Embrace every part of your child….including their temperament
A great combination of active and calm, distractible and intense, regular and chaotic, sensitive and tough, outgoing and shy, goofy and serious, and always love…multiple personality traits and a family better because of it!
It isn’t very often that all of us are together for an extended time. I am looking forward to a family vacation in the next couple of weeks. There is nothing better than being together and seeing who each of our children have become. When all of us are together, I often sit and admire the wonderful special qualities of each of the kids. All four are similar in many ways, but so different in many other ways. Their personalities are unique…and it makes our time together so much more enjoyable. How do your kids develop that wonderful uniqueness that is their own? There are so many pieces of the puzzle, but a big part of that puzzle is a child’s temperament.
Our first child was easy. She smiled often, slept through the night early on, cried very little, and adapted easily. This parenting “gig” was a piece of cake! I read the books, and she complied. So simple. I was even a little smug about the whole parenting thing. Child number two arrived with a set of lungs;…she cried from the moment she greeted the world. Little “sweet fussiness” didn’t sleep through the night until she was close to 9 months old, was intense, and simply didn’t follow the book. All those parenting tips we used on the first, didn’t seem to work on the second. Number three and number four also came with their own uniqueness. Children enter this world with a group of personality traits that are evident from the first few weeks of life. This personality or temperament is not necessarily “good” or “bad”. The response a parent has to the child’s personality or temperament will often affect the type of behavior a child will exhibit. Parenting according to a child’s temperament will help a child build on the positive pieces of their temperament and will teach a child how to handle situations that may be challenging to their temperament. Parents must learn to adjust their parenting style to their child’s temperament, not all parenting tips work the same on every child! I am still learning this!
There are 9 personality traits that make up our temperaments.
- Activity level
- Approach or withdrawal
- Emotional response
- Persistence/attention span
The combination of these traits will make up your child’s temperament and your own. The “goodness of fit” is how a parent’s temperament fits with their child’s. It can be very challenging if you are very different from each other. An active child who is curious, constantly on the move and sleeps very little can be very challenging to a less active, cautious parent! The bending of parent and child to “fit” actually will help both the parent and child overcome some of their personality challenges. I see this more and more as my children have become older. Some of my greatest growth as a person has come from the challenge of fitting my parenting to each of my children’s temperaments. I have learned to be persistent with my persistent child, more positive with my more negative child, more sensitive to my sensitive child, and more flexible with all of them.
Our family conversations are now peppered with intensity, humor, sensitivity, positiveness, analytical thinking, goofiness, open-mindedness, passion, quietness, loudness, and laughter. No wonder I am worn out after conversations with all four…but no wonder our time together is so wonderful.
Let’s look at how to parent each of our children in a way that allows the best parts of their temperament to shine, and to respect all pieces of their personality puzzle. Don’t miss what is special about your child!….Stay tuned… 🙂
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.
- Posted in: Becoming a Dad ♦ Becoming a parent ♦ Enjoying parenting ♦ Growth and Development ♦ Parent/child communication ♦ Temperament
- Tagged: difficult child, easy child, enjoying parenting, infant, personality traits, preschooler, school age, self confidence, self esteem, slow to warm child, teen years, temperament, toddler