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Archive for November, 2015

A Light-Hearted Look at Parent Personalities–You Might Be a Sanguine Parent If…

color wheel

You may have figured out what your child is, and now you are left wondering… “What am I?”

Here’s a light-hearted look at what a Sanguine Parent might look like. Hang on, it can be quite a ride!

  • You already have your next fun outfit planned, and aren’t sure where you will wear it.
  • You find yourself continually buying party invites in anticipation for a future party.
  • You end your day still chasing the same idea that you started your day with, but either forgot or got distracted by 52 other things in between!
  • You constantly lose your purse, your keys, your car…what was that other thing you lost?
  • You think a to-do list is a better doodle pad than anything else.
  • You have no problem asking a complete stranger to help you find where you parked your car.
  • You can turn any task into something fun as long as you don’t have to do it alone.
  • You have inadvertently left your child somewhere and had to embarrassingly go back to find them.
  • You still find great joy in playing games from your child hood.
  • That panic button on your car key fob is not really for a panic situation. It’s simply a built in car locator that you put to good use.
  • You truly believe there’s no such thing as too much fun…only not enough fun or enough people to have fun!
  • You find yourself drawn to things that sparkle, shine, or catch attention…even if others aren’t!
  • You use exclamation points in groups and have to remind yourself to use a simple period.
  • You truly think you have a story to match or top just about any story told…and they are good stories!
  • You have no problem sharing your most embarrassing moments; after all, they are funny!! Why waste them?!?!?


If you read this list, laugh hysterically, and think you could add more that are even better…you are probably a Playful Sanguine! If you read this and thought, that’s just dumb! You are probably a Powerful Choleric! If you are still hung up on why someone would want to share their embarrassing moments or even use that panic button on purpose, you are probably a Proper Melancholic. And if you chuckled a little and felt tired by the energy that person in the list must have, you are probably a Peaceful Phlegmatic!

This is just a fun little list. For those interested, you might enjoy getting a copy of The You Zoo. There is a short parent personality assessment, as well as the child assessment in the book. Stay tuned for two more light-hearted entries on the other parent personalities!


A Light-hearted Look at Parent Personalities–You Might Be a Phlegmatic Parent If…


color wheel

With all this talk about personalities, it can leave you wondering… “What am I?” Well, that might be easy to figure out, and then again, it might be like trying to solve a mystery. There are four basic personality types. People are usually a combination of two personalities, but there are also times when people present as one strong personality type instead. The four personalities are the Playful Sanguine, Powerful Choleric, Proper Melancholic, and the Peaceful Phlegmatic. A personality assessment might help you discover what personality you are. But until then, have a little fun with this. If you read this list and think…  “Oh my gosh, that sounds just like me! In fact, I even…” You are probably a Playful Sanguine. If you read this list and feel utterly annoyed at the senseless and seemingly “lazy” ways, you are most likely the opposite of a Phlegmatic, a Powerful Choleric. If you feel the need to organize this pathetic soul, you just might be the Proper Melancholic. And if you calmly admit, “yep, that’s me…” You are most likely the Peaceful Phlegmatic. Kick back, enjoy, and laugh just a little…unless of course you are not phlegmatic. Then just hold tight and check back periodically to see if your personality gets a lighthearted list on your approach to life!

You just might be a Peaceful Phlegmatic if:

  • You flick that little piece of trash behind the couch, because the walk to the trash can feels too far away.
  • You slip your shoes on without untying them to avoid bending over.
  • You motivate yourself to get chores done by promising yourself a nap or couch time after each task.
  • You fix your hair today to last two days.
  • You only add condiments to your food if they are already on the counter and ready to be applied.
  • Wearing your pajamas all day is just another way to decrease your laundry load.
  • You’ve debated putting your kids to bed in the next day’s outfit to feel one step ahead of the game (and lessen your laundry road as well)!
  • You sleep in your make-up and wake up wearing yesterday’s face. 🙂
  • You see no problem eating on paper plates to avoid the extra load of dishes.
  • Your dresser drawers will barely open because you have them crammed full of unfolded items.
  • Your kids ask you where you are going because you get up and get dressed!
  • You orchestrate what needs to happen from your comfy recliner.
  • You seem to lose track of things, however your remote is usually not far away.
  • You have an overwhelming to-do list, so you decide to go take a nap.
  • You make a to-do list but pad it with items you already completed so you can feel better about it.
  • You don’t find it too difficult to play on the floor with the kids, after all, it gives you a break from the work that awaits.

