Understanding Your Child's Personality

Have you wondered why some kids are easier to get on with than others? According to Personality Plus For Parents by Florence Littauer one of the reasons is because of different personalities. You may have heard of the four personality types: sanguine, choleric, melancholy and phlegmatic. But have you considered how this affects parenting? My family took the personality test in the book. You can also do the test online HERE. Elijah was sanguine (fun lover), Kale was choleric (bossy), Jewel was melancholy/phlegmatic (easy going yet sensitive) and Ash was a mix of all types. I was a sanguine/choleric.

Personality: Ash is a mixed bag of all the personalities with added hormones. This keeps us on our toes because we never know which personality is going to come out at any given time!


I explained the personality types to the kids, and encouraged them to look for opportunities to notice each other’s personalities. It helped me understand the family dynamics better. Because three of my kids have my dominant personality types in them, I understand them easily. However with Jewel being the complete opposite personality of me, I realised I just didn’t understand her.


Personality: Arty Jewel always gets emotional after she creates something because it is never perfect or good enough. In fact after we took this photo of her creation and showed her the photo, she cried because she didn't think she looked like a Pokemon at all. I DON'T UNDERSTAND!!


Being partly choleric I expected my kids to make immediate decisions. I now understand that Jewel needs to quietly contemplate things, so I give her more time to make choices. Sanguine Elijah loves being noisy in the car, but this bothers Jewel who needs silence. Instead of telling to Jewel to just ignore Elijah, I now ask Elijah to be quieter in the car.


Personality: Elijah is like a wild sanguine dog trapped in a human's body. This is his face when his fun is ruined by me saying: "Put a shirt on!" or "Stop drinking out of the dog bowl!" or "We only pee in the toilet!"


As a determined person, I enjoy ambitious projects with my like minded go-getting kids. Florence Littauer warns if we’re wired that way, we mustn’t fall in to the trap of leaving out any kids who aren’t as ambitious, and find ways to include them.


Personality: ale's strong willed, stubborn, determined, persistent, arguing, testing, competitive, demanding personality combined with his super-intelligent-genius-mega-brain causes me concern... I could see him winning a Nobel prize for discovering the cure for cancer but at the same time he has the potential to be an evil genius that rules the world.


My two eldest kids have choleric traits and like to be the boss. So now I understand why my three youngest kids can play happily for hours, until my eldest child tries to join in and take control of everyone. Then it’s world war three!


Personality Plus Summary Chart


Be mindful of tricky combinations. Melancholy (perfectionist) parents, don’t have standards that are too high for your kids to reach, especially with cleanliness. Phlegmatic (easy going) parents, don’t let choleric kids control you! Sanguine (fun loving) parents, don’t embarrass your teenage melancholy kids! Choleric (bossy) parents, don’t crush sensitive children, and understand that not everyone wants to work all the time like you do. As a sanguine, please understand that all we want to do is have fun! Do you know what your personality type is? Try taking the test with your family!