Where Did I Leave that Child?
Where did I put my keys? Where did I park my car? Where did I leave my child? If you have asked yourself those questions more times than you care to remember, then you may be a forgetful Entertainer. And if you haven’t forgotten something or someone yet, but you are almost always late, you are definitely an Entertainer. Forgetfulness and lateness are a couple of the ingrained weaknesses of this temperament.
Just as we are crafted with the specific strengths of a temperament or temperaments (many of us have a major temperament and a minor) we come wired with the weaknesses too. Today we will look at many of those weaknesses as well as the emotional needs of the Popular Sanguine, also known as the Influencer from the DISC model, and the Otter from Dr. Gary Smalley’s Personality Types Inventory.
Jesus may have had ALL the personality strengths from each category and none of the corresponding weaknesses, but I am sorry to report that He is the only one. The rest of us must manage around our weaknesses. And as moms, one of the best things we can do is become a student of our children and share what you learn with them. This information will help form their God-given identity and shape their self-worth. It will give them direction and purpose and build their confidence. Knowing about their strengths also provides the padding our kiddos need to hear about their weaknesses without crumbling or getting defensive.
Research shows the greatest fulfillment in life will be found in using and developing our strengths instead of focusing on fixing our weaknesses, but if we aren’t aware of the holes in our character, those weaknesses may become obstacles that keep us from the life that we have been designed to life. And that is why it is good to understand the weaknesses of the Entertainer.
Entertainers, especially as children, are incredibly messy.
They are always on the move, and wherever they go they take stuff with them and leave it there. I have two children who struggle with this weakness and believe me, I have tried for years to help them with it. But alas, I must admit that I have not had great results. I have tried explaining the concept of organizing using the Like Goes with Like strategy: group things that are alike together. For example pens and pencils go together, underwear goes together, dishes stay in the kitchen with other dish-type items, electronic items go together, makeup goes together, you get the picture. And then I open a drawer to find their old phone charger tangled with a couple of dvds, some gum, a plate or two, odd socks and a cami, papers, notebooks, and my nail clippers. A beautiful mess.
I have also tried to help them to simplify. Entertainers should never have too many things or they will all end up in a pile in the middle of their floor. In addition to providing strategies, I have spent countless hours working alongside them to sort and order their mess, and still the weakness remains. I have learned from adult Entertainers (that sounds really sketchy, but I just mean Sanguines that have grown up) that if they simplify their desks, kitchens, or family rooms they can create an environment that is less distracting and get more done. Simplicity is an Entertainers best friend.
So in parenting Entertaining children I have taught them two things.
#1 You will need to make plenty of money working with people (which they do so well) so that you can hire a housecleaner. Entertainers keep the house cleaning industry in business. These daughters of mine have put that advice to work by using their allowance to hire their Director/Choleric sisters to help them. One day my Director/Choleric daughters will hire them to do the sales and marketing as well as the social media for all of their pursuits. Its the circle of life.
#2 While I love you Entertaining daughters, I must protect myself from your mess. When my kiddos had their own bedrooms so the mess did not infringe upon the space of their roommate, I let them live like Entertainers. And I must admit that they have quite a talent for mess. My girls can whip up a jumble of clutter in minutes. But because there were items on the floor that could cause me to trip or puncture my foot, I decided that I would not enter a messy bedroom in order to protect myself. If they wanted to keep their room in a chaotic state, no problem. I would be happy to stand outside of their room and wave them goodnight. Oh, and if they called me to find their softball socks and deliver them to practice, the answer would be NO because I might hurt myself in the pursuit of said socks and not be able to make dinner later or drive their carpool. The good news is that there have been days when the social needs of my Entertainers have compelled them to clean their rooms just so that I could sit on their beds and read them a story. I like those days the best.
Many of the weaknesses of the Entertainer revolve around the tongue and the way they use words.
Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3:5-6
Entertainers can struggle with gossip, using the story of one person to forge a relationship with another person, because they love people and their stories. And while that interest is nice, they can get really nosy. Think Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched.