No, you don’t have to do all these things to be a Peaceful Phlegmatic! This is just a fun look at the personality differences. What you find, is that certain personalities have no problem admitting to things that other personalities would cringe at! This is just meant to make you think. What do you do and why do you do it?! It might be worth considering!

color wheel

More Than Meets the Eye…A Project Through the Eyes of a Powerful Child


jaydens project

Today, I had a great example of the Powerful Child at work, actually play, but even their play can feel more like work and lack a little fun. When I know how my Powerful/Playful Child, Jayden, approaches his projects, and anticipate what works well for him, the process can be a lot more enjoyable for both of us! I know I usually have to hang on for the ride, as no project will be as easy as it sounds! Here’s how it unfolded. For those of you with a powerful/playful combination child this may sound familiar.

The day started with his plan to make a stocking for his new stuffed animal. He has been told more than once, by more than a couple of his siblings, that this stuffed animal is not real. He insists he is! No changing his mind. So, with his plan carefully laid out to me, and very clear in his own mind, he attempted to create this stocking. He insisted that he was going to paint a stocking with red paint and then cut out a rectangle that is white to put his name on. I asked if he’d rather have red construction paper, but no, he insisted he must paint it.

jaydens art projectSo we drew the stocking shape, and he cut it out. He proceeded to paint the stocking but was immediately angry when the paint was not dark enough. He threw his head down in frustration, as intensity erupted. He wanted to crumple up the paper and throw it away. “Wait a minute!” I said. Let me show you the difference. If you use water colors, it will look like this.” I showed him the color and explained that water color is not a bright color. I then showed him the construction paper and explained that it was darker in color. “Which of these is more like you imagined?” In this moment, he was gaining control and the project was once again on track. He stood up straight and then stated, “Well definitely the construction paper!”

It seemed to me that we could have saved ourselves a lot of emotion if he had just listened to my suggestion in the beginning. But you see, Powerful children need to arrive at the decision on their own. They learn by experience. They want to test and try things and then feel good about their decision. I could have actually predicted the situation would unfold as it did. How? Because it is a common occurrence. But I have learned that seeing the situation through allows him to try and learn different ways to problem solve. In this way, he helps make decisions along the way and then feels better about the outcome.

I also hope that after getting practice in problem solving that he will learn to think things through, figure out his options, and save himself from the meltdowns and emotional roller coaster.

I point out that he is a Powerful/Playful Child for a couple reasons. First, it introduces the combinations of personalities. Second of all, it helps explain how a Powerful Child would even stick with an art project! The playful part of him wanted to create. And I had to laugh, because he was decorating the stocking and asked, “Do you know what I’m doing? I’m making it stylish!” Those are the touches of a Playful Child!


When the Experiment Goes Crazy! If Emotional Needs Are Not Met…Part 2



Let’s take a moment to talk specifically about each personality. What might show when their emotional needs are not being met? What can you do about it?

The Playful Sanguine child needs affection, acceptance, approval, and attention. When these needs are not met, you might see some of the following behaviors:

  • Overly dramatic and fits
  • Talking over others to the point that they rudely and loudly interrupt others
  • Hanging on adults, not able to respect other’s boundaries
  • Excessive lying
  • Constant attempts to top others stories

If you notice these things in your Playful Sanguine child, what can you do?

  • Find appropriate ways to communicate with them. Look them in the eye and be responsive to what they share. Make an attempt to match their expression and enthusiasm.
  • Remind them of ways that they can appropriately let you know they have something to share and wait for your full attention.
  • Give plenty of hugs, both when they ask and before they ask. Even just small gestures of touch, such as touching their head when near, patting their back, or rubbing their shoulders as you pass make them feel noticed and cared about. Respond quickly to their attempts at hugging and touching.
  • Teach them to talk honestly and speak truth. Also appreciate their tall tales and imaginative stories or details. It is also helpful to train them to tell their listeners when they were just telling a story!

The Powerful Choleric child needs achievement, credit for his/her work, to have some control, and support for his/her ideas or plan. When these needs are not met, you might see some of the following behaviors:

  • Fits of anger
  • Lack of cooperation
  • Haughty or overly proud attitude
  • Bossy or overbearing
  • Arguing to try to be right

What can you do if you notice these behaviors in your Powerful Choleric child?

  • Stop and notice all they can do
  • Comment on what they are doing well and right, but make sure it is genuine or it will have the opposite effect
  • Give them appropriate choices so they can feel as though they have control in what is going
  • Ask them for their opinion or thoughts
  • Let them be in charge of something that matters


The Proper Melancholic child needs to have space to call their own, support from those in charge, separation from noise and clutter, and time to think through changes. When their needs are not being met, you might notice the following behaviors:

  • Excessive moodiness
  • Getting nit-picky and critical of others
  • Overly selfish–getting so deeply focused on themselves that they can’t see others around them
  • Unable to move ahead because they are stuck on perfectionism
  • Overwhelmed by being self-conscious


What can you do if you notice these behaviors in your own Proper Melancholic child?

