Monday, November 22, 2010
Understanding Your Child's Temperament
All children are born with their own style of interacting with or responding to the world. In a groundbreaking study in the 1950’s, researchers identified nine temperament characteristics, or behavior traits, that clinicians and researchers continue to use today. The researchers found that these nine traits were present at birth and continued to influence development throughout life.
The nine temperament traits include a child’s activity level, their rhythm or lack of rhythm in sleeping and eating habits, and approach or withdrawal (for example, does the child shy away from new people or make friends with every stranger). Three additional temperament traits include adaptability, intensity, and a child’s typical mood.
A child’s persistence and attention span are also examined for temperament, as well as their sensory threshold, or their ability or inability to tolerate external stimuli, such as loud noises or bright lights. The final trait is distractibility; the child’s ability to shut out external distractions and stay with an activity.
As parents understand and embrace their children’s temperaments, they usually have better responses to their children, hopefully making the adventure of parenthood a more pleasant ride. More on temperament to follow on another day.