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.