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Posts tagged ‘children’s personalities’

Friendship–Fun and Folly

colorful kids

Watching our children make friends can be an interesting process. From the time they are young, we can see traits emerge in them that make those friendships form or last. Granted, many children go through the same stages of development and learning to play alongside and play interactively with other children, but there are other things that we can watch unfold that are more personality related.

So how do the four personality types look when it comes to friendships? Let’s take a look!

The Playful Sanguine child will make friends easily, and will have lots of friends. They approach strangers and talk easily. It is easy for them to join in with a group and gravitate toward those they want to make friends with. They are not alone long in a new situation, as they open up easily and find someone they can talk and share things with. They are not very selective and are able to have fun with just about anyone that’s willing.

The Powerful Choleric child will be a leader in a group. So there will be those who follow them and interact with them as they lead the way. Those who don’t mind being told what to do, and when, will get along well with this child. For those that like to be in charge, there may be a little battle for the role. Powerful Choleric children don’t feel the necessity to make friends or keep friends.

The Proper Melancholic child will make friends cautiously. They will be very selective about the people that they make friends with. They will favor those who follow the rules and do what is right. Loyalty is a trait they take seriously. They would rather have one or two very quality friends than lots of superficial friends. It will take this child a great deal of trust to open up and share even with their friend.

The Peaceful Phlegmatic child will make friends easily. Encouraging others or trying to make others feel included usually wins a friend or two. It may be hard for them to initiate friendships or strike up conversation with strangers, but if the situation calls for that, they will usually come through. Their peace making trait will keep things calm and comfortable for everyone.

These are the characteristics of the personalities as they happen naturally. But knowing the personalities can also help us encourage our children in ways that might be more healthy and cause them to grow. So how can we help our child stretch and grow?

Playful Sanguine:

  • Teach them to be careful of strangers to not get in a bad situation
  • Help them learn the importance of being selective

Powerful Choleric:

  • Teach them to be considerate of others and not be bossy
  • Help them learn that others can be easily hurt by strong emotion or careless words

Proper Melancholic:

  • Teach them to be willing to take a risk with making friends
  • Help them learn that sharing things about themselves will help others connect with them

Peaceful Phlegmatic:

  • Teach them that sometimes they have to be willing to initiate and not just be a follower
  • Help them learn that it is not their job to work out all the problems other friends have


It can be fun to watch their natural tendencies emerge. And watching them grow and learn about what makes a friendship better can have both joys and challenges. When we take time to help them grow and learn about these traits, we can help them find good friends, enjoy good friends, and be good friends. And that is a trait that can benefit them for life!


What is The You Zoo?

personality chart2

You may be new to all this talk about the personalities. Or maybe you are quite experienced with what the study of personalities is all about. Either way, I’d like to share with you a great resource for parents and families as they learn to put the knowledge of personalities to good use.

I learned about the personalities back in junior high. I found it fascinating, since it helped me understand myself in a whole new way. When I started dating, it was interesting to see personalities play out in relationships. Then of course, as a mother, I was glad to have the backdrop of personalities in order to understand the things I would encounter in raising my kids. This desire for relating better and understanding others at a whole different level, fueled by my passion to help and educate others stirred me to start designing a practical parenting tool. I wanted other parents to be able to have a framework of their child and an effective way to relate and love them according to their unique traits and needs.

A colleague of mine, and co-author of this book, worked with me to bring this idea to life. The You Zoo is both a children’s personality assessment and a parenting resource. The children’s assessment is a children’s story that follows four monkeys through a day in their life at the zoo. Each monkey is a different personality.

  • Sunny is the Playful Sanguine personality. This personality is the noise maker.
  • Champ is the Powerful Choleric personality. This personality is the plan maker.
  • Max is the Proper Melancholic personality. This personality is the rule maker.
  • Pal is the Peaceful Phlegmatic. This personality is the peace maker.

