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Melancholic or perfect

The melancholic temperament is not a natural shining star in today's speedy, market-oriented world. And this might be difficult for some parents who want a go-getter child who never complains and is always adaptable. But once upon a time, poets and writers and deep thinkers were the highest respected members of society. Where would we be without the literature and philosophy of history? The attention-to-detail and caring aspects of the melancholic temperament will also bring great satisfaction and success, especially if they are encouraged and not handled harshly. Melancholic children of course also laugh and have fun. They fight and they run and wrestle.  We all have melancholic parts to our temperaments, an aspect that allows even the strongest me-focused choleric to become a caring and mature grown-up. In different phases of life, too, the melancholic parts in each of us will become stronger. For example, in the time typically known as 'middle-age' even the strongest sanguinic will suddenly find him or herself reflecting upon life and feeling more deeply than ever before. Parents of children with a large melancholic portion to their temperament can also reflect upon their own temperament, for a sanguinic parent will have very different conflicts and issues with a melancholic child than will a phlegmatic parent with a melancholic child. It can be very helpful to understand these dynamics.

"Melancholic children tend to be naturally thin for some reason, and they tend to be very empathetic. They are difficult to excite, but once an impression is implanted, it grows so deep that it is almost impossible to erase. This quality is key to understanding and guiding him or her. With pleasure, they study the past and look to the future, wanting to know the reasons for the way things are. Melancholics love solitude, and are introspective. They often have a sharp and well-developed intellect, are careful and detailed. They are compassionate, soft-hearted and sympathetic. They are trustworthy friends. When in love, they are very attached and are easily hurt by coldness or ingratitude. This is the disposition of sublime poets, artists, profound thinkers, the greatest inventors, legislators, and spiritual giants.

One mother's story:

"This child needs a steady rhythm or routine, where she is secure in the knowledge that after waking up she’ll be asked to get dressed, then she’ll have breakfast, then chore time, then school etc. I even warn her when it is Friday that Saturday is coming and remember there is no school, and give her an idea of what we’ll be doing. I find this particularly hard as I have a Sanguine Temperament, and love nothing better than to wake up and think, “So what shall we do today?” go to Our Home School Journey

They have a propensity to magnify difficulties and lose confidence. They may have problems articulating ideas and feelings. Melancholics hesitate to begin projects - "there might be too many problems." They hesitate to make decisions because there are too many considerations. Projects get postponed, and then they become even more time-consuming and onerous. They need time to consider every angle and if asked to answer quickly and without preparation, may become flustered and frightened. They may stutter, say the wrong thing, leave ideas unfinished. Although they are naturally reserved, that modesty is compounded by exaggerated anxiety about the possibility of disgrace and so they may let others less talented be promoted ahead. Then they feel resentment that, if not checked, can become entrenched. In the future, they may grow suspicious of others because of incidents like this.

Parenting a Melancholic

A child with a melancholic temperament is especially affected by how he physically feels. Be sure he eats well, exercises and gets plenty of rest. It would help to cultivate whatever spirituality is comfortable in the family, for melancholics have a strong inclination to meditate, pray, or care for others. Point out the good in others and remind him no one is perfect. Emphasize charity. This will also combat his natural tendency to focus on himself. Keep in mind that this is not selfishness.

This child needs cheerfulness. Be optimistic...kind...friendly. Urge him on. Try to help him see the glass as half-full. Melancholic children need to recall, especially if they are down about themselves, "I may be seeing things too darkly." "It is not as bad as I imagine."

As a parent, do not let yourself become discouraged by constantly having to help him re-focus. It is absolutely necessary with this personality. Have faith. He will learn how to cope, but until he does, it is the responsibility of the parents.

Keep him busy but not overwhelmed. Teach him to pay attention to and use his five senses. Especially watch for proper pronunciation of words. Harshness is not useful. Because he takes everything to heart and is very sensitive, severe or rough punishment only harms the melancholic. It can cause obstinacy, excessive reserve or bitter resentment. Discipline with firmness, but also understanding and kindness. go to Homeschool Living



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