It’s no secret that every child within a family has a different personality. Whether your quiver holds 2 or 20, every arrow is different from the others.
In our quiver of 5 we have a bossy one, a quiet one, a mischievous one, an emotional one, and a babyish one. Those are just the most prominent sides of the complexity that makes up someone’s personality.
Each child also responds differently to discipline, affection, in groups, and alone. How we parent each child deeply depends on their personal traits.
Of all the kids, I would say that it is the most difficult, and also most rewarding, to parent the emotional child. The overly emotional child will often cry tears of happiness as well as sadness or embarrassment. The child is not necessarily crying tears of sadness all the time, but every emotion is heightened. The highs are higher and the lows are lower than typical.
Here are several areas where parenting is affected by the emotional state of the overly emotional child:
- Affection: Hugs are squeezier and kisses are sweeter when there is more emotion tied to them, naturally. The emotional child tends to enjoy snuggling more and is quicker with a kiss. It seems to be easier to show affection to and to get affection from this personality style. Don’t neglect the affections of this child, they will be more likely to get their feeling hurt by being pushed away.
- Discipline: It tends to be easier to discipline an emotional child, as their hearts are reached long before their bottoms are (by spanking). A raised voice could send the emotional child crying to her room, and sometimes, if left unchecked, a parent’s ill temper can cause them to become upset easily. Take time to calm yourself before administering any type of punishment (which you should do no matter the personality type) and be careful to squash their will, not their spirit. It will take less to rein in the behavior of an emotional child than it will a mischievous one. Do not however, allow the emotions to give the child permission for acting out. Discipline is necessary, you must just approach it differently.
- In groups: The emotional child doesn’t necessarily mean shy. Our emotional child is also our most outgoing and does well in groups and with other people. The differences are in how she responds to embarrassing situations. Becoming embarrassed in a group setting is much more detrimental than it would be to the bossy one or even the shy one. The bossy one can just let it roll off their sleeve, and the shy one may just withdraw even more, but the emotional child will often times cry and maybe even get mad and lash out at those who have embarrassed her, or become mad at herself if she caused her own embarrassment.
- Alone: This child may like a lot of alone time when she is feeling especially emotional. It is important to make yourself available if she wants to talk about what is bothering her, but many times they just want to be left alone. This may especially be the case if the child doesn’t understand just why she’s crying. In cases like this, give them the space to sort out their feelings, but don’t hover. It may make them even more upset to not be able to put what they are feeling into words.
I love sitting watching sappy love movies with our emotional daughter. We grab a box of tissues and cry together! I will also have to adjust our school work if she’s having an emotional day. Having an emotional child can be a huge blessing, but it also takes a bit of changes in terms of parenting.
*as a side note, do not mistake a child with depression or any other mental disorder (bipolar, etc.) for a naturally emotional child. If your child seems to exhibit any true signs of depression or mental illness, you should of course seek Biblical support of a Christian counselor who can either address the issue or recommend medical treatment in the very rare case of true mental illness. And on that same note, do not be quick to diagnose and label children who display naturally varying personality traits with mental issues and disorders.