A Melancholy Child

I get many letters from individuals asking about their temperaments.  This letter comes from a mother with a Melancholy child.  Remember that a Melancholy temperament is very organized but can be overly analytical and critical.  Here’s the letter:

“Good Day, I have looked at your website and found many interesting facts about the various personalities.  I have a 10 year old very COMPLEX boy.  He is most definitely a Melancholy child.  Please advise me as to how I can get the most out of him, for him to eventually WANT to do things for himself, e.g. school work, sports, etc.  It seems as if he goes through cycles of really not liking himself.  He accepts compliments very skeptically.  Thank you, Michelle.”

My answer:  Michelle, you didn’t indicate whether you know his secondary temperament type — Phlegmatic, Sanguine or Choleric.  His age tends to magnify the problem as he is about to enter adolescence which is a difficult time for the happiest of children.

A Melancholy is usually analytical and critical of others but not of themselves.  If he is not naturally outgoing (possibly a Phlegmatic secondary) he needs to have some sort of peer group where he receives positive attention, activity and feedback.  It probably seems like a cliche but activites such as Tae Kwon Do or other martial arts seem to excel in this type of activity.

If he’s musically inclined, get him a guitar and some lessons.  Again the point being to give him feelings of accomplishment and to focus his attention more outwardly.

Whatever you can come up with to give him a feeling of success and divert his attention from himself should have the effect of gradually raising his self-concept.  At the same time I would avoid competitive groups wehre he will have the tendency to be self-critical (sport teams for example).

Don’t expect this to be an overnight change — realize his temperament is inborn and that his personality is temperament plus his life experience and circumstances.  The only part you can influence directly are the latater two.

1 thought on “A Melancholy Child”

  1. I am so glad to see someone who rgioenczes my pet peeve. Personality tests! I have taken them so many times and still get frustrated. Am I answering this question because of who I really am meant to be or because of what my background and environment have pushed me into? And if its the latter does that mean I have failed in becoming who God intended? Who am I really? What do I do with the emotions that I don’t like about myself and wished I didn’t have? Should I just thank God for the desired and undesired parts of myself because He allowed my past to be what it was to help mold me into who I should be because He knows the end from the beginning? What about the choices I made despite knowing better? I really think God shapes and molds us with what we give him and allow him to use. My past has lots of things I wish weren’t there, some not my fault and some are. But it has made me who I am. I’ve learned from my mistakes, and have become a very compassionate person because of things I went through and I can very quickly empathize with others. So I say don’t squish me in a personality box with neat little sections. I have mixed qualities and am doing my best to allow God to sharpen those that need to be and soften the others that need to be toned down. Now if only I had a magic eraser to erase a few myself that get in the way of letting Him work in me. . It’s a good thing I don’t have a blog I think I’m too transparent

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