Many articles have been written on how to motivate children or students using the reward and punishment system, which deals with “external” influences on behavior. In this article we will focus on the “internal” influences on behavior, that is, the temperament of the child/student.
Temperament is something you are born with. It is part of your nature, your way of being, it is part of who you are. Your child’s/student’s temperament will determine how they act or react to different people, ideas, and situations. The idea of temperament has existed since 400 BC. C. It has been modified over the years, but is still used by psychologists and educators around the world. There are four temperaments: choleric, melancholic, sanguine, and phlegmatic. We will proceed to give a brief description of each and then briefly discuss how each temperament is best motivated.
Tea choleric child is a “take charge” person who loves to be in control. They are born leaders, full of energy and are good at setting their own goals. Because of this, motivation is usually not a problem. If so, one solution is to challenge them. Cholerics love challenges and love competition even more (against themselves but especially against others). Challenge them with something more difficult, give them a goal or a new record to set. Another difficulty in motivating cholerics is that they like to be in charge and will rebel against any type of authoritarian control. Be sure to let them maintain their sense of autonomy within your structured limits.
Tea melancholic has high ideals, is sensitive, perfectionist, introverted, analytical and slow to react. When you have trouble motivating a brooder it’s usually not because he doesn’t want to act but because he wants to do the required task perfectly. They will analyze and re-analyze a situation, aiming for their high ideal, and may never get started. The best way to motivate a brooder is to help him focus on the most important things. Help them set specific goals and let the smaller things slide. Because they are analytical, melancholies also tend to think about and worry about all the things that could go wrong. You can help them avoid obsessing over the details by setting goals and having them take one step at a time.
Some of the features of the optimistic They include: optimistic, outgoing, live in the present, a people person, enthusiastic, fun-loving, and will immediately engage. Since they are polar opposites to the brooding, you shouldn’t have too much trouble motivating them… the problem will be keeping them motivated! Since the sanguine jumps right in, they tend to skip over the details and soon run into obstacles they hadn’t thought of. Help them focus on the details and not the whole picture (just the opposite of brooding). Another thing to consider is the fact that they are fun-loving. Take the fun out of something and you take the motivation out of it. Take away doing things with other people (the social aspect) and again you will lose their motivation.
Tea phlegmatic Not easily angered, loyal, dependent, naturally cooperative, and calm under tremendous pressure. They do not like conflicts or confrontations and will avoid them at all costs. If you want to motivate a phlegmatic, never put him down or scold him. They will only withdraw into themselves and resist you even more. Since they are naturally cooperative and open to help or advice from others, simply asking nicely will be enough to motivate them. The only problem with this approach is that over time they will lose their self-confidence. By always avoiding conflict and taking the path of least resistance, they never learn to think for themselves or question anything, they just go with the flow to get along. And if you take away the person who helps or advises them, they will be prone to laziness, not because they are lazy, but because they lack self-confidence. The best way to help a phlegmatic is to encourage him and point out his strengths.
In conclusion, we can see that each temperament is very different and needs to be motivated in different ways. Get to know your child/student better to find out what temperament they have. It will take some work, but usually with careful observation over a period of time, you’ll be able to figure it out. There are also many good books written on the subject of temperament if you want to dig deeper. One final note: Temperaments generally come in combinations. Hardly anyone is 100% choleric. Most people have a primary and a secondary temperament. The secondary is not as dominant, but it can still be a factor in the equation. We hope that understanding your child’s/student’s temperament will help you understand how to motivate them!