Monday, April 9, 2018

A Study of My Children!

Of our five children, three are extraverted in temperament which is overwhelming at times for me and my husband who are definitely quiet people.  But it is exactly how our family is meant to be and it fascinates me more everyday to see the development of little people and the different chemistry forming between them.

Our family is Irish, German and Polish from my husband and English, Scottish, Slovak and Polish on my side and of course very American too, so our children are an interesting combination of tendencies from these heritages...

The only obvious German influence in my husband is that he is very smart mechanically and needs his sleep!  Oliver has definitely inherited both these traits.  The other German tendency is to efficiency, to get right to the point, especially in Thomas, Beatrice and Becky.  I think this is American though as well.  The Polish influence seems to be that we are political, traditional and tend to be homebodies for sure.  The Irish (which I like to criticize since I am not) is the family-friendly easy going ambiance that is okay with messy.  I told my husband that it must be Irish that he is fine with 3 babies in our bed or grew up with 11 people using 1 bathroom.  But he lives in the moment, he doesn't stress, he figures things out and I wish so much sometimes that I was like this too!   He is often a better homemaker than I am, as much as I hate to admit it.  In our children: Thomas is an absolute Irish showboat and Becky has the beautiful hospitable nature.  The Irish can be independent, rebellious and flamboyant (and that's hard for me because I like quiet, tradition and orderliness).  My husband does not have these bad tendencies at all possibly because he is so phlegmatic, but I see them in the children already!  He is naturally composed and very calm which is the greatest attribute I need in him.  The English and Scottish has strongly taken root in me...I like structure, propriety and politeness, gossip like a British drama, have a distance and coldness without meaning to, am slightly territorial and I am naturally frugal like both my Polish and my Scottish Grandma.  I have also inherited the gloominess, negativity and criticism of the Czech/Slovak/Polish stereotype just like all my Slovak Uncles which is funny because I appreciate it sometimes!  And yes, combined with my melancholic temperament I usually look on the dark side and love to overanalyze.

Our oldest, Thomas, has a temperament that is melancholic/choleric and I admire his ability to convince himself easily of the truth.  He does not worry much although he looks to understand everything, which can be frustrating at six years old!  I feel some pressure to explain things properly to him and in a way that encourages his natural tendency to marvel at the Truth.  He easily takes charge but is usually very dreamy and emotional, especially when he is tired and this is probably going to be difficult for him throughout his life since he can't help but feel everything so deeply.

Beatrice is definitely the most opposing temperament of her parents; she is the exact opposite of my husband.  She is choleric; determined, brave, confident, argumentative, loud, strong-willed, in charge...  I knew she was choleric when I found myself saying in desperation fifty times a day, "Beatrice, stop yelling!"  She bangs doors when she enters and breaks dishes often.  I admire her most of all the children for her energy and strength!  She can do anything if she believes in it and never wastes any time getting into action (I am opposite in that I imagine all the possible disasters until they paralyze me into never getting started)!  She is so independent and defensive of her beliefs and her brothers and sisters.  This is a great quality of a Christian in today's world and one that I wish I naturally had!

Rebecca is our sanguine, happy-go-lucky daughter.  She is definitely the sunshine on the gloomy introverts. She will almost always enter a room giggling about anything.  I am so grateful to God for making the sanguine baby for our family!  I get frustrated with her more than any other child however, because she cannot understand the deep, detailed and methodical approach of my melancholic mind.  For her, I need to make things fun.  "Do you want to take a bath with lots of pretty bubbles?"  Instead of, "Time for bath and bed.  You are all too grumpy!" which somehow motivates Tom and makes Beatrice yell, "No we are not!"

Oliver is our phlegmatic which I really think can be a very masculine temperament.  He makes no fuss and yet is attached to his way of doing things.  He is surprisingly smart to understand things, but slow.  He is always calm and quiet, but gets discouraged easily and might be tempted to give up on things or be disloyal.  He is not motivated so we have to encourage him a lot.  He prefers to sit all day and watch the wheels turn on his toy trains or throw rocks into the creek (I think he would continue for hours if I let him).  I am convinced that someday he should take up fishing, he is so well suited to it!  He is very content in his own environment and a constant reminder to me that happiness is right here around us.

Henry is probably choleric because he reacts quickly, yells a lot, is very friendly and talkative, enjoys new things.  I do think he has a sanguine side too but he's not as sweet natured as Becky so probably a future fighter with his sister Beatrice.  He looks at me with a wrinkled nose because he is always so frustrated that he can't get what he wants now!  Sometimes he looks like he thinks he could do it better than me (he is 1) which is definitely a choleric trait!

If you have read this far, you're a real fiend!  I would love to hear what you know about temperaments and your advice about how they relate to one another.  It is so fascinating and fun to see the development of my children and also a great responsibility to figure out how to guide them!


  1. This was such a fun post! I love studying the four temperaments (it's kind of a hobby of mine...) and observing them in my family and friends. Thanks for an enjoyable read!


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