Wednesday, October 21, 2009


No not tempers, temperaments. You know, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Choleric and Melancholic.
In my parenting class this week we were asked to figure out the temperament of each member of our family. We were given a list of strengths and weaknesses.
Sanguine- Enthusiastic, expressive, talkative, sense of humor, cheerful and bubbling over. Dominates conversations, interrupts, disorganized, self-centered and doesn't follow through.

Phlegmatic- Low-key, easy going, calm, cool, collected, patient, kind, steady, agreeable, mediates well. Appears lazy, lacks initiative, resists change, indecisive, procrastinates and stubborn.

Choleric- Born leader, decisive, dynamic, powerful, strong-willed, thrives on opposition, confident, quick to action and can run anything. Thinks they are never wrong, knows the right answer, holds others to a higher standard than themselves, won't admit when wrong, manipulative, impatient, bossy and must always be in control.

Melancholy- Deep, thoughtful, analytical, serious, purposeful, talented, creative, idealistic, self-sacrificing, schedule oriented, perfectionist, well organized. Judgmental, self-focused, easily depressed, takes things personally, negative in responses and puts unrealistic demands on others.

Right off it was easy to determine my children. My boy is Sanguine. My girl is Choleric.
Determining mine and my husband proved to be a little more tricky. We read and reread through the list and could not quite settle on one. Since Google is my friend ( I should hit Google up with a friend request on facebook) I Googled temperament test. Low and behold, there were free test online. I took this one here. The result was pretty much a blend of all four with 9 points for a Phlegmatic, 8 points for Choleric and 7 each for the other two. Which explains why I saw strengths and weaknesses of each in myself. Then hubby took it and was a solid Phlegmatic with a secondary in Melancholy.
Another test said I was Sanguine with a secondary in Phlegmatic. So I guess the verdict is still out on me.
Anyway, in class tonight we discussed how this plays out in the home. For example: My Choloric daughter has to "feel" like she has some control of situations. She must feel heard and understood. She is strong-willed and will assert herself. Just this week she was being disciplined and was told to sit on her bed. Dad gave no room for discussion and was swift in placing her there. For the next 20 minutes she repeated over and over, "Mom" "MOM" "Mooooom." "I want to talk to mommy." "Mommy do you hear me, come talk to me now." I did hear her yet under my husbands instruction was staying quiet. She was relentless. Once she realized she could not control daddy's decision she faught for control of any kind and started calling the dog.
The very next day we had a mini replay of the same scene. Where she repeated over and over, wanting to be heard. "I need to tell you something." Seems convient that everytime she is disciplined, she is bursting with things that she MUST say RIGHT THEN. It boils down to control. And she wants it.
Through this we realized something very important about our daughter. She needs to be heard. Unless she feels heard she can not, will not, listen to anything anyone else has to say. So my husband hit upon a brilliant idea. He said, "Go give her some paper and a pencil and have her write whatever she needs to say. Then go back in a couple minutes and get whatever she has written." It worked beautifully.
Her notes read, "Moms are the best"
"Mom I do love you."
"I love you mom rile mom i love you."
"My and you biy big mom"
Not the message I expect but from a voice that needed to be heard. Needless to say I think we will continue to implement this approach. Perhaps even a journal specifically for that purpose. In light of tempraments it helps knowing what their tendancies are and maybe some of the motivation behind it.
This site here was awesome in explaining the strenghs and weaknesses of each. It is set-up for adults but my friend and I quickly realized that parents can be interpreted for a kid to be in the family, at work would translate to at school and with friends is applicable at any age.

So how about you? What is your temprament? Your children's tempraments? How does this play out in your home?

1 comment:

momteacherfriend said...

I took a couple more tests and have decided I am a Sanguine with a secondary in Phlegmatic.