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.