The monkeys in the story are all different, and so are their actions and choices. When reading the story, children are asked to decide which monkey they are most like. Through child-adult interaction, the assessment is completed to give a picture of what the child would choose or do. Their choices and preferences give an indicator of their personality.

you zoo cover from website

This book also includes a parent observation assessment. Using this tool, a parent makes choices that indicate another perspective of the child’s personality. Together, the child assessment and parent observation assessment can cast an accurate picture of which personality that child may be. There is also a short parent personality assessment. When all of these pieces are put together, a parent can get a clear picture of their child as well as who they (as a parent) might be. The book has sections on each personality that discuss personality strengths, struggles, and needs. Pages of practical tips for each of the personalities will help parents see how they can be more effective in dealing with the child. There is some discussion on the combination of different parent and child personalities and what might work well and what might be a challenge.

Parents and teachers have given great feedback on how this book has helped them make more meaningful connections. If you know that “one size fits all” is not true in dealing with children, this book is for you! If you want to become more effective as a parent or teacher, connect at a deeper level, and help grow your child in their strengths, than you will want to experience this book.

For more information about The You Zoo, please visit If you have questions or comments, I would love to hear from you. Please email me at

Encountering Speed Bumps…Personality Struggles

speed bumps.png

We spent a little time talking about personality strengths. Equally important, is talking about the personality traits that tend to cause some glitches. Some refer to them as weaknesses, but I prefer struggles. It can be hard to look at traits that sound less than desirable. And sometimes as parents, it can be difficult to look at these struggles as we may fear painting our child in a negative light, or that we have in some way not trained them to do things better. But it is very important to set those fears aside and really attempt to get an accurate glimpse at what our child’s personality is all about. When we do this, we can help them grow in those areas.

The Playful Sanguine child is easily distracted. This can cause problems as they attempt to complete tasks. They may be disorganized both in thought and action. They tend to get easily bored and want the level of activity to stay engaging and entertaining. They are prone to tell lies, as they easily exaggerate their stories and fib to thrill their listener or make themselves look good. Playful Sanguine children will share just about anything that comes to mind. That phrase “too much information” was surely tagged for them. They express a variety of emotions and rather easily, others may observe them to be overly dramatic. They are quite extroverted, so their thoughts and feelings are right out in the open. These kids are very trusting of others, while they may simply appear naïve, this could truly be a matter of safety. They may know no stranger and be easily lured into an unsafe situation.

The Powerful Choleric child is insistent and headstrong. They can easily be perceived by others as bossy as they lead the pack and make demands without the niceties of please and thank you. They are constantly on the move and have to be reminded to stop and think first before acting or speaking. These kids are often times over confident and need some help taming that confidence. They may tend to disregard authority and struggle to show respect for authority. Their argumentative nature can get them in sticky situations, and they often need reminded that someone else may know more than they do. Their bold and opinionated manner may make them appear unsympathetic to others.

The Proper Melancholic child is more of an introvert. As a result, the struggles they have tend to be quieter, but not necessarily any less of an issue. These kids are easily discouraged, and if you should find them sad or mad, they do not want to be cheered up. It is hard for them to see the needs of others over themselves and can appear selfish. Because they careful attention to the details, they don’t typically miss a thing. This can cause them to be easily disappointed by others. While keeping record of these details and others wrongs, they can become critical of others. When things are not going well, they tend to get moody. They often feel fearful of things not working out perfectly. This attention they give to perfection can cause them to frustrate others or make them look picky.

The Peaceful Phlegmatic child is also an introvert and their struggles can be as quiet as they are. But no personality is without struggles. This child may get lost in the shuffle as they don’t necessarily keep themselves in the action. They are not real go-getters, and may try to avoid work when at all possible. They can be hard to motivate and will need frequent rests and breaks. Procrastinating will come easy to their unmotivated ways. They are so laid back that they can tend to be perceived as uninvolved or disengaged. They may withhold speaking the truth if they fear it could cause any upset or discomfort, even when speaking the truth is important. They struggle to make decisions, and as a result can be easily manipulated by others. Most generally, they are agreeable, but you will know when you hit a nerve as you will detect their quiet will of iron.

