Monday, 26 May 2014

What is Your Child's Personality type?

What is Your Child's Personality type?

I recently reminded of the personality types by a good friend and it really opened my eyes to discover what type my children are, why they behave the way they do and how I can motivate them as well. If you have more than one child you may have noticed that things that work with one of them don't work with the other one.  Even if you have raised them the same, they have different personalities.
There are 4 main personality types. All of us exhibit 1 of these or a combination of them. The 4 personalities or temperaments were originally written about by Hippocrates in ancient Greece and there has been a lot of study on them since.  There is a wealth of information, books and even online tests on the personalities if you want to study further.  This article will give you a brief breakdown of the personalities.  Knowing which personality your child is will greatly help you to understand why they behave the way they do, and what motivates them.  
Most of us have a dominant type and may also show signs of 1 or 2 of the other ones.  I have 4 children, and it turns out I have been blessed with each one being dominant in each personality type!  So here they are:

Sanguine (Influencing)
Element: Air
Season: Spring
Color: Yellow

Sanguine children are very social.  They are usually happy, light-hearted and bring joy and entertainment wherever they go.  They love being the center of attention, showing off and they are the life of the party. They are imaginative, creative, free spirits.  They love being around other people, are very social, animated and charismatic. They are very spontaneous and easily distracted. They'll often flit around like a butterfly from one activity to another leaving a big mess in their wake!  They don't like being tied down and hate being alone or ignored. They crave and sometimes demand attention and love showing off.
When they grow up they are good at things that involve leading, motivating others like sales, entertainment, or anything that involves being around people.

My little princess, Siena!
My 5 yr old sanguine daughter, Siena, is the light of my life! She is a delight to be around.  Being my fourth baby, when I was pregnant with her I was dreading having yet another unplanned baby with all the exhaustion they bring. But she was the most easy, joyful baby, and I'm so glad I had her and couldn't imagine life without her! She adores playing with her daddy (also a sanguine). She does get tiring sometimes as she demands a lot of attention, but I have figured out how to deal with this...

How to motivate a Sanguine:
Sanguines love anything fun and crave attention.  So make it fun and give them plenty of attention when they are doing the right thing. Get really excited for them doing things right, cheer them on.  Make chores into a game.  If you are too busy to give them attention right then, you could make a deal with them like if they do (whatever it is you need them to do), then you will play with them after,  or have one of their friends over to play. Reward them with a song and dance and hi-5's! They don't like being alone so be there for them when they need help and help them with gaining friendships and organise play-dates for them so it's not all on you. It's also important to help them with being ok on their own so they are not so dependent.  You can do that by praising them for playing happily by themselves. One way my Siena copes when playing on her own is by playing with her imaginary friends!

Choleric (Dominating)
Element: Fire
Season: Summer
Color: Red

A choleric child is very independent and strong-willed.  They are often seen as difficult because they will fight back if they don't agree with something. They have a strong sense of justice and will speak up about things they believe to be right or wrong. They may be bossy know-it-alls or competitive with other children.
Their strengths are being responsible, trustworthy and being a good leader.  If they agree with what you are telling them to do, you can absolutely rely on them to do it, every time, often without being asked.  If they are forced to things they don't want to do without explanation, they will either fight back or do it very grudgingly.
They can grow up to be great leaders.  They can direct and manage people and projects well with their ability to prioritise, delegate and get things done. They are hard workers.

My beautiful daughter, Aaliyah
My 9 yr old daughter, Aaliyah, is very reliable.  She's reasonable when I sit down and explain things to her, but she is the only one of my children that will sometimes refuse to do what I tell her.  "Because I said so" does not work with her! This sometimes frustrates me, but it's a good challenge for me as she keeps me on my toes.  I have to take the time to communicate with my children properly and she reminds me of that. She is also the most reliable of my children to take care of her responsibilities and the most thoughtful.  She is the one that makes me breakfast in bed on Mothers day, because she believes it's the right thing to do.

How to motivate a Choleric:
Authoritative parenting doesn't go down well with this child. They are well aware of their right to have free will and will fight for it.  Telling them why they must do something goes a long way.  If they agree with you its no problem. A good strategy is to allow them to make choices within your rules.  For example: Instead of saying "put your jumper on now", you could say "you can choose your red jumper or your blue jumper."  This gives them a sense of control, while still getting them to do what you want.
They also thrive on honor.  Give them credit for what they do right.  They love it when you are proud of them and let them know.  They love being "in charge", so make them the queen/king of something, like keeping their room tidy and commend them when they do.  You could even give them a badge or star or trophy of some kind. Always let them know how proud you are of them for the things they do right.
It is important to teach your choleric child moral values like treating other people with kindness and respect, and things like agreeing to disagree sometimes and conflict resolution.  These kids have powerful personalities.  It's up to us to guide them in directing their power in a good way.

