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Understanding Your Child’s Temperament

When children have personalities that are drastically different from their parents or siblings, it frequently causes a bit of frustration for everyone else, particularly the parents. If you find yourself becoming frustrated because you do not understand the temperament of your child, there are some steps you can take that will help your household to run smoother and experience more calm.


Temperament refers to the ability of a child to adapt as well as his emotional mindset. The way that your child responds to different activities and the way that he behaves in general are all good indicators of his temperament. It is important for parents to realize that this is something that all children are born with, and it is not simply a mode of behavior that can be altered to suit the lifestyle preferences of parents.


How Temperament Forms?


All children are born with a particular type of temperament. In fact, you can probably learn a lot about the temperament of your child before he is even born simply by paying close attention to his movements and activities in the womb.


When children are severely disciplined or bullied by their parents, modifications to the temperament can occur, but these actions also tend to leave emotional scarring and psychological problems that generally affect children well into adulthood. The healthy way to approach handling the temperament of your child is not by forcing him to change; it is to learn how to deal with his temperament and find constructive ways to channel his energy so that it is not disruptive to everyone else in the family.


Characteristics of Temperament


There are basically following different characteristics that are representative of the temperament of a child:


  • Distractibility
  • Adaptability
  • Mood – this refers to whether your child is positive or negative about most things
  • Sensory threshold – this is the amount of stimulation that is required in order for a child to respond
  • Attention span
  • Activity level
  • Intensity – this is the energy level a child uses when approaching various activities
  • Approach and withdrawal – this refers to the way a child initially responds to any type of new stimulus such as routines, other people, foods, or other types of changes


As a general rule, children can be classified into three fairly broad categories as far as temperament is concerned: easy, shy, or difficult. Easy children are usually positive about most everything, and they are very adaptable to new situations and experiences. Shy children are usually positive about most things, but they are slower to warm up to new people or events in their lives. Difficult children typically have a negative outlook and are very hard to please in most circumstances.


Particularly where difficult children are concerned, it is important to rule out the possibility of other problems that may be causing a child to act out. Certain types of illnesses, as well as emotional or psychological problems, can contribute to the development of difficult personality traits. If you have a child who exhibits some of the characteristics of a difficult child, you should have him examined by his doctor, as well as a psychologist, just so you can be sure of receiving an accurate diagnosis.


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