Question: I have a child that is somewhere along the top of the chart, but I can’t decide which one (Playful Sanguine and Powerful Choleric). I only know that their emotions are more than I can handle! What do I do?
Hang on!! That’s my first advice! But truly, this is a real concern of many parents that speak to me after a presentation. They feel overwhelmed with the emotion that this child expels and feel inadequate at knowing how to handle it. I can’t help but share my own personal joke.
Can you imagine for a minute what three extroverts, a 10 year old girl, 5 year old boy, and 43 year old dad have in common with a volcano? Easy, they all erupt!
Personalities along the top of the personality quadrant chart (Playful Sanguine and Powerful Choleric) are extroverts. So everything they think, feel, and want is pretty much out there for all to see. They are in touch with their emotions, express them easily, and don’t hold back. This makes total sense to those who are also extrovert, but what might be hard for them to imagine is that not everyone is like that. Those on the bottom of the chart (Proper Melancholic and Peaceful Phlegmatic) are introverts and tend to hold things in. They tend to evaluate their thoughts and feelings, modify them, and decide what if any is appropriate to share.
The Playful Sanguine is prone to drama. They feel things very deeply. Their emotions can go from 0 to 60 in two seconds flat. They may be very upset, and with just a small change will be extremely happy again. Those emotional highs and lows can be hard for a family to experience.
The Powerful Choleric is prone to anger. They are more in touch with that emotion than any other. They can go from super angry to moving on rather quickly. They let off some steam and decide they feel better. The problem is that those around them may still be recovering from the hit and run effect.
What can you do if you see your child exhibiting the drama that exhausts your family?
- Don’t give up on the training. You may feel like you say the same thing over and over, but don’t give up. It is a message they need to hear.
- Give them a good example. Kids learn by example. Often times there is a parent in the home that is exhibiting the same lack of control in emotions. Work hard as parents to be a positive example.
- Practice makes perfect. Okay, so maybe perfect is a little too high of expectation, but don’t underestimate the power in practicing. Role play situations before they happen. Rehearse how things might be felt and expressed in ways that people can understand and will want to listen.
- Do-over or discipline. Give your child a chance to correct what needs to be corrected when they speak or act too quickly out of emotion, or what I refer to as a do-over. Correcting on their own gives them the practice in self control. If you have to intervene or coax them into re-doing the wrong, discipline may be appropriate.
- Work to understand their emotional needs. Often, the drama rises when the emotional needs of these kids are not being addressed. So go back to the basics and look at their emotional needs.
Remember that these top two personalities need to be noticed and given credit. They also want some excitement and control. If you can keep a pulse on how those needs are being met, you might be one step closer to diffusing the eruptions of emotion that are tiring your family.