What Are 4 Types of Child Personalities?

Medically Reviewed on 6/25/2021
Everyone is born with a distinct personality type and unique characteristics. The four personality types according to Hippocrates are choleric, sanguine, melancholic and phlegmatic.
Everyone is born with a distinct personality type and unique characteristics. The four personality types according to Hippocrates are choleric, sanguine, melancholic and phlegmatic.

Everyone is born with a distinct personality type and unique characteristics. Knowing your child’s temperament can help you understand why your child does the things they do. It may even help you solve behavioral problems. Hippocrates has categorized personalities into four broad types. Your child may have characteristics belonging to different groups. Strict categorization may not always be justified. However, often, the child may show the qualities of one specific personality type more prominently than others. The four personality types according to Hippocrates are

1. Choleric

  • This personality type is passionate, outspoken, competitive, determined, strong-willed and adventurous.
  • Usually, choleric are goal-oriented and may be very logical and analytical. They may not be particularly social.

2. Sanguine

  • This type is lively, playful, imaginative, talkative and sociable.
  • Sanguine kids may be carefree, optimistic, adventurous and not afraid of risks.
  • These children might get bored easily and have a hard time without entertainment.

3. Melancholic

  • This personality type is deep, detailed, respectful, tidy, careful and fond of traditions.
  • They are also social and want to be helpful.
  • These children are not as fond of adventure or risks as other personality types.

4. Phlegmatic

  • This personality type is thoughtful, attentive, controlled and diplomatic.
  • Kids with phlegmatic personality types often need close personal relationships.
  • They are loyal, avoid conflict and enjoy helping others.

The four categories may also be simplified.

Extraversion or introversion

  • This category describes a child's focus (inner or outer).
  • Extraverted children are outgoing and talkative, whereas introverts are more reserved and self-reflective.

Sensing or intuition

  • This category has to do with how children perceive the world around them.
  • Sensing individuals are more likely to focus on reality and information at face value (what they can see and hear).
  • Intuitive individuals are more likely to envision alternatives or hidden possibilities and tend to focus more on the bigger picture rather than concrete details.

Thinking or feeling

  • Children in the thinking category are more factual and prefer to make decisions with logical reasoning.
  • Feeling individuals are more likely to be empathetic, recognizing the impact of emotions on decisions.

Judging or perceiving

  • Individuals in the judging category believe in firm rules, organization and planning.
  • Perceiving individuals prefer a blank canvas, leaving their options open for whatever direction life takes them.

Personality is speculated to continue to develop throughout several stages from infancy to adolescence. However, research has identified three personality types that are displayed quite early in life as young as preschool age. These three types persist throughout adulthood. Besides, some speculate that these different personality types lead to different outcomes in various areas, such as school, socialization, behavior and self-esteem. The three personality types with their associated traits are

1. Resilient

  • Extraverted
  • Conscientious
  • Good at modulating emotions
  • Bounce back from adversity
  • Self-confident
  • Positive orientation toward others

2. Over controlled

  • Shy
  • Self-conscious
  • Uncomfortable around strangers
  • Low receptivity and openness to try new things and constructive feedback from others
  • Low flexibility
  • Inhibited emotional expression and low emotional awareness
  • Low connectedness with others
  • Perfectionistic

3. Under controlled

  • Disagreeable
  • Lack self-control
  • Low conscientiousness
  • Low impulse control
  • Emotionally dysregulated
  • Aggressive

Just as no two kids are the same, no two parenting techniques should be the same either. It’s important to identify children’s personality types to know what they need to thrive. Sometimes, the temperaments of parents and their children seem to fit well together. For other families, they are the source of endless conflict. It would undoubtedly be challenging to have a highly active child living with relatively low-energy parents in a cramped apartment. However, it’s important to remember that children can’t change their temperaments easily. An understanding of the aspects of your child’s personality, which are beyond their control, can lead you to a greater understanding and acceptance of your child as they are.

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Medically Reviewed on 6/25/2021
Raising Children Network (Australia): "Temperament: What It Is and Why It Matters." https://raisingchildren.net.au/newborns/behaviour/understanding-behaviour/temperament

Developmental Science: An Advanced Textbook: "The Individual Child: Temperament, Emotion, Self, and Personality." http://local.psy.miami.edu/faculty/dmessinger/c_c/rsrcs/rdgs/emot/Thompson_Chapter9_2011.pdf

Young Minds Network: "Describing Your Child's Personality — The Dangers of Using Labels." https://youngmindsnetwork.com.au/describing-your-childs-personality-the-dangers-of-using-labels/