I think the ancient people of Thessalonica were Spectator/Entertainers. For one, Paul had to tell them over and over to get up and get to work, a common weakness of a Spectator, but also he had to warn them to mind their own business, a common weakness of an Entertainer.
“and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,”
1 Thessalonians 4:11
In parenting this issue with my girls, I have done two things. First I have taught them the meaning of stay on your own side of the street. I have spent oodles of time teaching them to stop focusing on what others are doing because it keeps them from focusing on themselves. If they need to voice a concern or complaint, do it, and then move back to your side of the street. Learning to be responsible for their own emotions, behaviors, and thoughts only happens when they are not overly responsible for those of others.
And while it may conflict, I admit that I have done a second thing: I have appointed my Entertainer daughter to be my eyes and ears on social media. Sue me. I am a single mom and I can’t do it all.
Here are some other Entertainer tongue problems:
- Entertainers are fixers, providing unsolicited advice to anyone in earshot. They need to understand that they must first have permission to share their gift of wisdom.
- Entertainers are loud talkers. That is their inside voice. You can say “Shhhhhhh!” all you like but the volume always returns. Entertainers need to realize that their enthusiasm may make the Spectators and the Planners in their lives really uncomfortable, especially if they are your children, so tap into the Entertainer’s love for people, in order to motivate them to make a volume adjustment.
- Entertainers are over-talkers who interrupt or talk too much. Explain that others can feel ignored when there is no time for them to share. Entertainers, use your enthusiasm to gently invite the quieter gals to share. Be their advocate, but respect their desire to remain quiet. See my blog, Frequent Interruptor, http://daleskram.com/?p=205. And remember that the apostle Peter, at one time an impulsive talker, became one of God’s most effective voices after the Holy Spirit came upon him.
Entertainers really struggle with focus. They are wiggly. They may have ADHD or they may just seem like it. When asked what animal was most like her, my Entertainer daughter replied, “A squirrel.” That kiddo is so smart.
I remember attempting to teach my kids “sit time” when they were three or four years old. The hope was that with a little training, my girls would be able to sit in church or while waiting at their sister’s activities and read or color. Oh Please! This exercise is for Planner or Spectator children who love to sit. This never worked with my girls and I usually found them under the bleachers eating some random Skittles that had fallen to the floor. The answer here is to put your Entertainers in the nursery, or get a babysitter, or buy one of those child leashes (not really). Better yet get them out and take a walk, ride a bike, anything to burn off the restless energy. Keep them moving.
On the bright side, my teenage Entertainers do sit and they even read, and they didn’t come down with the plague from snacking on food off the floor.
If you are an Entertainer MOM, you will bring a ton of fun and energy into the lives of your children but you will need to be careful about being permissive and allowing your children to get away with all kinds of stuff. You need to set and hold healthy boundaries even though its not fun. You will need to say NO to your kiddos sometimes, many times, and they won’t like it. The truth is that you won’t always be liked by your children and as a lover of people and one who needs a hefty dose of approval and attention, that is a hard pill to swallow. So surround yourself with friends that will love and accept you when your children don’t.
Another temptation for an Entertainer MOM is to rush your kiddos to happy. You cannot stand ugly emotions or too much sadness because you want life to be fun. But, there is a time to weep and mourn and be angry. You cannot live in the shallow end of the pool your whole life. Make sure that you pause to recognize the feelings that your child is experiencing and validate them. Emotions don’t dissipate by ignoring them. They dissolve when kids talk about them and feel understood.
If you are the parent of an Entertainer, try to make everything in life fun, or at least appear to be fun. Put on some upbeat music and show them how fun it is to empty the dishwasher or clean a toilet. Let your child have an active social life. Plan lots of playdates or outings where they can interact with other children. And lavish them with praise. This temperament needs to hear you tell them what they did right. Make sure they know that you see them, love them, and value them every chance you get. And remind them that God feels the same way too.
If you want to discover your own temperament and how to develop your own strengths to live the life that God has given you, contact me at real.life.coaching, firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to help you thrive as your authentic self.