Understanding The Melancholy Child

All parents will benefit from understanding the four temperaments and the strengths and weaknesses of each.  Why is that important?  Because although the biblical standard does not change, every child is unique and understanding what makes them “tick” will help you parent with wisdom.  Let’s explore the melancholy temperament and what you need to focus on in your parenting of this child to help him/her reach his God-given potential.

Melancholy people are introspective, creative, organized, punctual, reliable, and sensitive.  You might see them enjoying creative hobbies because they often have an artistic side.  Some excel in music or the arts.  Sometimes they see the glass as half-empty rather than half-full.  They are deep thinkers and they also have deep emotions which can tire them easily.  Melancholy children enjoy a routine.  They don’t mind having room time – in fact, they look forward to it!  This gives them the time and space they need for their creative juices to flow.  And they don’t mind time alone.

What do you need to focus on when parenting the melancholy child?  Consider the following:

  • Thinking on things that are true. Melancholy children need to learn at an early age to focus on things that are true. (Phil. 4:6)  If your child asks a lot of “what if” questions, remind him that things that may or may not happen in the future are not “true.”  Teaching your children simple Scripture verses is a great way to think on things that are true!

          Your word is truth!  (John 17:17)

God is love.  (1 John 4:8)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  (Proverbs 3:5)

  • Being flexible. Show your Melancholy child how to be flexible.  Things don’t always go as planned.  They need to be graceful and understanding when plans change.
  • Being cheerful. Work on cheerfulness with your Melancholy!  Melancholies have joy in their hearts but sometimes their faces forget to show it!  Singing “If you’re happy and you know it then your face will surely show it…” is a fun way to remind your child to smile.
  • Recognizing his need for space. Honor your child’s need for alone time.  This is easy to accomplish with your preschool children by scheduling in ‘room time’ each day. But as they grow and their days are filled with school and activities, be sure to encourage them to have margin in their schedules. By the way, for the home-schooled student, doing schoolwork alone in his room doesn’t count as time just “to be.”  Allow her some time and space to enjoy the quiet and just ponder.
  • Gaining self-control over his/her emotions. When your Melancholy’s emotions get out of control, a gentle reminder to fold his or her hands will help him reign them in.

Understanding your child’s personality will help you be the best parent possible, regardless of her temperament!

Bethany Mounts and her husband, Brian live in the Charleston, SC area with their three sons. They lead classes together and Bethany serves on the board for Christian Family Heritage in addition to being a Contact Mom.
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Articles and blogs from this author are the compilation of work from the organization as well as works submitted by our many volunteer guest writers.

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