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Posts tagged ‘Powerful Choleric’

Mud Slinging or Wallowing in a Mud Hole…

personality chart2

The Lighter Side of Personality Downfalls

This morning, as I was fixing my daughter’s hair, she started to get frustrated. I could see her emotions were about to erupt. (Yes, she is a combination of Powerful Choleric/Playful Sanguine!) Her brother who was nearby could feel the tension rising as well. Now to many personalities, we would back off, however, being a fellow Powerful Choleric, he thought this was an invitation to go in for the kill! Understanding both personalities, and being a Peaceful Phlegmatic, I decided to try and diffuse them both.

“Now wait a minute,” I said. “You both know that it can be a down fall of your personality to say unkind things before you think. So, take just a minute and stop yourself. OK!?”

“What! You’re saying my personality is a downfall!! How rude!!” My daughter’s emotions continued down the track, full speed ahead into the drama depot!

“No, that’s not what I said. What I said is that saying unkind things before you think can be your personality downfall. Every personality has a down fall. That just happens to be one you both share.” I explained.

“Wait a minute! I don’t do what she does. She makes a big scene, and I don’t!” My Powerful Choleric/Proper Melancholic child quickly defended. “So aren’t we different?”

“You have similarities and differences. You both tend to say things that might be unkind before you think. But she will shout them, and you will mumble them in hopes that we will hear. That my dear is the perfect example of how you are different!” That is the difference between the Powerful Choleric/Playful Sanguine and the Powerful Choleric/Proper Melancholic. I explained them to the kids with the use of the Monkeys from The You Zoo book, since that is easier for them to remember.

“So you and Jackson don’t have any personality downfalls?” My daughter was not putting down her drama card easy!

“Oh sure we do! Every personality has downfalls as well as many strengths! We would just THINK the unkind things in our head!” I quickly admitted.

“What! You think bad things about us in your head!!” My son seemed shocked.

“Yes, sometimes we do. But at least we don’t hurt your heart and make you hear them!” I justified.

“So is that better?” My son quizzed.

“Well, no, neither is kind. Not having unkind thoughts is probably the thing we should all shoot for!” I explained to the kids. Then we all just burst out laughing. Guess it’s like mud slinging or wallowing in a mud hole?! They are both dirty!

It was one of those teaching moments you couldn’t set up any better. You just take the opportunities as they arise. It really has amazed me over the years how well my kids understand the personality information. Even more surprising, how much they love learning about it!


I Will Do It Myself!! (That and 52 Other Things!)

speed bumps

This can be a common theme for Powerful Cholerics. While it is a theme that presents in both adults and children, we will focus more on the parent in this post.

The Powerful Choleric feels very capable and able to do almost anything they encounter. They are often heard making the bold declaration, “I will do it myself!” It could also be a mutter under their breath as they become exasperated that someone in their presence isn’t just getting it done. They are not easily discouraged and spend little time on thinking things over and most of their time just diving in and doing things. Their self-talk differs greatly from the other two personalities that we’ve covered, largely because they are task focused. Their self-talk might sound more like the following:

“Of course I can do it.”

“Everything will be okay as long as I am there.”

“I can do that real quick before I…”

“I’d rather do that alone than have their help.”

“My idea will work best.”

“I can do that better.”

“I’ll just hurry up and…”

A Powerful Choleric would read the above list and feel proud. After all, it sounds very productive and useful. But this self-talk can present some problems for the Powerful Choleric in everyday life, relationships, and parenting.

How might these play out in a Powerful Choleric parent? You might see the following:

  • Frustrated easily when child does not operate at their speed and slows them down.
  • Angered when they can’t manage the stress they’ve created by being over committed.
  • Upset when they are hurrying everywhere because they haven’t managed time and tasks well.
  • Harsh mannered with kids and discipline as it slows them down and feels futile.
  • Speaks loudly and can easily belittle others out of frustration.
  • Exercises little patience in dealing with imagination or child-centered play.
  • Tends to just take over a task, rather than teaching a child how to do it for themselves.
  • Committed to so many other tasks that they are spread thin and don’t give child quality time.
  • Prone to spills and breaking things as they attempt to move to quickly and force things to happen.