It can feel overwhelming to deal with struggles. You can almost feel a black cloud when discussing these undesirable traits. But they too are part of each person’s make up. Oftentimes, I find that struggles can be strengths taken to an extreme. That perspective makes struggles feel much more manageable. If a child is a natural born leader, but takes that trait too far, they can become bossy. An imaginative child is refreshing and creative, but when that creativity permeates their stories and causes them to lie, it can create many issues. A child who cares about doing a task precisely will be a great asset in a group, but will easily frustrate, or be frustrated, if they let the problematic details affect their mood. A child who is agreeable and laid back is easy to manage until you are stuck in the drive thru and they can’t decide what they want to order. Helping keep their strengths in check can help minimize their struggles. And if a certain struggle keeps erupting, try to go back and identify what that trait was as a strength. This is a strength-based way of helping our children grow.

Stay tuned tomorrow as we put some of these pieces together. We will talk about personality combinations and how to figure out where your child may fit.



Wait a Minute!

kids colorful

We have discussed the verbal and visual clues that you may be getting from your child about his/her personality. We also took a look at the strengths of the four personalities. At this point, I often times hear parents say:

  • I know exactly what my child is! That is great! You probably know your child well. Let’s look a little closer and see if we can figure out not only the primary personality, but also the secondary. Isn’t it fun to start getting a picture of your child’s personality? You might be right on track, and you might modify your opinion with more information.
  • I think I know, but I am not exactly sure. They don’t have every trait listed. Most people won’t have every trait listed. What we are looking for is the personality that seems to have the most. So don’t get frustrated. We have only looked at the strengths, but we are still going to look at the struggles and emotional needs. Those will shed light on your child as well.
  • I have no idea what my child is! That’s ok! Your child may have a personality blend that is harder to identify or you may just need more information. That’s okay…let’s keep moving toward learning about the struggles and the emotional needs of your child.

Think for a minute about some of the difficult days that you may have with your child. Despite your unwavering love for them, you probably feel some undeniable frustration with some traits that continue to rear their ornery little forms! Our next blog post will take a look at the personality struggles of each personality. This can take some courage and a decision to see your child with a new perspective. Ready or not…tune in tomorrow!






Oh Say! Can You See Your Child’s Personality Strengths?

kids personality

We’ve taken a glimpse at the visual clues and verbal clues of personalities. (If you missed those blog posts, be sure to go back and check them out!) You are probably starting to guess where your child falls. Let’s take a look at the personality strengths of each of the personalities and see if that might shed some light on your special little creation! It is important to remember that your child does not have to possess every trait that is listed to be that particular personality. We are simply looking for the personality type that most closely resembles your child. And remember, people are typically a combination of two. So as you look through these, it is common that you can begin to narrow it down but still have two that sound feasible. We will take a look at personality struggles and emotional needs, and that process may help us find the primary and secondary personality.

The Playful Sanguine has some delightful strengths. They are very social and friendly. It is not hard for them to function socially, as they make friends easily, and they tend to do it quickly after entering into a situation. They are talkative and share openly, and are energized by people. Engaging others is quite easy, as they talk quickly, loudly, and with the use of gestures for emphasis. These kids tend to be curious and always in search of the next fun adventure. They are eager to do things and go places. Rarely are they down, as they bounce back quickly. You will most generally find them cheerful and eager. They are often referred to as The Noise Maker, and their motto would be, “I must have some excitement!”

The Powerful Choleric has some amazing strengths. They tend to be natural leaders. They wake in the morning and want to know what you are going to do, because they want to be productive. Looking for the next thing to conquer puts their daring and energetic nature to work. It is not hard for them to be focused on a task and see it through. Powerful children are very competitive, and desire to be the best. It is not hard for them to be assertive and get what they want. They rarely ask or desire help and are very self-sufficient. They are referred to as The Plan Maker, and their motto would be, “I must have some control!”

The Proper Melancholic has strengths that are quiet, but carefully thought out. They tend to be deep thinkers  that are detail oriented and analytical. Being responsible comes easily to them, and they are dutiful in completing things to the best of their ability. Looking at every angle, they will complete something in a perfectionistic manner. Even their play tends to be carefully thought out. They are often times artistically inclined. Being a faithful friend comes easy to them. Their careful attention to details and tasks make them intense and cautious, which helps them think before they speak or act. They are referred to as The Rule Maker, and their motto would be, “I must have some order!”