  • Pause and hear their frustration
  • Don’t attempt to cheer them, because they want to feel your support and understanding. Cheering them makes them think that they don’t have a right to feel what they feel.
  • Give them time to slip away from a group if they need to regroup or refuel (even if it is his/her own birthday party!)
  • Assure them that you will try to do things fairly when they feel overwhelmed by an unjust situation
  • Let them have an area that is solely theirs. Even if it is only a book corner, so they can organize it and have a place for only them

The Peaceful Phlegmatic child needs to have time for relaxation and sleep, praise for who they are, lack of tension and stress, and acknowledgement of contributions. When their needs are not being met, you might notice the following behaviors:

  • Shutting down because of being overwhelmed
  • Physical ailments because of holding emotions in
  • Withdrawing and not communicating
  • Avoiding work and anything that takes energy
  • Immovable with a quiet will of iron

What can you do if you notice these behaviors in your own Peaceful Phlegmatic child?

  • Give them down time to refuel
  • Ask them for their ideas or thoughts, but don’t put them on the spot in front of others
  • Notice and thank them for what they do and contribute
  • Listen…this personality often feels as though they are not heard, are overlooked, and don’t matter. Stop and listen to them. Ask non-threatening questions, and then stop and listen again.
  • Slow down your pace and lighten up the schedule…just the thought of being too busy can immobilize a peaceful phlegmatic

These are just a few practical ideas you can use for each of the personalities. You would be surprised how you can de-escalate a behavior, simply by addressing the core need. If, for example you find yourself nearly sick by the haughty actions of a choleric, you will pause and give them some genuine praise. You may find yourself thinking, “That’s the last thing I’m going to do. It will only create a monster.” But when you stop and address the need, they don’t need to try so desperately to get the need met. The behavior de-escalates and you can feel the relationship strain diminish. Give it a try! You might be amazed.

When the Experiment Goes Crazy! If Emotional Needs Are Not Met…Part 1


Sometimes as a parent, you look around and think, “What happened here?” It may look or sound like there was an explosion of sorts. It’s in these moments that you can usually guess that someone’s not getting their emotional needs met!

We had one such moment in our house the other night. When I took a step back, a deep breath, and a minute to assess the situation, we were all spared from the drama that was unfolding in front of us. My Powerful Child was feeling a lack of control over the situation. My Proper Melancholic Child was feeling that things were not fair and that I was not understanding the concern he had with that. And My Playful Child was feeling the need to be center stage and could only secure that spot by being more noticed than the other two children that were erupting at the moment. Yes, it feel like utter chaos. And I must admit that in the moment I felt overwhelmed and frustrated, not to mention that it was unfolding in front of my mom and I was utterly mortified! My first response was to call them all three together and get the train back on the track. Within just a minute of that attempt, it was obviously not the right right approach. Things continued to escalate, rather than de-escalate!

So I decided to send them each to a different spot in the house and meet them there in their location to better address what they needed. In that way, I could individually hear them, care about them, and problem solve according to their needs. The child needing control was able to pull it together when I could give two choices of what he was able to do. That allowed him to have some control and get things back on track. The child who was hung up on fair and being understood was able to voice his perspective. I agreed with what was right and decided that in this situation there could be some grace and less discipline for his part in the situation. And my daughter that was needing to be the center of attention, once I got her to her room and she was getting my attention was able to quickly apologize, accept a hug, and agreed to her discipline.  Had we stayed in the kitchen trying to wade through all of this with a one size fits all approach, I can assure you it would have gotten messy!! Instead, after making my rounds, we were back at the table and laughing in 10 minutes! So worth the few minutes it took!

How do you know when your child’s emotional needs are not being met?

  • Increase in fits or anger
  • Appears to shut down
  • Negative attitudes flare
  • Begin to get argumentative
  • Increase in sibling rivalry
  • Flaring struggles of that personality
  • Acting out in haughty or aggressive fashion

The problem is, when the above things start happening, it can be our nature to pull back, get frustrated and withdraw from a situation or even a child because of the negative feelings that rise in us. When we feel bugged or annoyed by them, that is the first sign that something needs addressed. And the interesting thing is: they need the most when we feel the least like giving it. So stop when you feel that happen inside of you. Pause and think about the core emotional needs of your child. How can you hear what they are asking for, whether through their behavior or words. It may take some sorting! Those powerful children are power packed and very in tune with their anger. You may find yourself hurting because of some of the things they say. Pause, hold your tongue, and think. Then respond in a manner that addresses their need. Does that mean that they don’t get discipline for the disrespect or inappropriate manner in which they showed their anger. NO! That must happen too. But address the need, and they will respond to even the discipline in a whole new way.

