Monday, November 22, 2010

Understanding Your Child's Temperament

When a second or third child is born, many parents immediately know that everything they thought they had figured out about parenting had just gone out the window. While siblings come from the same parents and environment, there is often little about each of their personalities that are in common. Each child has a different temperament and every parent learns this quickly. Learning about their temperaments and how to manage children’s differences can be quite an adventure.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.