Temperaments of children can be some of the most interesting and misunderstood parts of parenting and teaching children. Choleric children can be challenging in the home environment! Sometimes I feel as if in the home environment, we provide a plus to the choleric as it can cut down some of the frustration level. This back blog post from Waldorf Parents talks about how choleric children often don’t like clothes; crayons melt in their hands; they dive into things. These things are easily accommodated at home. Cholerics often need alone time and indepedence, which are also accommodated well at home.
The harder part of being at home with a choleric child is that I think unless other family members are choleric, it is harder for the “edges” to be rubbed off so to speak. In the classroom in a Waldorf School, children are often grouped by temperament. Cholerics do the best job softening each other just in the way they all act together. What I often find in the home environment is that the choleric enters and sometimes is the only one of that temperament in the whole family. Sometimes the parents have no idea how to meet the choleric, and things that work with other temperaments often don’t work well with choleric children.
Choleric children, like all children, take patience. They will blow up, fall apart, scream, be physical – and the best thing you can do is be calm. Firm, calm boundaries and expectations are a true necessity to help this child learn to be the master of him or herself. Speaking less words and not getting in the middle of a meltdown is best. Make sure the child is safe, and that you are safe, but cholerics usually blow through their anger and frustration fast and explosively. With time they learn how to control their emotions better so it doesn’t come out in such a bodily tornado! After they have come down off of their moment, gentle connection is key. Older children may even be embarrassed. Humor, connection and then restitution, firm boundaries, and expectations are a must. You must become an adult balanced choleric yourself in a way to model and show that. And that takes a lot of time, energy, and persistence on the part of the parent. You have to run the race next to a choleric!
After a large physical outburst, having a choleric child make restitution physically is the best way to help them. Long speeches about their behavior rarely seems to help “prevent a next time” – what prevents a “next time” is to make sure this child has plenty of physical exertion and exercise and work, a way to fix what they have done wrong, and a short sentence or two about their reaction after they have calmed down.
Meaningful work is so important for this temperament, along with encouraging following through and finishing. Sometimes choleric children have the best ideas, the best start, can really rally people around, the best leadership – but lose heart somewhere along the way to the concluding outcome unless they have a bit of phlegmatic in them. Helping them see things through when they are younger can be helpful, along with activities that have a steady in-breath and out-breath to them. These types of things can help an individual develop into a balanced choleric.
Choleric children are needed. They are our future leaders and can develop into fair and equitable adults who have hearts of gold for all kinds of wonderful causes. Help them steady themselves through their storms.