Each child is different. That we all know. There are however some timeless principles which we can employ when dealing with our children that come from the ancient wisdom of personality types. Here are some examples:
Sanguines, the creative, colourful, communicative type needs to have some artistic expression and a freedom to explore. Sanguine children don’t like to be contained and need space to sing, be loud and play. Instead of clashing with them head on distract them, divert them to something else, engaging their curiosity and playfulness. Sanguines are like their element, the wind, and will change direction frequently. Work with this natural tendency when engaging them. Let them make activities fun and ensure that they are challenged creatively.
A bored sanguine will take their frustrated creativity out on you and I promise you that no parent really wants that. Let them talk and explore. They need some structure and since they don’t like that at all, it has to be imposed or you will end up with a sanguine who feels displaced and really doesn’t know why. So when dealing with a sanguine child we have to give them lots of space and clear boundaries with definite penalties for violating them.
Cholerics, the wilful, goal oriented, brash type needs to be able to do things that feel like achievements. Where the sanguine is driven to explore the choleric is driven to achieve. They need competition, challenges and to feel that they are winners. You must earn, gain and keep a choleric child’s respect. They must know that you have clear boundaries and there are consequences for violating them. Cholerics and sanguines will really test those limits and produce creative arguments justifying them.
Reward the arguments and punish the transgression. Cholerics require space, you also must respect their boundaries, if you continually infringe them you will set yourself up for an undeclared war. You will find that once there are numerous challenges, victories and activities the choleric will keep doing what a choleric loves to do most, and that is winning.
Melancholics, the thinking, brooding, perfectionist type, needs space to think and work things out. They require lots of structure and regularity. Meals should be regular, bedtimes and structure are incredibly important. Within that they need space to think, organise things into categories and create order. They are inventive and love to solve problems, so encourage them to do so. They love intricacies and detail, so leave them to explore this. Reward them for completing things, for this type loves to procrastinate and they do it in the desire for perfection. Developing the habit of completing things will really help them with their procrastination throughout their lives. Give them tools to order things and marvel at it when they bring your attention to them.
With melancholics it is very important that they know that they are loved (more so than the other types). But respect their space, if you do so they tend to keep to your boundaries. This is an ordered thinking type and they even have incredible order even in the untidiness and disarray. When speaking to them, listen and give them space to come to the point as melancholics tend to take a long time to get to the point.
Phlegmatics, the listening, empathetic and nurturing type. This type requires a lot of space. They must have a creative expression and they are not goal oriented or naturally competitive. You have to spend time studying what makes them tick. They are laid back and incredibly intelligent. They will evade your attempts at control effortlessly, and even when they seem to submit they will often give you what you want so that they have the space to just be themselves.
However, you should never push a phlegmatic to this extreme as it makes them imbalanced. There must be activities that they must do, but encourage their nurturing and caring side as the motivation. Speak to them and understand what is important to them, it takes a while to tease things out of them and when they begin to speak be quiet and listen, for once they go back into their shell it may be almost impossible to get them back out until they are ready. Ensure that they are tidy from the beginning or you really will have trouble later on.
If you wish to gain a more profound understanding into the personality types, then do read my book Know Yourself which is available on Amazon.