Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Your Child's Personality

by Van Walton

I first realized how varied children were when I marched into the classroom with my teaching degree in hand, ready to create masterful lesson plans that would challenge and encourage. Soon it dawned on me that what motivated some, bored others; what built curiosity in boys aggravated girls; what delighted the extrovert, grated on the introvert; what moved the right brained, baffled the left brained; what made sense to the serious student, confused the casual learner. You get the picture.

Our homes are no different. Here we attempt to rear multiple children under one roof, with a set of house rules, limited space, and tight budgets. On a given day a mother must relate to her children according to their birth orders, learning styles, personal preferences, and social adaptabilities. She must also contend with each child's personality style in order to successfully raise her family. Learning more about the four basic personality types can help.

The Four Types:

The sanguine is the Popular child - an extrovert whose goal is to have fun, talk, and spend time with people.

The choleric is the Powerful child - an extrovert whose goal is to take control, be organized, and have purpose.

The melancholy is the Perfect child - an introvert whose goal is to understand the routine, be orderly, and accomplish tasks.

The phlegmatic is the Peaceful child - an introvert who desires a stress-free environment, respect, and harmony.

Most children exhibit traits from at least two of the above descriptions, with one being predominant. Look for the traits most clearly and frequently displayed by each child in your family, then plan some summer activities adapted to each child's natural preferences.

Summer Activities by Type:

Popular child - will be happy when busy having fun, especially with friends. This child likes doing colorful crafts, attending camp, or taking lots of active field trips. If doing a summer play, this child would like to be the actor.

Powerful child - will feel happy and important if allowed to make plans for a picnic, a day trip or a family project. This child enjoys being completely in charge of something. If doing a summer play, this child would like to be the director.

Perfect child - doesn't require lots of activity, and is especially content when life is orderly and activities are well-planned in advance. This child is often content to read books together or to visit the library weekly. If doing a summer play, this child would like to design the program, sell the tickets or video the event.

Peaceful child - also thrives on quiet activities and a slower-paced schedule. Preferring not to go too many places, this child often enjoys watching television, playing video or board games, and going to the movies. If doing a summer play, this child would like to write the story.

Using what you have learned about the four personality styles, use the following suggestions to offer a variety of summer activities, making sure to respect the needs and strengths of each of your children.

Art portfolio
Journaling diary
Pet Show
Movies, Videos
Vacation Bible School / Backyard Bible Club
Scrap booking
Day tripsCollections (nature collection, coin, stamp etc)
Backyard Camp Outs and Cook Outs
Nature Walks
Sports or hobby camps

For more information read Your Child's Personality by Florence Littauer or Smarter Not Harder by Sharon Marshall Johnson with Marita Littauer.

Van Walton is available to speak to your group of mothers, women, teachers, youth leaders, teens or couples. Knowledge of temperaments frees individuals to be the people God created them to be and helps us understand one another, leading to peaceful and harmonious relationships.