Bonnie Kiser, MS, LMFT
Animal Temperaments in Children
  • Friendly and steady stream of talking
  • Nobody is a stranger
  • Loudest and most boisterous in any group of children
  • Always on stage and will show off to be the center of attention
  • Try to be obedient but are too much 'in the moment' to remember
  • Oblivious to results of their disobedience or punishment
  • Easy liars who get caught up in the bragging and exaggeration
  • People-oriented
  • Loves to share self and possessions but very angry when crossed
  • Angry explosions erupt with later apology and asking for forgiveness
  • Emotions may be high or low, laughter or tears in moments
  • Often have difficulty in school because of their restlessness
  • Tend to struggle with following through on good study habits
  • Have a need for instant self-gratification and have little self-control
  • Tend to be followers
What can a parent do to help the child with an otter temperament?

Help your child develop good work habits. Otters especially need to be loved and accepted by their families. Although they help to create it, otters are adversely affected by chaos. They may withdraw when their parents argue. Otters will look for love somewhere else, if they do not find it at home. Especially during their teenage years, they need careful guidelines and limits, as they are not able to self-regulate very well.
  • Loudly and angrily defies in what he says and does or does not do
  • Strong leader, always wants to be in charge
  • Says what (s)he thinks even if it may be offensive or hurtful
  • Tests everyone to see how far (s)he can go
  • Likes being productive
  • Will lie to get around the rules
  • Will lie to sidestep being told 'No"
  • Has great difficulty admitting when (s)he is wrong
  • When taking a stand for or against, seldom will back down
  • Self-sufficient and independent
What can a parent do to help the child with a lion temperament?

Help your child develop leadership traits in positive settings. Help him/her with identifying responsibilities and leadership that are age-appropriate. It will be important to allow him/her to be in charge of some areas. Realize that repenting and asking for forgiveness are very difficult. Give your child choices to help him/her 'tell the truth' and own up to being wrong, i.e: "Do you want to admit to what you did wrong before dinner or after?" Teach your child abstinence and values at an early age; if sold on it, (s)he will lead others to follow. After about age 12, it is very difficult for a lion to accept help and support from others.  
  • Deep and creative thinker
  • Sensitive to the point of being easily hurt and feeling others do not like him/her
  • Often suffer with extreme feelings of inferiority
  • Does not handle criticism well
  • Make live in a make-believe, fantasy world even beyond what is typical
  • Blames others for their mistakes or disobedience
  • More inclined to use drugs or alcohol to alleviate feeling depressed
  • Sets very high goals for him/herself, but gets depressed if not reached
  • Overly conscientious wanting everything to be nearly perfect
  • Rarely an average child due to his/her great strengths and debilitating weaknesses
What can a parent do to help the child with a beaver temperament?

Be especially considerate of your child's tendency to feel inferior, even though (s)he may have excelled in an activity or sport. What may appear to you as a parent that you are just telling him/her how it is, the 'facts' often seem to the beaver child as criticism. This child has great potential, but needs much help and understanding in order not to grow up as pessimistic, self-pitying, and self-deprecating. Accepting his/her own abilities and that no one is perfect are extremely important. Be aware of sudden changes in grades or behavior as this child is more prone to experiment with drugs, alcohol, and sex to overcome feeling depressed. Check it out if you have suspicions, but be careful in approaching the subject with your child until you are sure. If you don't have the info and the facts and your accuse your child who is not doing anything inappropriate, your credibility as his/her supporter will bottom out and be seen as criticism and expectation of failure.
Golden Retriever:
  • Naturally quiet, easygoing, calm
  • May be slow to talk, only because (s)he is a spectator
  • Usually a slower eater, who enjoys rearranging the food on his/her plate
  • Places little importance on eating unless it is a favorite food
  • Introvert
  • Lack of motivation
  • Seems to never be in a hurry
  • Tends to back out of a situation rather than lie
  • Stingy and selfish
  • Tends to pull his toys around him to protect and control them
  • Often teases either to just enjoy it or to get even
  • Will tease siblings until they give up or lose control
  • Easily led by peers
What can a parent do to help the child with a retriever temperament?
Because your retriever child is easily led by peers, be very aware of his/her friends and who they are, what they do, and how they treat adults. You can easily take this child out to eat because even though (s)he may not eat well, the rest of what is going on will entertain him/her. The introvert part of this child may have him/her withdrawing from group activities, so you will need to encourage participation. This will help your child have friends who are a good influence. The best thing that you can model and teach is self-motivation and self-discipline.
What about some blends, since very few people are one temperament only?
Otter and Lion:
  • Extrovert, needing activity and excitement, loves to have fun
  • Participant rather than observer
  • Giant ego, speaking with authority even if (s)he has little knowledge
  • Obnoxious and pushy
  • Natural ‘con artist’ going from anger to tears of repentance in four seconds
Parents: build his character and develop his much-needed art of self-discipline
Otter and Beaver:
  • Very apt to be involved in acting, public speaking, or music – usually an audience
  • Most likely to be uninhibited performer w/natural enjoyment of music
  • Prone to be a fantastic fibber w/stories so outlandish can’t be true
  • Quite capable at making parent feel guilty for administering punishment
  • Socially conscious, well-liked by friends
Parents: often reassure her of your love and approval and her ability to achieve
Otter and Retriever:
  • Loveable, affectionate, happy little busybodies that rarely cause trouble
  • Interest span is short-lived, easily distracted
  • In school seldom seems to reach his potential – ‘too much effort’
  • Usually very funny and delights in making others laugh
  • Least likely to plan for the future or worry about the past.
Parents: help him learn early to have self-control and self-discipline.
Lion and Beaver:
  • Often not loving, dispensing affection when (s)he is in the mood
  • Prone to be angry and tends to exaggerate hurts, insults, or problems
  • Often very demanding and clingy
  • Does not like to share his toys, room, or personal effects
Parents: guide her to control her tongue, her anger, and her sarcastic attitude
Lion and Retriever:
  • Deliberate and organized in everything he does
  • Usually dependable and hardworking
  • Difficult to get her to change her mind once it is made up
  • Is not good at apologizing when he makes a mistake
  • Can be self-motivated and goal-oriented
Parents: give them lots of love and consistent discipline
  • Will either get along well with other children or not play with them at all
  • Would sleep and daydream all the time if allowed
  • May be an emotional ‘clinger’
  • May use ‘hurt expressions’ to avoid punishment for rebellion, defiance, or sass
  • May take forever to eat dinner or put toys or clothes away
Parents: give love, discipline, acceptance and help develop social skills

I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.

Michael J. Fox
Home | About | Articles | Resources | Links | FAQs | Contact
Copyright ©2007 Bonnie Kiser, MS, LFMT.  All rights reserved.