2 years ago · lizzie · 0 comments · Sticky
Understanding your child’s temperament
There are many theories on child behaviour. One which is widely taught is the theory of Child Temperament. Temperament is divided into three types:
- Feisty (find change difficult and need lots of consistent routines)
- Slow to Warm Up (take time to adjust to change and new people)
- Easy (go with the flow and adapt to change very easily)
The type of temperament your child was born with, will directly influence how your child operates in the world, copes with change and stress, is motivated to change behaviour and socialises with others. When you understand your child’s temperament, you can then shape your parenting to suit your child’s needs. This makes parenting so much easier and significantly reduces your child’s stress. It also really supports your child to succeed in the world and feel really well supported in the process.
Why it is so important to understand child temperament?
As a parent of two young children who are growing up very fast, I understand first hand how challenging parenting can be. Over the years I have learnt personally and professionally how important it is to spend time getting to know my children. This means I have to take time to play with them, listen to them and gather as much information that I can from their teachers, other family members and friends, in order to see them in different lights. I think this is crucial for guiding them through life.
Every child is different. So many parenting books and experts give parents generic tools that are meant to be a one-size-fits all approach. On top of this we have layers of judgement and criticism towards parents who are perceived to not be doing the right thing. So, if you’re a parent and you’re feeling really confused about how to understand your child – YOU’RE NOT ALONE!
The reason why it’s so important to understand your child’s temperament is because your child is unique. What suits one child is not guaranteed to suit your child. Think about the adults you know. How many of them are exactly the same? even your best friends and you share different interests, motivations, likes and dislikes. So why would we expect our children to be any different?
Why parents choose a particular style of parenting
Parents often try to fit into a particular parenting style in order to:
- follow family, social, societal, religious etc norms
- avoid potentially making a mistake
- feel in control
- do the ‘right’ things
- and so on
Whatever style you choose, it’s REALLY important to be flexible and mold the style to suit your child’s individual temperament needs. You may need to alter things a little or even change the style to suit your child’s particular needs.
A good example of this is the ‘Controlled Crying’ method parents use with young children to support them to sleep. This parenting style does NOT work for every child. For instance, if you have a child with a ‘slow to warm up’ temperament, you will really struggle with the ‘Controlled Crying’ method. So understanding your child’s temperament for instance has a direct impact on how you should parent to support your child to get to sleep.
So, take time to understand your child. Get to know your child’s need from your child’s point of view. In doing so, you will find parenting so much smoother and you will be doing your best to give your child the best chance to succeed in life too.
Lizzie O’Halloran, Author of Perfect Mums: How To Survive the Emotional Rollercoaster of Motherhood
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