In this day and age, it is important to understand personalities. This has become necessary as people are getting more and more isolated – conferences replaced with virtual meetings, classroom lectures replaced with online classes among others.
Understanding the different temperaments is a needed skill as you get to meet people less and less physically. This can be challenging for some sets of people- the parent, the teacher, the spouse and the co-worker. These are the people who will spend the most time of their lives with the individual (even when s/he becomes an adult).
Among other temperaments, the focus will be on the phlegmatic Child, also referred to as the even-tempered child.
So, let’s begin with parents and teachers who help to form the growing years of phlegmatic children. How these kids are treated goes a long way in affecting their adulthood.
For a previous write-up on how to care for the melancholy child, click here.
As is the case with each temperament’s dominant bodily fluid, the phlegm creates qualities that are endearing as well as qualities that frustrates the opposite temperaments. On the admirable side, the phlegmatic child is persuasive, emanate human warmth and ease. But on the other hand, that child can be perceived as lazy and self-indulgent. A clear understanding of this personality type will help anyone appreciate and support the child and the adult s/he will become.
In the past, phlegmatic people were easy to identify because of the typical rounded, often plump, physique, which is distinct from the stocky, muscular choleric, or the slender, tall sanguine (this is not in every case though). Today, despite the fact that parents are watchful of their children’s physique, widespread obesity has made children, even adults who are not by nature phlegmatic to appear to be one and it has been argued that such people tend to have some of the typical phlegmatic traits.
The Phlegmatic loves ease and comfort. Imagine this scene; good food, a comfortable chair by the fire, a beautiful room, and pleasant company. They are skilled at enjoying the very good things of life and thus tend to be happy people. Humour and joy come pretty easy to them. While the choleric lives for action, the sanguine for attention, and the melancholic for perfection and safety, the phlegmatic is content to sit by quietly and to relish the fine pleasures the world has to offer.
The Phlegmatic is typically a thoughtful, reflective person, though not too inward, as can be similar with the case of the melancholic. The phlegmatic is patient and careful and will ruminate before leaping. It is said that, of all the temperaments, the phlegmatic has the capacity to enjoy a rich inner life and balanced involvement with the inner and outer worlds.
What parents should note about the phlegmatic child:
The child would seem a slow-paced introvert who prefers to blend into the background but note that that child is people-oriented with a kind and docile nature. His or her relaxed and patient attitude could seem passive. Children with this temperament will seldom try new things on their own and do not show much emotion. The go-with-the-flow attitude s/he possesses makes for great team playing, yet that child is vulnerable to peer pressure. Since the child thrives in a peaceful, tranquil environments, conflict and pressure upset them.
Phlegmatics are “easy children” in that they are eager to please people and not prone to defiance. However, their passivity tends to make them difficult to mobilise and their tricky to understand. While caring for one, ensure that they feel appreciated and loved and give them ample quality and quiet time. Don’t criticise their “slowness”. Rather provide them space to process and react in their own time while motivating them to get important things done, or even just started for that matter. They need to be pushed to be punctual. Try to protect them from too much pressure while teaching them how to cope in a busy world, to stand their ground, to handle conflict and not be pushed over or seduced by others. Also, encourage them to verbalise their feelings.
Lastly, if there are more lively and forceful personalities in the home, ensure that they feel safe after conflict and attempt to maintain the peace.
So, if you have been doing it the wrong way, it’s time to make it right.
Are you on the phlegmatic side of personalities? Tell us more about you in the comment section.