Joey and Carla, it’s great to be interviewing you again! I learned so much from your book Why Can’t I get My Kids to Behave and appreciate your Mom’s Notes, podcasts, and mentorship over the years. My husband and I have used so much of your Biblical wisdom when teaching and training our kids to follow the Lord, and I love sharing that wisdom with our readers. I am excited about this new book and four-part video series you have out, How Temperaments Impact You, Your Spouse, and Your Kids.
Could you give us a general description of each kind of temperament?
The 4 temperaments are Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic and Melancholy. They are given at birth when God created you and will not change over time. They are a part of your personality, which can change when your circumstances or environment do.
Choleric: Born leaders, strong-minded, determined, energetic, quick thinkers, argumentative, has to be in control, explosive temper, excels in emergencies, independent, exudes confidence
Sanguine: Cheerful, fun-loving, aren’t good listeners, dominate conversations, people pleasers, dramatic, extrovert, talkative, makes friends easily, disorganized, easily distracted
Phlegmatic: Objective, good in crisis, laid back, easy-going, aloof, resist change, doesn’t express feelings, hard to motivate, procrastinate, stubborn, administrative, dependable
Melancholy: Deep thinkers, serious, purposeful, talented, creative, judgemental, pessimistic, self-focused, moody, easily despressed, perfectionist, loyal, well-organized, self-sacrificing
Everyone has a blend of 2 temperaments. Your listeners can go to our website and get a free download assessment of the 4 Temperaments. It’s at www.ParentingMadePractical.com/Temperaments
Why is it important to understand our own temperaments and our spouse’s as we parent our children?
Each temperament has strengths and weakenesses that are different from the others. Because of this you won’t think about things the same way your spouse does. It is important to know what yours are, partly because you should want to build on your strengths and learn to manage your weaknesses so they don’t control you. It is also important to know what your spouse’s are so you can find a common ground to work from in keeping your relationship positive and in how you parent your kids.
My (Carla’s) temperament was similar to our son’s and one of our daughters. This daughter used to ask me if I had eyes in the back of my head because I knew what she was thinking about most situations. Our son was black and white (choleric) in his thinking and I understood he handled bottom lines better than discussing things to work them out.
Joey’s temperament was similar to our other daughter’s. Thankfully he had the patience to listen to her and work things out with her until she made a decision about how she was going to handle it. Understanding your temperament, your spouse’s and that of your kids really helps give you perspective when issues come up that need to be dealt with. This doesn’t mean that only one parent works with a specific child, but when the other parent is trying to help them and is running into a brick wall, it is good to know you can pass the baton to your spouse and they can step in and give assistance in a way that is not your natural bent.
Why is it important to understand our children’s temperaments?
Let me answer that by quoting what a dad from one of our Temperament classes wrote to us: He said:
“I would encourage any and every parent to dive deep into temperaments to better understand their child’s sin nature. Whether your children are 4 or 14, this class provides a keen insight as to the make-up of your children. In that they are beautifully and wonderfully made in the image of God. In addition, it can assist in providing the “why” that so many parents ask such as “Why does my child behave this way?” or “Why can’t I seem to get along with my child?”
Knowing their temperaments gives you perspective and insight into what they are thinking and why they respond to you in the way they do. It helps you learn how to best parent them.
Your Choleric child for example is going to express most emotion in anger. You need to be prepared for that and know how you are going to handle it before you talk to them about something you know they aren’t going to like. Your Sanguine child appears to be listening to you but the phrase “in one ear and out the other” came about because of those with this temperament. Your child can walk away and completely forget what you said by the time he gets to the next room in the house.
Your Phlegmatic child will listen to you but gives one word responses. Having a conversation with him/her is a frustration. We learned to ask lots of questions that one word answers would tell us what we wanted to know.
The Melancholy child’s actions are determined by what he is feeling in that moment. We asked our Melancholy daughter how she was feeling about what we wanted to talk with her about before we could get to the facts of the situation. Dealing with her feelings always had to come first.
How does knowing our children’s temperaments help us to communicate with them better?
This is from another dad who took our class on Temperaments titled How Temperaments Impact You, Your Spouse & Your Kids:
“I felt like I was speaking a different language to my son whom I love, as he just wasn’t hearing what I was trying to say to him. It’s like I was speaking German and he was hearing me in French. Once I figured this out by understanding the difference in our temperaments and the way he was hearing me and the way I was trying to speak to him, it totally changed our relationship because I wasn’t so frustrated with him, and he felt love again, and could hear what I was saying.”
I think the examples I used in the last question answer this one too.
How does knowing our children’s temperaments help us in training their character?
Knowing their specific strengths and weaknesses give you specifics to work on. We had a non-negotiable hour scheduled with each child every week during which we worked on one character virtue, both positive and negative sides of it. We stuck to one a month as we wanted them to understand this virtue and how it affected them when they used it wisely or unwisely. Our kids kept a journal of this time and consider them treasured possessions. We had them grade themselves every week on the virtues we had already worked on and if they got a “C” or below they had to come up with a way they were going to work on it that week. We started doing this when they were 8 yrs. old. They each got their own hour because we were working on the strengths and weaknesses of their temperament blends.
I love how you give scenarios in the book of what problems can arise in the home with the mix of different types of temperaments. Can you give one example of a typical conflict between a parent/child with two different temperaments and how they can learn to work together?
Mom is a laid-back, easy going Phlegmatic. Her daughter is a strong-willed, easily angered Choleric. This child will take control as soon as she learns how to get what she wants. Mom needs to learn to say “No” and stick to it. She needs to stop arguments as soon as they start by sending the child to sit in an isolated spot until she calms down and is ready to do what Mom told her to. Mom needs to find ways to give her child control in non-moral areas. As this child grows and matures, she needs to find ways to communicate with her Mom calmly and rationally.
To learn more about temperaments and Christian parenting in general, where can our followers find your resources and recommendations?
- Free Assessment
- “How Temperaments Impact You, Your Spouse & Your Kids” book, DVD or streaming of the 4 part video
- Registration for the 4-part (weeks) Zoom class
- “Spirit-Controlled Temperament” book by Tim LaHaye