The Peaceful Phlegmatic quietly contributes many strengths. These kids are calm and laid back, don’t require a lot of entertainment, and are easily amused. They tend to be agreeable with whatever you ask of them, and are not easily upset by others. Being dependable comes pretty easy to them, as you can count on them to come through and do as you’d expect. Their very nature is compliant, and they require very little discipline. Listening is easy for this child, as he’d rather listen than talk. They make good friends for others as they play well with others. They are referred to as The Peace Maker, and their motto would be, “I must have some rest!”

As you read these strengths, you will undoubtedly identify traits your child possesses. Each personality has their distinct strengths. Which personality is the best? What personality is the worst? There is no best or worst! Each personality bring something different to life. I explained it like a box of crayons to a class of kids. Sometimes we need yellow when we color. Sometimes blue is what we are looking for. Green may be needed for certain things, and the same goes for red. No one could do much with a box full of crayons that were all the same color. Likewise, each personality brings a different trait to life and to a family. I encourage you to start watching your child with eyes for his/her strengths. And ask yourself a few questions to really gain an understanding for their strengths:

  • What do they do easily and without much help?
  • What things do they do quickly and without much thought?
  • What do they do well in social situations?
  • What things do others notice that they do well?
  • What traits does your child possess that you admire?

Gain a new perspective of your child’s strengths. Give them genuine praise for what you see as them do well. Encouraging their strengths is a great way to compliment them in a deep in meaningful way, since those are usually the very traits they value!

Did I Really Just Hear That? Verbal Clues to Your Child’s Personality

children talking

One might imagine the noise and chatter among nine humans in a home such as ours! And while I wish I could claim that we have all our ducks in a row and are perfectly mannered and organized, truth is, we have our tidal waves of chaos, noise, and stress. At times, I think we need a whistle (okay, maybe a secluded island) just to reclaim some quiet air time! One such predictable wave appears to happen at meal time. You can always count on a side of whacky chatter, served alongside a healthy helping of boy noise (yes, there’s six of them), all amidst the stirred pot of drama by the lone drama queen (yes, we have just one lone girl in the bunch). Yes, there is also the usual table conversation that several are attempting to have, and despite my efforts at proclaiming the table a “clap-free, chant-free, drama-free, banging-free zone”…we still end up sounding like a bad rap song at times! I remind myself often that around that very table we are making memories, connecting, and learning (hopefully those desired manners).  The things said around that table are very important. They give us a window into the hearts of our kids, a glimpse into the hours spent apart, a piece of what they are holding dear or dreadfully hoping to forget, as they recount the experiences of their day. Maybe the learning that happens around that table far exceeds manners, but really teaches me about the thoughts, feelings, and needs of my children. Opening my ears and mind to what I hear there might really help me understand what makes each child tick!

Truth be known, though, there are things being said throughout the course of a day that serve as great verbal clues to a child’s personality. Some of these things are being said as they tell stories and retell experiences. Other things are being said as they are asked questions and carry on conversations. But honestly, some of the best verbal clues are happening spontaneously, in response to what is happening around them. Some of these responses happen between adult and child, some between children, and for some personalities…even to themselves!

So lets’ imagine for a moment that we get some uninterrupted time to just listen to each of the personalities. Let’s focus on some of the clues that each of them might give throughout the course of a day. Now remember, it’s not so much about the exact words. Every personality could say the words if need be. We are thinking about the words or phrases that tend to come without hesitations, by habit, and with intention to communicate their needs.

A Playful Sanguine child engages others from an early age. They are usually early talkers. This child generally greats each day with excitement and wants to be busy with fun all day long. “Are we going anywhere? What are we gonna do today?” They will want to know who they get to see or what they get to do and will be expressive and dramatic as they put it all together. “Do you know what my mom did?” And then you cringe, hang on, and prepare to run and hide! This child will tell everything and then some. “That’s not the end of my story!” They bring a whole new meaning to the term TMI or too much information. Because they love to tell stories, they have a hard time stopping those stories, and can be found in the midst of a big fat lie with no effort at all! “Yes, it really did happen!”  They will want to engage with others, even if they are perfect strangers, and can notify them of all your personal information in about 3 seconds flat! They aren’t much for the mundane and will remember the fun times, so prepare to attempt to relive their fun moments just to make a mundane task bearable. “Can we make this fun, like that time when…” And truly, that word will be central to their functioning and communicating…FUN! Because they have a flair for the dramatic, prepare to hear words that represent the extremes…the words All, none, never, always which may be delivered with tears or deep expression.

