Can Your Temperament CHANGE?

“Is it possible my TEENAGER’S temperament has changed?”

My first response: “A temperament is a pre-disposition.  A person is born with primarily two dominant temperament types (out of four) – and they are his/hers for life.”

A temperament can certainly take on different appearances, however, depending on age, living conditions, changes in life and various situations. The temperament does not change. BUT, one may notice new behavior, because circumstances have changed.

The most important information to remember-temperaments are transformed when you include God in the equation!

Each temperament has positive and negative characteristics.  So, when God takes over a temperament, He evens out the negatives and enhances the positives, using their finest qualities for His Glory. God created us, and our temperaments; therefore, it makes perfect sense to give Him the reigns if we want successful lives!

The mom, who prompted this post, asked me, “Now that my sweet daughter is a teenager, she is suddenly belligerent! She has turned into a totally different person. She refuses to talk to, or acknowledge, me or her dad because we have new cell phone rules in the house! Has her temperament changed?”

First, I asked if the teen’s normal personality is outgoing or quiet. Two temperaments are quiet, two loud, so this narrows the playing field.

“She has always been a perfect, sweet, quiet child, and she is still nice to everyone else. She gets fairly good grades, but is pretty laid back about school.” Her mom went on, “She is a peacemaker with her friends and lots of fun. Suddenly, now at home, she refuses to answer us or talk to us since she doesn’t like our new rules! She is carrying her meals to her room! It’s like she is throwing a quiet tantrum! We feel paralyzed because she is not talking back or being disrespectful to us; so, we can’t give her any consequences.”

My guess is the teenage daughter is a dominant GREEN temperament. GREENS are mostly described as “nice, fun, easy going and quiet” people.  BLUES are also quiet, but much more intense, very serious about school and “fun” is not a primary characteristic.

Her teen’s sudden belligerence is surfacing because she doesn’t like her parents’ new rules. I advised the mom to sit down and have a conversation with her, letting her know she understands her daughter’s temperament, and is aware of her reaction to not getting her way. And, from now on, she is to obey the house rules. Meals are eaten at the dinner table – or, she can go without the meal – her choice.  Also, the silent treatment is actually extremely disrespectful and not allowed. Consequences for such behavior will be set.

The mom was thrilled to understand her daughter’s temperament! She now has tools to use in communicating with her!  Obviously I had only tapped the surface, but the mom was excited to read further about the positives and negatives of her teen’s temperament.

GREENS are the nicest people in the world.  Because they are quiet, everyone thinks they have no faults. (I have a GREEN brother-in-law who, after knowing him for 40 years, still seems to have no faults!)

One negative of a GREEN temperament is a deep, determined, strong will! They will quietly get their own way! If not, they will quietly withhold communication and intimacy. Once again, most people would never see this side of a GREEN because they are so nice about it!

Teenagers keep the same temperaments they received at birth. As their hormones’ change, behavior can change also, but it is usually not the fault of the temperament.

Children, given permission to be themselves, display various temperament traits early on, however, negative traits are quickly noticed:

REDS– are strong children, bossy and argumentative as early as two years old. They want to do things themselves! They are usually the first temperament to say NO and throw temper tantrums. They are driven, intense and focused- with a short fuse!

YELLOWS– are strong personalities who need fun, friends and attention. DRAMA fills their days. They experience the highest highs, and lowest lows! YELLOWS are very friendly, but without a moral compass- thinking nothing of breaking rules if it means having fun.

BLUES– are quiet, sensitive kids who need appreciation and time focused on them. They are hard on themselves, taking life seriously at an early age. They are planners and usually very intelligent children. They see in black and white, right or wrong!

GREENS are perfect, sweet, quiet kids who get along with everyone. GREENS are a bit cautious and take their time with everything they do. More GREEN children are taken for hearing tests than the other three temperaments, because they don’t respond quickly to their parent’s voices.

My YELLOW/RED temperament was difficult to identify when I was a young child.

I was raised in a strict home where my brother, sister and I were not allowed to be LOUD or CRAZY – OR BE IN CHARGE. We were also on our best behavior around any company who would come into our home. Our parents adhered to the old saying, “Children should be seen and not heard.”

As a child, my loud, dramatic YELLOW personality rarely surfaced in the home; because, my parents considered such behavior inappropriate. Fortunately, there were neighborhood friends who provided an outlet for some crazy birthday parties or play dates! Also, there was always recess on the school playground.

In our family, it was called “having good MANNERS.”  We were to behave at all times. We never talked back to our parents – or any other adults in our lives.

Don’t get me wrong. I am extremely grateful for our Godly parents who did their best growing us to love God. However, the three of us kids were expected to obey and react the same to all rules, even though we all had completely different temperaments. I think our parents would have enjoyed us more if they had known there was such a thing as temperaments.

Needless to say, when I moved into the college dorm after high school, my YELLOW/RED temperament came out loud and clear! Finally, I was free to be me.  Unfortunately, I made some choices that were not the greatest. Thankfully, God intervened early on so no irreparable damage was done!

Children are different from each other with their own combinations of temperament characteristics. It is so much easier to understand and communicate with a child when you know his/her temperament. Teenager or not. Knowing strengths and weaknesses of each temperament makes parenting a pleasure!

Your temperament is who you are and how God created you to be – at your best!

More questions? I would love to answer them!

Read up on the different temperaments by subscribing to my blog FREE- and taking the temperament test in my FREE eBook!!

Also Vicki Barnes book, “The Real You”!




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