If I were to ask you, what it looks like to love your kids well, what would you say? Some of you might say that providing food, clothing, and a safe home shows your kids that you love them. Some of you might say spending quality time together as a family or speaking words of affirmation over your kids are ways you can show them they are loved. I want to share with you what I’ve been learning about loving my kids well and touch on one specific area on which we can focus.
In her book, A Confident Mom, Simple Ways To Give Your Child What They Need Most, Renee Swope shares different needs that all children have. She offers practical tips on how to meet those needs while also building Godly characteristics within our children. She says,
“We can develop the gold of God’s character in our children’s hearts by offering them the ingredients of encouraging words, God’s Word, and an emphasis on character in an environment of acceptance, approval, affirmation, and unconditional love under the conditions of heart connection, belonging, affirmation, listening, quality time, patience, awareness, an accurate portrayal of God’s goodness and grace, fun and loving biblical discipline, the power of apology, and forgiveness.”
By providing the right ingredients in the right environment under the right conditions, we can love our kids exactly as God has called us. So what are some of these needs that our kids have?
One need your child has is to feel known, understood and completely accepted for who he is. We are reminded in the book of Psalm, that each of our children were carefully and uniquely created exactly as God intended.
“For You shaped [my child], inside and out. You knitted [my child] together in my [own] womb long before [he] took [his] first breath. I will offer You my grateful heart, for [my child] [is] Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence;Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul. You see all things; nothing about [my child] was hidden from You as [he] took shape in secret, carefully crafted in the heart of the earth before [he] was born from its womb. You see all things; You saw [my child] growing, changing in my [own] womb; Every detail of [my child’s] life was already written in Your book; You established the length of [his] life before [he] ever tasted the sweetness of it.” Psalm 139:13-15 (VOICE; emphasis added)
Renee Swope says that as moms, we need to remember,
“Our kids are not like hotdogs. They’re like potatoes, creatively designed by God to be different.” Think about that for a moment. Hotdogs are all the same shape, the same size, and they all fit nicely in a bun. Potatoes on the other hand, come in all different sizes and shapes, some have more eyes than others, and you would be hard pressed to find two that were exactly alike. God created people just like He created potatoes. Each is unique and different in its own way.”
Renee goes on to say,
“When God created our children, He gave them individual personalities that are a unique combination of . . . desires, emotional needs, strengths, and challenges. Understanding our children’s personalities, and affirming their uniqueness, is one of the greatest gifts we can give them.”
I love that! It’s one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids. That is so true!
There are many personality tests that we could look at to better understand our kids, but the one we’ll look at today is one developed by Hippocrates. He felt that there were four general personalities that people fall into. Renee Swope explains what these four different personality types look like in our children.
The first is the Phlegmatic personality. A Phlegmatic’s number one goal in life is to have peace. Children with this personality are typically low-key and easy-going, have a good sense of humor, don’t get upset easily, and are extremely likable.
- Motto: Let’s do it the easy way
- Emotional Needs: peace and quiet, downtime, and a feeling of worth
- Strengths: Calm, peacemakers, steady, consistent, kind, and great listeners
- Challenges in Parenting: Hard to motivate, resistant to exertion, conflict avoidant, stubborn and tend to procrastinate
The second of the four personalities is the Choleric Personality. A Choleric’s number one goal in life is to be in control. Children with this type of personality are dependable, hard working, and natural born leaders. They like to have a sense of control and can be counted on to get things done. They also have strong opinions and aren’t shy about sharing them.
- Motto: Just do it
- Emotional Needs: Control, appreciation, loyalty, and getting credit
- Strengths: Organized, task-oriented, and competent – They are also gifted at seeing a situation, thinking through things, and coming to a right conclusion
- Challenges in Parenting: Overly determined, stubborn, and strong-willed – They want to be in control and do things their own way, which sometimes comes across as bossy, rude, and inconsiderate
The third personality is the Sanguine Personality. A Sanguine’s number one gaol in life is to have fun. Children with this type of personality are energetic, loving, adventurous, and fun. They enjoy quality time with friends and family, enjoy being the center of attention, and are often very entertaining.
- Motto: Let’s do it the fun way
- Emotional Needs: Attention, affection, and a sense of approval
- Strengths: Ability to make friends quickly, a great sense of humor, and storytelling abilities – They can charm their way into all kinds of situations and out of all kinds of trouble
- Challenges in Parenting: Attention-seeking, which can overshadow others – They tend to back out of commitments if they aren’t fun, and they are sensitive to criticism and take it extremely personally
The last of the four personalties is the Melancholy Personality. A Melancholy’s number one goal is perfection. Children with a melancholy personality are thoughtful, sensitive, work well alone, strive for perfection, careful, organized, and have great attention for details
- Motto: Let’s do it the right way
- Emotional needs: Sensitivity, space, solitude, and quiet
- Strengths: Able to work well alone and having an artistic sensibility along with the ability to be analytical – They love schedules, accuracy, and rules to follow
- Challenges in Parenting: Shy, clingy, perfectionistic, afraid to fail, sensitive to criticism, see problems instead of solutions, moody
Of these personality types, which one(s) do you see in your child? What do you love about your child’s personality? What challenges does your child’s personality bring?
We live in a world that holds our kids to unrealistic expectations and tells them every day that their worth is found in what they have, how popular they are, or how well they are doing compared to others. Understanding how God uniquely created our kids and offering acceptance and approval for the ways in which He created them is so important. Renee Swope says,
“The environment of our home shapes our children’s perspective of themselves, of God, and of life. Let’s create a home where our potatoes can grow in the soil of acceptance and approval. A home where they know they are loved for who they are and liked for how they are. A home where our kids, whether young or old, don’t feel pressured to be the product of their parents desires or efforts. A home where everyone’s needs and preferences are honored, and where each person is encouraged to discover and develop their unique interests, abilities, strengths, and challenges. And let’s remember our kids are in process, becoming all that God created them to be.”
Does this describe the current environment of your home? Is your home a place where your children are able to flourish and grow into the people God created them to be? Take some time to reflect on that today. Does your child feel known, understood, and completely accepted for who God created him to be?
Biblegateway. www.biblegateway.com. Accessed 13 Apr. 2022.
Swope, Renee. A Confident Mom: Simple Ways to Give Your Child What They Need Most. Revell, 2022.