Phlegmatic (Steadiness)
Element: Water
Season: Winter
Color: Gray

Phlegmatic children are very content, easy going and people pleasers.   They are a pleasure to be around. They may be shy and sensitive and may prefer to stay on the sidelines observing rather then being in the action.  They are easy going and can be push-overs.They thrive on peace, acceptance, belonging and feeling appreciated and valued.  They don't fight with other kids unless they are pushed too far.  They are stubborn sometimes and will fight to defend the things they value most.  They don't like being pushed around but will do things they don't want to, to keep the peace.
Kapa, my sweet phlegmatic boy!
They grow up to be good at anything really that doesn't clash with their peace and calm.  They may be unmotivated however which some may see as laziness, so encourage them to do the things they love and build up their confidence.
My 7 yr old son, Kapa, is phlegmatic and he is really good with things like sport and art because he's really patient and careful.  He will give things a good try where my other children give up too quickly. I once showed my kids how to build a house out of playing cards. My other 3 kids gave up after 5 minutes. Kapa built a whole house, it took him an hour! Kapa is best friends with Siena (my sanguine girl) because they both have easy-going natures. He is a kind, caring, sweet boy and is always happy to help out others.

How to motivate a Phlegmatic:
They are natural people pleasers so just need to be told with respect what you would like them to do and they are usually happy to do it. The only time they wont is if they are tired or they are being stubborn for some reason.  You can get around the stubbornness by having a respectful conversation with them about why they don't want to do it and telling them why they should do it, once they understand they are usually happy to do it.  It is important to nurture this child's confidence as they may end up victims of abuse later in life due to their submissive nature.  It is also important to nurture the things they love doing and encourage them because they could lose motivation or confidence from trying to please others too much or taking the easy path.

Melancholy (Perfectionist)
Element: Earth
Season: Autumn
Color: Blue

The Melancholy child is thoughtful, creative, sensitive, emotional and organised.  They can be a fussy perfectionist and get upset when things aren't perfect.  They are indecisive and prefer to carefully plan out things than jumping in. Their attention to detail makes them good at anything that requires careful attention, creative things and logical things.  They thrive on a routine because they love to be organised, and like to know what is going to happen next.
They have potential to grow up to be inventors or highly skilled professionals or artists in whatever they are interested in because they have creativity, perseverance and high attention to details.
My 11 yr old son, Arana, is a perfect melancholy.  He loves science, experiments, and technology.  He loves pulling apart electronic things to fix them and helps me with computer stuff that I cant figure out.  He's really fussy and goes nuts when my other kids go near his stuff in case they mess it up! He's quite emotional and clashes with my choleric daughter, Aaliyah. His mood swings go from being very intolerant to very sweet and loving.  He is the one I can have really intelligent conversations with which I really cherish (being a melancholy myself). He asks all the questions like: How does everything work? and Why is the sky blue? He is curious about everything!

How to motivate a Melancholy:
They get upset when plans are changed and do better by giving them a routine and letting them know in advance what is happening so they know what to expect.  Allow them space and quiet time when they need it as too much stimulation is overwhelming. They thrive on love, kindness, support, belonging, acceptance and nurturing of their talents and gifts.
Motivate them by finding out what they want the most (eg. for my son it's time on the playstation) and allowing them to have it after they have done their chores or behaved well.  Help them manage their emotions with coping strategies and acceptable ways of calming themselves.  For example when they are angry, instead of breaking things, they could jump up and down or yell into their pillow or have a cry.  Crying helps them let out their stress in a healthy way. Encourage them to pursue their passions, whatever they are, they could be very successful. Build up their confidence. When they get older they may need help to prioritise, manage and monetise their gifts, as they can get lost in their passion and lose direction.

Here is a You tube video Arana made of an easy way to put on a tie (he came up with this himself!):

Please comment below, what kind of personality/personalities are your child? Remember they may be dominant in one or they may be a blend like choleric/sanguine or sanguine/phlegmatic etc and their personalities may also change over time. What do you like/dislike about their personality and how do you manage them?

Further Resources:
Myers Briggs personality types:
Nurse Rona's Radio Show on temperament: 
Nurse Rona's Article on temperament: 

 Nurse Rona's wonderful book I am currently reading with more info on the temperaments and also really good down to earth info on managing your anger. :)

 I haven't read this one yet, but many people I know have recommended it on raising a spirited child. :)

 The Davinci Method is a good one to read if your child has ADHD. This book made me think. ADHD is not a bad thing, just a different way of thinking. :)

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