you’ve formed a healthy habit in the past, what helped you stick to it?

  • I’m good at sticking to habits, even when no one else cares.
  • Doing a lot of research and customization about why and how I might keep that habit.
  • I could stick to a good habit only when I was answerable to someone else.
  • Usually, I don’t choose to bind myself in advance.

 

5. If people complain about your behavior, you’d be least surprised to hear them say…

  • You stick to your good habits, ones that matter only to you, even when it’s inconvenient for someone else.
  • You ask too many questions.
  • You’re good at taking the time when others ask you to do something, but you’re not good at taking time for yourself.
  • You only do what you want to do, when you want to do it.

 

6. Which description suits you best?

  • Puts others—clients, family, neighbors, co-workers—first
  • Disciplined—sometimes, even when it doesn’t make sense
  • Refuses to be bossed by others
  • Asks necessary questions

 

7. People get frustrated with me, because if they ask me to do something, I’m less likely to do it (even if they’re a boss or client).

  • Tend to agree
  • Neutral
  • Tend to disagree

 

8. I do what I think makes the most sense, according to my judgment, even if that means ignoring the rules or other people’s expectations.

  • Tend to agree
  • Neutral
  • Tend to disagree

 

9. Commitments to others should never be broken, but commitments to myself can be broken.

  • Tend to agree
  • Neutral
  • Tend to disagree

 

10. Sometimes I won't do something I want to do, because someone wants me to do it.

  • Tend to agree
  • Neutral
  • Tend to disagree

 

11. I’ve sometimes described myself as a people-pleaser.

  • Tend to agree
  • Neutral
  • Tend to disagree

 

12. I don’t mind breaking rules or violating convention--I often enjoy it.

  • Tend to agree
  • Neutral
  • Tend to disagree

 

13. I question the validity of the Four Tendencies framework.

  • Tend to agree
  • Neutral
  • Tend to disagree

But a new question for the kid's version doesn't need to inspired by this existing Quiz. It could be something completely different, as long as it shows the differences among the Four Tendencies.

I appreciate any thoughts or examples you might have!

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