Understanding Parents and Children’s Temperament is very important for parenting kids. Different children’s personalities need a different parenting approach. Parents can provide their best care for children with various temperamental characteristics by learning about differences in temperament.
What is temperament?
Temperament refers to individual characteristics that are assumed to have a genetic basis, determines the individual’s affective, attention and motor responses in various situations. An individual’s temperament style can be observed in infancy and remains similar throughout the life.
We know some children who are overly intense having a ”short fuse,” are easily irritated and upset. Some children are shy, uneasy in new situations. Differences in Children’s Temperament affect how children get along with their families, and also affect how they get along in school.
9 dimensions of temperament
The well-known 9 dimensions of temperament as follows were identified by psychiatrists Alexander Thomas, Stella Chess and their colleagues. These may help parents better understand your own and your Children’s Temperament and behavior.
- Sensory threshold- This refers to the amount of noise, pain, or other stimulation that causes a response on a scale from low to high sensitivity.
- Activity level-This refers to the amount of movement and how long involved in the activity in daily circumstances.
- Regularity-This refers to the amount of regularity in daily activities like eating and sleeping on a scale from irregular to regular.
- Intensity- This refers to the amount of energy put into reactions on a scale from low to high.
- Adaptability -This refers to the tendency toward changes in daily life on a scale from low to high adaptability.
- Mood –This refers to the tendency to have happy or unhappy behavior and reactions on a scale from negative to positive.
- Approach/Withdrawal-This refers to how easily a child adapts to new experiences such as foods, people, places and clothes on a scale from difficult to easy.
- Persistence- This refers to the amount of time a child spends on an activity regardless of distractions on a scale from low to high persistence.
- Distractibility -This refers to the tendency toward continuing activity when faced with noise, other activity on a scale of low to high distractibility.
Types of temperament
There are three basic types of temperaments as follows proposed by the researchers. By understanding these patterns, parents can tailor your parenting approach to suit your Children’s Temperament and unique needs.
- Easy or flexible children are generally calm, happy, adaptable and regular in sleeping and eating habits.
- Difficult, active, or feisty children are often easily upset, irregular in feeding and sleeping habits, fearful of new situations and intense in their reactions.
- Slow to warm up or cautious children are relatively inactive and sometimes requiring great attention to trivial details, tend to react negatively to new situations, but their reactions gradually become more positive with continuous exposure.
By the researchers, most children have some level of intensity on several temperament traits, but one dimension will usually dominate.
Understanding Children’s Temperament
Understanding children’s temperament will help parents get ready to react in various situations and meet the children’s needs. By better understanding a child’s temperament, parents can explain why the child might be behaving in a certain way and anticipate how the child will react to a particular event or situation. In addition, parents can communicate with the child efficiently, find out an effective approach to guide the child, and create a positive relationship with the child.
Understanding parents’ temperament
Parents also need to know their own temperament traits and be aware any pinpoint areas in which conflicts with their child arise, so that parents can prevent from temperament friction with the child as possible as they can, and prepare the first move to adapt the child in case the conflict happens.
To learn more parenting skills related to Children’s Temperament, please refer to great parenting books.