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Posts tagged ‘emotional needs’

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.

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