A Powerful Choleric child has his communication packaged for great effectiveness at a very early age. They may have been loud and deliberate criers. Early on they learn to point to help get the message heard. They never struggle to say, “No!” Even when an adult asks them to do something, they won’t think twice before they say, “I don’t want to!” When asked questions about their preferences or opinions, they will not hesitate to give their honest thoughts, “No, I don’t like it.” They see little need to get help from others, and working with others will generally frustrate them, so you will often hear them say, “I can do it myself!” Most generally, they like their plan best. So don’t be surprised if other plans are met with, “That won’t work!” or “That’s dumb!” Being direct and to the point may distract this child from the using the polite words of please and thank you and instead they may declare, “ I want…” This child may appear to speak with one volume, LOUD and confident.

A Proper Melancholic won’t give as many verbal clues, but that in itself is a clue. They are private and tend to keep their words and thoughts to themselves, sharing on a need to know basis. Because they think carefully about their words, they often preface things with, “I think…”. They like when things work perfectly, and may get very upset when they don’t. “It doesn’t work,” might really mean, it’s not perfect. Because justice is of high importance to them, they will often declare, “It’s not fair!” They have great memory for how things have gone in the past and won’t want you to forget, “Last time they got to…” Because they want things to turn out perfectly, you may hear, “Can you help me..” a lot. This child may appear moody or upset, but does not want to be cheered. Instead they will probably just say, “I want to be alone.” They may not speak their minds, but will desire for you to just know what they need. If asked what’s wrong, they will probably respond, “Nothing,” but they may really be wishing you would care enough to figure it out. Their voices tend to be quieter, making them often sound shy or even sad.

A Peaceful Phlegmatic may be slightly harder to hear, as they don’t speak up very often. But when they speak it will usually be meaningful. These are typically very observant children but will probably not say much about what they see unless you ask. Should you ask for an answer, though, you may hear, “I don’t know.” They are indecisive and don’t ever want their answer to cause any problems or hurt feelings. But don’t stop there. They may have an impressive insight. When asked to get something done, their first response is usually, “I can’t.”  or  “I don’t know how.” When trying to complete tasks you just might hear how easily they become over whelmed. “It’s too much!” or “It’s too hard!” follows even simple requests. They require a great amount of down time and rest, so you may hear them say, “I’m too tired” quite often! They have no problem asking, “Can you help me?” They are very in tune to those around them and care about their comfort. So words like “Are you okay?”  or “What’s the matter” flow easily from them as they observe others. They generally use their calm words and tone to be an agent for peace and reassurance.

As you listen to your children, you may be surprised at the clues they give you to understanding their personality and what makes them tick! It is helpful to slow down and understand not just the words but the meaning behind them. When we understand where our kids are coming from, we can better help them get where they are going! Take time to connect and know them as they are, and they will feel loved in a whole new way!

*** For more information on understanding your child and his/her unique personality, check out this refreshing and practical parenting tool. The You Zoo book is an interactive children’s personality assessment that serves as a great parenting resource with loads of useful information and tips packed inside. Visit to learn more about it.

Oh, The Sights You See! Visual Clues to Your Child’s Personality

Color prints of small children's hands on whine

Each child makes his own imprint on the world!

Many people ask, “How do you know what personality your child is?” That is a great question! There are actually many clues to your child’s personality. Certain babies leave the hospital giving very strong clues as to what personality is bundled up and being snuggled. There are personalities that could be easily picked out watching body movements and actions. Some personalities can be revealed by what they are saying and how they are saying it! And some personalities can honestly be a little more tricky and an assessment and questions may reveal the very best information about the personality that makes them who they are.

So essentially there are visual, verbal, and various clues to personality. We are going to break them down and talk about some of the ways you may be able to discover the personality of your child (and yourself and others as well in the process).

