Friday, September 7, 2007

Quizlet on Children's Temperaments

The following simplified quiz is designed to help determine the temperament of your child. Recall, as you read, the numbered descriptions which most aptly describe your child then scroll to the bottom to read which temperament likely belongs to him or her.

At the age of two:

1) child walks along top of couch, balancing as if on a tightrope, reaches the end, flips off onto the floor, thinks about crying, then grins widely when everyone applauds.

2) child organizes VHS tapes into neat piles, according to color, cries when brother knocks them down.

3) when told that it's time for bed, child gets blanket, goes upstairs and goes to sleep.

4) child determines seating arrangements at table, and expects express wishes to be obeyed.

By the age of twelve:

1) child knows how to juggle, remembers every joke he/she ever heard, is first at the door to go anywhere.

2) child keeps a journal, has memorized all the presidents, states and capitals, gets upset when the schedule planned is not adhered to.

3) child is is almost always helpful and affectionate, but rides under the radar to avoid making waves, is usually game for adventures, but isn't the one that plans them.

4) child calls family meetings to to make sure all his/her meetings, events and plans can be accomodated on family calendar; has tendency to compete with Dad for the Chair at this meeting.

By the age of twenty:

1) child has a cellphone and e-mail contact lists longer than your arm and is rarely home, except when a party is planned or free food is available; plans for the future are still shaky.

2) child has life mapped out, with contingency plans, has several organizers which are consulted often, remembers everyone's birthdays and has cards stamped and ready to send ahead of time.
3) child loves to hang out at home or at a favorite friend's house, loves the familiar; has many friends but doesn't go out all that often; knows a lifeplan should be made and is working on it.

4) child has already applied to a graduate school and has at least the blueprints for an entrepreneurial enterprise, a couple of patents in progress and is the president of at least one organization.

What's the temperament?

If the answers for your child were:

Mostly #1 ~ Your child is a sanguine, or has largely sanguine characteristics. The sanguine is fun-loving and enjoys being the center of attention. This child needs a learning environment that stimulates him/her. He/she often has trouble completing assignments and can be easily distracted, so it is very important to teach self discipline from an early age.

Mostly #2 ~ Your child is likely a melancholic. Melancholic personalities love order and pay wonderful attention to detail, but can miss the bigger picture and can be absent minded. It's important to make sure these children learn practicalities or "street-smarts." As the term implies, too, melancholics can sometimes be moody and pessimistic; these are tendencies that need to be countered at a young age. Should also be encouraged to socialize.

Mostly #3 ~ These tendencies are usually related to phlegmatics. Phlegmatics are delightfully easy to get along with and are usually the peace-keepers of any group, but they can have trouble making decisions and, having weak motivation, are sometimes easily led. It's important that these children learn their priorities and how to stick to them. They also need to be taught a strong work ethic.

Mostly #4 ~ This child is probably a choleric. Cholerics are natural leaders and are very adept at seeing the big picture. They are often academically gifted, but lack social smarts, and the virtues of charity and mercy should be stressed with them. Early on they should be taught not to over-extend themselves, and to complete the details of one task before moving on to another.

Why I think this is pertinent information:
(Just in case anyone wants to know...)

My wh and I have been students of the temperaments for many years and have found that this knowlege has been one of the most useful tools in our arsenal, not only as parents, but as citizens of the planet, and children of God. The Church has sanctioned and encouraged the understanding of the temperaments, as it can be a great help in our own perfection and in the practice of charity, by seeing the work of God in the temperaments of others, and in practicing mercy as we see that we all share the same struggles in perfecting each our own temperaments.

We've read several books on the subject, but the most easily read and comprehensive series on the subject, though it's not from a Catholic author, are the Florence Littauer books. If I could figure out how to make a link to them, I'd provide that here, but, alas! I haven't worked out that technical wizardry yet! (Anyone out there who can instruct me in this with single syllables, I'd loooove the help!) Personality Plus is, I believe, the first in the series. It has changed how we look at ourselves, and it has helped enormously in raising our children. Our life has been a lab for understanding the temperaments, and our children (Heaven bless them!) have been the chief guinea pigs!

I could go on and on with whys wherefores and examples, but you get the gist already, and you don't need me to write the book; it's already been written! If you haven't already read it, you really need to! Along with knowing the learning styles (which is a whole other post!), knowing the temperaments helps keep me sane as a mother, and especially as a hometeaching mother, because it enables me to make sense of all these people and helps give me a plan for how to work with them. God is good to give us these aids for understanding one another!

I hope it's not out of line for me to close with a word of warning, though. Using the temperaments to instruct our children is a very good thing to do; using them to perfect ourselves is highly recommended; but, using the temperaments to instruct others outside of our immediate families, is a very risky business. Having this knowlege can and should help us know how to deal with others, not how to lecture to them. If, for instance you were to say to someone, "Stop being such a choleric!" you will likely do nothing but make the person angry, and accomplish nothing but exhibiting a certain prideful authority in your apparent knowlege of him or her. Adults needs to learn their own temperaments and correct them; we can't do it for them.
Darn it, anyway.

(BTW: Those who know us no doubt can pair the above examples with the appropriate Davis child. I dare you to try!)

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