This may sound a little complicated, but it’s not. We will break it down a little more in tomorrow’s post and talk about each personality. I will give some practical tools for you to put to good use.

It’s Like A Science Experiment… Learning Your Child’s Emotional Needs

glasses safe


One of the main reasons to learn about the personalities of our children is to have a better connection with them. Another reason to learn about their personality is to gain a deeper understanding of who they are and how to love them and train them according to what they need. When we understand what they really need, we can meet those needs and experience a deeper and more meaningful connection.

Just like each of the personalities has their own strengths and struggles, they each have their own emotional needs as well. These emotional needs are not bad. They are a natural and normal part of life and relationships.

Playful Sanguine children need a lot of attention. In fact, they would prefer to be the center of attention. These children have a great need for affection. They want hugs, to be held, to be comforted with your physical touch, whether it’s a pat on the head or a back rub. At times, they may even feel like a cat wrapped around your legs…trying to get as close as they possibly can. They want your approval, just as they are…despite the things that might not seem ideal to you. It is important for them to feel acceptance and feel like they are wanted and belong.

Powerful Choleric children need credit for what they do. They stay busy doing things and want others to notice and appreciate all they do. These kids value having control, but it goes even deeper than that. They need to have a sense of control. They need to feel the loyalty and support of those around them. Because they prefer staying busy and being in charge, they will need many opportunities to feel the sense of accomplishment.

Proper Melancholic children need others to show sensitivity for their feelings. They are very in tune with their feelings and may feel a variety of moods based on what is going on around them. They will need to feel like those around them offer understanding for where they are at and don’t try to cheer them. These children need some space to be alone and refuel. They also feel a great need for silence, room to have no other activity or noise.

Phlegmatic Children need lack of stress. They take on the stress that goes on around them and get easily exhausted. So it is necessary for them to have some peace and quiet. Because they wear out easily and are easily overwhelmed, they will need not just rest, but actual sleep to refuel and be ready to go. This personality oftentimes feels overlooked and forgotten, so they need to experience feelings of worth. They really need respect and to feel important for who they are, not what they do.

You may be able to identify where your child is quite easily. You may feel very tuned into what they need. If not, look over these descriptions and see what you child may need and not necessarily able to identify or articulate themselves. This is the best step in connecting with your child in a whole new way.

Tomorrow we will talk about what happens when these needs are not met.

What Matters More…The People or The Task?

children talking

This might be an interesting question to pose to a group of adults. Their answers might surprise you! You might think it doesn’t even occur to kids. The truth is, it does. They just wouldn’t know how to articulate that as well as the adults. If you were to watch a group of kids involved in an activity together, this is what you might notice.

  • Some kids will have a constant dialogue going to themselves or quietly in their heads but won’t necessarily share that with others.
  • Some kids will be talking the whole way through the activity sharing every thought and idea, whether good or bad.

And while those two things may relate more to the introversion or extroversion triat, there are other factors at play. Some kids will be:

  • worried about getting the task done on time
  • voicing their concern that the task is not being done right
  • wrapped up in the rules in which the task is to be done
  • concerned that the task could be done better or more efficiently
  • double checking and perfecting the task however they can

While other kids will be:

  • trying to get everyone involved and make them feel included
  • making sure everyone agrees on how it is done
  • listening to everyone’s ideas and thoughts
  • tuned in to how everyone is feeling during the task
  • trying to ensure that things go smoothly for everyone

Can you see the difference in the two lists. The first reflects those who are task focused. They think more about the task at hand than the people involved in carrying it out. The second list reflects those who are relationship focused. They worry more about the people involved, the feelings involved, and how everyone is feeling during the process, instead of the task itself.

personality chart

The personalities on the left side of the quadrant, Playful Sanguine and Peaceful Phlegmatic, are relationship focused. Those on the right side, Powerful Choleric and Proper Melancholic, are task focused. Trying to pinpoint this trait can help you figure out which side of the chart someone is on, if you are struggling to decide between two.

This is usually one of the more insightful things people discover about themselves and others. Many adults that learn about this are surprised to find that others don’t necessarily value the same thing they do. Likewise, in a relationship, this can make a big difference. And why does this matter with our kids. You may be trying desperately to connect relationally with your child. You may feel that they avoid you or are indifferent to you. What you might actually be experiencing is that your child is task focused. His need to be relational may take second seat to what is being done at the time. Or maybe you have a relational child and you tend to be task focused. You may be missing an important link for your child’s emotional needs if you busy yourself with too many tasks and don’t stop to connect the dots of what they need relationally. Don’t underestimate how important this trait may be to relate to your child in a meaningful way.

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