What is your child’s personality type? Psychologists and social workers will tell you there are four basic personality types. Most people fit into one of these four categories, or exhibit a combination of two or more — usually with a strong leaning toward one of them.

It may be helpful to realize what personality types your children are because you can predict more easily how they are going to act and react to the world around them. I’ve stated before that we are all unique individuals, and no one fits a cookie-cutter mold, but these are generally true.

Sanguine. A sanguine person is extroverted, meaning he or she is outgoing. He is entertaining, enthusiastic, expressive, cheerful, spontaneous, active, comical and gracious. But he may be forgetful, careless, wild, unorganized, loud or emotional. He is a talker.

Choleric. This is also an outgoing personality. But a choleric person is efficient, courageous, confident, a leader, a winner, firm, independent, outspoken, competitive. But he may demanding, impatient, frank, boastful, materialistic, obsessive, domineering, stubborn and unemotional. He is a doer.

Melancholy. This person is introverted, meaning he is not as outgoing. He is accurate, analytical, musical, smart, loyal, faithful, serious, disciplined and cultured. But he may be cautious, judgmental, unforgiving, critical, intense, moody, inflexible or vindictive. He is a thinker.

Phlegmatic. Also introverted, he is agreeable, hesitant, reserved, has a dry humor, accommodating, quiet, respectful, conforming, kind, supportive and calm. But he may be bashful, shy, a worrier, a procrastinator, insecure and soft-spoken. He is a watcher.

Here, then, are some tips to help you more effectively communicate with friends, co-workers and family members who fit each of these personality categories:

Sanguine: Be personable and friendly, avoid too much detail in conversation, maintain a warm, sociable atmosphere.

Choleric: Be to the point, businesslike and well prepared, supply facts and figures, talk in terms of results, reduce competition, offer options when possible.

Melancholy: List pros and cons, use tangible evidence for your assertions, back up what you say with testimonials from others.

Phlegmatic: Start with personal compliments, look for areas of common interest, talk more casually then with the other personalities, help them reach goals and not procrastinate, recognize they may move slowly and cautiously, show them specific solutions to dilemmas.

As you studied these personality types, did you find your children? I think I can see where my kids would go, at least in general. Did you find your spouse? What about you? Did you find yourself? I think I lean toward being phlegmatic. Sometimes it’s helpful to consider what personality types you and your family members are. It may help you understand each other better and respond more appropriately.

The Rev. Craig Harris is pastor at Montalba Christian Church and is employed as the Parent Involvement Coordinator for Palestine Independent School District. Contact Harris at http://www.sycamoretreepublishing.com

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