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Posts tagged ‘Peaceful Phlegmatic’

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!? My Child Has A Default Setting?!

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I just don’t get my child! How do I know what they want?!

I have heard numerous weary parents express this sentiment in a variety of ways. It can be hard to think like a child, and especially when that child is worlds different than our natural personality bent. And sometimes, even if they share the same personality, a parent and child can really butt heads, being so similar and wanting things so similar, yet going about it in two very different ways. So how do we anticipate what our kids want? How do we figure out what moves them or motivates them?

We remember the default setting. The what? The default setting. You see, each personality has what we might consider a motto. It is kind of like the core of their personality, sums many things up in just a short little phrase, and functions kind of like their default setting. It’s what they choose or desire or do without even thinking about it. This is easy to remember and can kind of act like a reset button in our own minds when we feel like we’re stuck! It can be a lifesaver in those moments that we just can’t figure out what to do.

So what are the personality mottos?

The Playful Sanguine child’s motto:   “I must have some excitement!”

The Powerful Choleric child’s motto:  “I must have some control!”

The Proper Melancholic child’s motto:  “I must have some order!”

The Peaceful Phlegmatic child’s motto:  “I must have some rest!”

We had a recent example of this in our own home. Our kids were struggling with getting their chores done. I felt like I was putting more effort into getting them to do their jobs then they were putting into doing their jobs. So, I kindly made them chore charts to help them be accountable (and hopefully reduce my amount of nagging and frustration). Despite my best efforts at helping them succeed with my cute charts, we were still struggling! So, I slowed myself up one day and thought about what they might really need to get motivated.

Then, I asked each child to make their own chore chart. It was rather interesting to see what they came up with, but it so beautifully illustrates this point!


Here are some of the key things I noticed:


  • My Powerful Choleric (natural leader) was the first to start the process. He even taught a couple of the others how to use the program and spreadsheet feature.

chore charts1

  • My Playful Sanguine and Peaceful Phlegmatic children (both personalities being relational) placed pictures of them with other people all around their charts to decorate them.


  • My Peaceful Phlegmatic that wants rest was sure to mark his chart with the reminder that Sunday was no jobs, just REST!
  • My Powerful Choleric/Proper Melancholic (being task focused) was sure to point out to the others that there didn’t need to be any designs, as this was a CHORE Chart…it was not supposed to be fun!

We have had much more success with the chore charts. Are we perfect?  No! By no means can I claim we are! But in slowing down, I remembered that I was going to get the best movement and buy-in when I could tap into what really mattered to them or motivated them. My Playful Sanguines needed some excitement, so to see a fun chart that they designed themselves would be far more appealing than my chart that was the same for everybody. My Powerful Choleric needed to have some control. By making his own chart and placing his tasks on it, he was deciding how it would be done. My Peaceful Phlegmatic just needed that little light at the end of the tunnel that REST would come!

Each child now has a chore chart that has the same chores I would have put on them, and they are still required to do the same thing as before. But because I took the time to address the core motivators, I am getting a much better response. Who would guess that such a small little twist could change a home?! That’s what it’s like to function with the default setting!

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.

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.

Encountering Speed Bumps…Personality Struggles

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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.



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.

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