How can a Powerful Choleric address the self-talk that propels them into a tornado of activity and causes them to be less effective as a parent?

  • Slow down and be realistic. There are only so many hours in a day and so many minutes in an hour. Try to be more realistic about what you can or should do in the time you have.
  • Don’t do it all!
  • Realize that relationships have value. You easily see the tasks and all that need to be done. But don’t miss out on the people along the way. While multi-tasking can be a great skill, there are some things, like kids, that just need your undivided attention.
  • Stay in the game. Often times, when things are out of the Powerful Cholerics control, they just take their ball and play elsewhere. You can’t afford to do that with parenting. You will discipline the same issues repeatedly. You will not have control over everything your child does. But your role as parent and disciplinarian must remain strong.



It can be hard to look at yourself and see things that might not be desirable. Gaining personal insight helps you become more effective as a parent though. What might be your faulty thinking? If the above does not fit, you may find one of the other personality posts in the last couple days more appropriate. Listen to your self-talk today. What do you tell yourself? How does that help you/hurt you as a parent?

Oh the Dramatic Eruptions!!!



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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

What!? My Child Has A Default Setting?!

personality chart2

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!

More Than Meets the Eye…A Project Through the Eyes of a Powerful Child


jaydens project

Today, I had a great example of the Powerful Child at work, actually play, but even their play can feel more like work and lack a little fun. When I know how my Powerful/Playful Child, Jayden, approaches his projects, and anticipate what works well for him, the process can be a lot more enjoyable for both of us! I know I usually have to hang on for the ride, as no project will be as easy as it sounds! Here’s how it unfolded. For those of you with a powerful/playful combination child this may sound familiar.

The day started with his plan to make a stocking for his new stuffed animal. He has been told more than once, by more than a couple of his siblings, that this stuffed animal is not real. He insists he is! No changing his mind. So, with his plan carefully laid out to me, and very clear in his own mind, he attempted to create this stocking. He insisted that he was going to paint a stocking with red paint and then cut out a rectangle that is white to put his name on. I asked if he’d rather have red construction paper, but no, he insisted he must paint it.

jaydens art projectSo we drew the stocking shape, and he cut it out. He proceeded to paint the stocking but was immediately angry when the paint was not dark enough. He threw his head down in frustration, as intensity erupted. He wanted to crumple up the paper and throw it away. “Wait a minute!” I said. Let me show you the difference. If you use water colors, it will look like this.” I showed him the color and explained that water color is not a bright color. I then showed him the construction paper and explained that it was darker in color. “Which of these is more like you imagined?” In this moment, he was gaining control and the project was once again on track. He stood up straight and then stated, “Well definitely the construction paper!”

It seemed to me that we could have saved ourselves a lot of emotion if he had just listened to my suggestion in the beginning. But you see, Powerful children need to arrive at the decision on their own. They learn by experience. They want to test and try things and then feel good about their decision. I could have actually predicted the situation would unfold as it did. How? Because it is a common occurrence. But I have learned that seeing the situation through allows him to try and learn different ways to problem solve. In this way, he helps make decisions along the way and then feels better about the outcome.

I also hope that after getting practice in problem solving that he will learn to think things through, figure out his options, and save himself from the meltdowns and emotional roller coaster.

I point out that he is a Powerful/Playful Child for a couple reasons. First, it introduces the combinations of personalities. Second of all, it helps explain how a Powerful Child would even stick with an art project! The playful part of him wanted to create. And I had to laugh, because he was decorating the stocking and asked, “Do you know what I’m doing? I’m making it stylish!” Those are the touches of a Playful Child!


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.

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