Parenting

Parenting Your Logical, Orderly Child

Eeyore always was my favorite character in the Winnie-the-Pooh.  Even though he tended to be a bit mopey and saw the gloomy side of things, he endeared himself to me.   A. A. Milne drew out some classic traits of each personality type as he formed his beloved characters.  Three of the animals in the Hundred Acre Wood reveal something about the fourth personality we are looking at in this series on Parenting Your Child’s Personality.  

Let’s talk about the Melancholy child.  Also known as the Natural-Born-Perfectionist or the Logical, Orderly personality, this child sees details and wants things “just so.”  Gary Smalley called this child the Beaver. 

Beaver

The melancholy can seem to see the down side of things, be prone to expect a lot from themselves and others and be disappointed with any lack of excellence.  Can you guess which Winnie-the-Pooh characters have melancholic personalities?  Eeyore embodies the pessimism and slightly reclusive side of the melancholy.  Rabbit {who also has some of the bossiness of the choleric in him} gardens with a perfectionism and attention to detail that is classic melancholic.  Piglet has a tendency to worry that makes him more than a phlegmatic.  He shows the melancholy in his propensity to overthink situations – and often foresee their dreadful outcome.

My friend, Lisa, has a penchant for studying personality types.  Once she commented, “If there was such a thing as death by details, that’s how the melancholy would go.”  The melancholy sees nuances and fine points.  Their board game of choice could be Trivial Pursuit.  They see the bar {which is perfection} and live a life of yearning for that perfect mark.  When things fall short, the melancholic can become either frustrated or defeated.  One great tool they have for coping with this disappointment is their exceptional dry humor.  Oftentimes they will crack jokes no one else can hear.  They aren’t interested in your laughter as the sanguine is.  They simply find humor entertaining and amuse themselves by saying witty things under their breath.

Melancholy strengths and weaknesses

Like all personalities, God wove strengths into the Melancholy which are a blessing to everyone around them.  If you are parenting a melancholy child, you know how sensitive they can be.  Their tender heart allows them to tune in to nuances about people and situations.  They notice details about what is going on around them.  Their ability to discern in difficult situations can be invaluable.  The melancholy person is also self-sacrificing.  They do not grab at center-stage as the sanguine or choleric will do.  Much like the phlegmatic, the melancholy can be content to wait or to take a back seat.  They are more motivated to make things change than the phlegmatic, though, and will take up a cause to pursue justice.  If you want to hire someone to keep your books or organize your sock drawer, this is the person for you.  They will faithfully do the job and probably leave you a color-coded chart so that you can understand where everything is after they finish.  Melancholy people tend to be musical.  Their attention to detail helps them hear tones and harmonies so they play their instruments with unparalleled precision.

Organized Paper
In my life, I have several dear friends who are at least in part melancholy.  I call these friends when I am stumped and need someone to wisely sort through the details of a decision with me.  One of my melancholy/choleric friends is bold enough to tell me the honest truth even when it means “siding” with my husband in the midst of a marital disagreement.  I can’t tell you how invaluable her input has been.  She often helps me see his side in things.  She also has given me understanding as to how to care for my son who has her same temperament.  He needs space and time to sort things out.  I forget that sometimes as I tend to be an out-loud and “together” processor.  I want him to come sort things out with me and he wants to fly to Pluto or somewhere remote enough so he can regroup before having to interact with anyone.

I think the deepest longing of the Melancholy may be having personal space.  It isn’t that they dislike people.  They need time to get things right and to process situations which disappoint them.  Because they are deep thinkers, they like to sort through their thoughts, ponder life and consider options without interruption.  If you are able to give your melancholy some regular quiet time and possibly teach them the personal habit of keeping a journal, you will bless them immensely.  Having their own room can be the ideal set-up so that they have a place to go where no one is allowed to barge in on them.  If this isn’t feasible in your home, set aside a corner of your room or a space in the house where the melancholy can take a retreat from having to be among people all the time. 

child thinking
Draw out the strengths in your melancholy child by giving them ample time to complete tasks and praising them for thoroughness and attention to detail.  When they are old enough to learn about personality types, give them a list of the strengths and weaknesses in their personality and the personalities of others around them.  They will internalize this information and probably enjoy learning it quite a bit.  Be sure to emphasize to your melancholy the strengths you see in them such as loyalty, thoroughness, self-sacrifice and a sense of justice.  It will be important to teach your melancholy how to let go and drop issues and especially important to teach them the fine art of forgiveness.  Because of their propensity to hold a grudge, you will want to help them remember their own need for forgiveness while helping them look at the positive and redeeming traits in people with whom they are upset.  Drawing on their natural bent towards compassion and concern can help them overcome feelings of resentment towards others.  

one to one time

Because of the way the melancholy prefers solitude or one-to-one time with people, it can be helpful to schedule intentional time with this child on a “date” several times a month.  Spend time doing something your melancholy enjoys together.  Pouring individualized attention into your melancholy child shows them love in a way they can really feel.  As with all the unique personalities God made and put together in your family, the melancholy has such precious qualities.  Celebrate the special ways God made each of your children and provide them the specific care each of their personalities need.  You will find that your children flourish as you take into consideration their temperament as you parent. 


I want to thank you for joining me for this series on Parenting Your Child’s Personality.  I pray it blessed you and helped you discover specific ideas for parenting each of your children.  If you want to read all the posts in this series, you can find them on the Parenting Page here at Hearts Homeward.  Next week I will be talking about Enduring Difficult Seasons of Parenthood.  You are always welcome here and I love hearing from you, so please feel free to comment here or on the Hearts Homeward Facebook Page.

photo credit: morguefile.com

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