If you were to stand behind a one-way mirror and watch a group of children playing, you could actually make some pretty good assessments of personality. You would be relatively accurate with what you see and how it might relate to their personality style. Of course we wouldn’t just stop there though. We would listen and learn more for the most accurate understanding and assessment. But let’s put ourselves behind that glass for a moment and imagine a classroom of children playing. A child’s playing is probably the most sincere form of expression, since there are fewer boundaries to the behaviors being exhibited. As we watch, let’s imagine what we might see.

I see a child that is expressive and trying to get others to join in some fun. She is using her mouth to call them, her gestures to motion them, and her constant movement to urge them. A little boy in the group is excitedly jumping as he awaits the fun to start. His mouth is constantly moving as well. He claps and fist pumps as he urges others to join. Across the room sits another little girl setting up seven dolls around the table. Each of her dolls also has a pet friend and they are having a party. She invites others to  join in the party. These children being observed would be the most easily identified personality. They use their body, motions, and actions in ways that cheer others on, bring others in, and spur along the fun and excitement. Their mouths are usually open as they talk, laugh, and express themselves. Their gestures are usually open and exaggerated. They are usually moving and active. These are some of the visual clues of the Playful Sanguine.

In this room, I see a little boy that is pointing and directing others to the other side of the room where he wants to play ball. He gets frustrated and stomps his foot when they are not moving. He is starting to talk more and uses his body to make a firm stand. A girl in this group is equally sure that the group should stay where they are. She approaches the first boy, stands rather close, looks right in his eyes, puts her hands firmly to her side and with the nod or her head and firm word, the group stays. The boy obviously intends to get someone to the other side of the room so he quickly and firmly grabs the two closest kids and takes his ball to play elsewhere. He doesn’t skip a beat. He walks with great confidence and never turns back. The little girl also doesn’t skip a beat. She turns and begins to instruct the others left standing. She points to the hopscotch squares on the floor and begins to line up the children who are left to take turns. These children are showing visual clues of the Powerful Choleric.

Seated at the table in the room, I see two children coloring. They have been seated for quite some time and have said very little. They are focused on the picture and are working hard to keep everything neatly in the lines. The boy has started three different pictures, and put two in the trash. There was only a small mark that didn’t belong, but he started again with a  fresh and clean page. Another child across the room is part of the ball game. She is visibly upset that something is not going right. She is getting tears in her eyes and showing the line that a fellow player had crossed. It appears that a rule is not being followed and this is causing a visible upset. At another corner of the room a child moves slowly and methodically as he lines up a very straight line of cars. They are grouped according to their color and he continues to count and move them to be perfectly aligned. These would be some of the visual clues you might see with the Proper Melancholic.

Slumped in the book corner you see a boy that’s nearly asleep. He isn’t really looking at books, but is casually watching some of the children near him. He seems oblivious to the others reading books out loud, rather, he’s kind of in his own little world. Laying on the floor near the cars is another little boy that slowly drives one car back and forth. He lays on his side and plays quietly near others, but mostly self-contained. Over in the basketball game is a little girl that slowly moves about. She is only slightly interested in the game and is rarely handling the ball, but she continues to play and told by all the others what to do and where to go. When the other child was visibly upset about the game not going right, this child put her arm around the other and slowly patted as she spoke. Near the children coloring is a little girl that is half seated and half sliding across the table. She chews  on her finger and slowly slides back and forth, doing little of nothing, but content. The visual clues of these children may be a little more settle than the other personalities, making them a little harder to identify. These would be some of the visual clues of a Peaceful Phlegmatic.

What is important to notice, is not so much the activity they are doing, but rather how they are doing it. How are they interacting with others? How do they express themselves? In what ways do they move? Imagine the way your child interacts with others. Can you see which of these groups your child might fall into if they were part of this classroom. It is important to remember that we wouldn’t just stop at judging a personality based on visual clues alone. So, stay tuned as we learn about some of the verbal  and various clues as well! Future posts will help you figure out the mystery of what personality traits your child might possess, as well as strengths and struggles they may encounter.

**For those who have a hard time waiting for information, you may be interested in learning at your own speed with The You Zoo book. Feel free to visit to find out more about the book or order your copy of The You Zoo.

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