If you have a strong, deliberate, and melancholic child motivation can be a difficult thing. Getting them to jump in a project and get started is the hardest part, I hope these tips will help you.
Related personality posts:
- Strengths of the Confident + Take Charge Mom (and her struggles)
- Strengths of the Calm + Steady Mom (and her struggles)
- Strengths of the Strong + Deliberate Mom (and her struggles)
- Strengths of the Fun + Energetic Mom (and her struggles)
This is the last post in our series about motivating our kids. We’ve already discussed the many reasons throughout their childhood we’ll want to motivate them.
To do chores, to do homework, to make plans for their future, to go to church or join a club or be nice. Or pretty much anything.
Before we talk about how to motivate your idealistic little one, let’s review some characteristics of the melancholic serious child.
Characteristics of the Serious + Deliberate Melancholic Child:
- hates risk
- fears being wrong
- attentive to detail
- cautious and indirect
- negative attitude towards change
- sensitive to injustice
- needs a lot of information and reassurance
The biggest problem you’ll have with motivating your Strong + Deliberate child is probably getting them to start something. They are such great researchers, thinkers, and analyzers, they often freeze before action.
Perfectionism can be a real struggle with this type of personality, so here are some ways to help motivate them.
Help them see the most important
Because Strong + Deliberate children are detailed oriented, they will often see so many things they aren’t sure where to focus. They can “major in the minors” very easily and get so bogged down they find it hard to start.
With small children, this might manifest with something as simple as cleaning their room. They might not know where to begin or where to start and it can seem overwhelming.
From a young age, in age appropriate ways, help them learn to not just see the trees, but see the forest. Learn to help them major on the majors and minor on the minors. This will be a lifelong challenge, but you can set them off on the right foot.
Break it into small tasks
If your child already borders on being a “paralyzed perfectionist” the best thing you can do is to help them break larger tasks or project down into small tasks. A big school project can be broken down into steps.
Getting a job, for example, can be broken down into thinking about skills, writing a resume, making a list of potential jobs, and submitting applications.
Help teach your child to think in small steps as opposed to larger steps. While they will want and gather a ton of information, that in itself can make something become even more overwhelming since it’ll feel So Big.
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Assure them of their capability
The melancholic personality is not a naturally confident one. While they are often very intelligent, gifted even, since they are so idealistic even they fall short of their ideals. They may be the top of their class but consider themselves a failure since they did this or that that wasn’t Just Right.
When encouraging them they are capable, be sure give them sincere and specific praise for their achievements. Since they are like self-critical, be sure you are praising them for something authentic, but use any opportunity you can to show them they are capable and can do things well.
My son responds really well when I say, “This is really hard, isn’t it? Lucky for you, you can do hard things.” If I don’t acknowledge it’s hard, he’ll just use all his effort attempting to convince me he can’t do it.
Do not say “don’t worry” or “it’s nothing to be scared of”
This will not work out in your favor. If they are already worried or fearful, telling them there’s nothing to worry about will just make them think you don’t understand. Then they will tell you that you’re wrong and just don’t get it and they’ll work harder to make you think it’s bad.
Then you’ll work even harder to convince them they’re overreacting. So they’ll go even further to show you that you just don’t get it. See how this works?
If you don’t want your child to shut down – and you don’t – acknowledge their feelings without joining in their pity party. Don’t let them over empathize the fear.
Calmly and kindly let them know you get it, but spur them on towards the positive aspects of accomplishment or trying hard.
Brainstorm with, not for them
When your child is reluctant to act, or is feeling overwhelmed, try to help them brainstorm. Ask them questions to draw out their fears, worries, or concerns. If they are feeling overwhelmed or are paralyzed with the desire to do something perfect, help them to break it down.
Ask questions like….
What is the first thing you should do?
What is the worst that could happen?
Why am I feeling anxious right now?
What more information should I gather?
What would make this work even better?
You might find this child digs their heels in and is quite resistant to move. Luckily, they are idealistic, passionate, and have high goals.
With a little help, encouragement, and motivation from you, they’re set up to become adults with high standards who fight for what they believe in.
- How to motivate your Confident + Take Charge Child
- How to motivate your Calm + Steady Child
- How to motivate your Fun + Energetic Child
- How to motivate your Strong + Deliberate Child