Temperament

Temperament refers to the personality and attitude one has. One’s temperament starts showing early in life. Understanding a child’s temperament is important in development. It can increase a child’s chance of experiencing psychological problems, or it can help protect a child from negative ones.  Dealing with a child’s problems must change to fit the temperament of the child.

A child’s temperament is generally stable and differs from personality.  It is a combination of temperament from genetics and life experiences. Genetics play a large role in determining the temperament of a child. Twins have similar temperamental traits.  Genetics play a smaller role as one gets older, due partially to environmental experiences. Children that grew up in impoverished environments will differ from ones that grew up in a healthy environment.

A temperament of a child fits into three different types. One is the easy child. Which is a child that quickly establishes a regular routine and is generally cheerful. This comes from being in a healthy environment. Difficult child has irregular daily routines and is slow to accept new experiences. The third is the slow-to-warm-up child. This child is inactive and has a negative mood. Changing the environments of the child can slightly change the temperament. Shield a child away from new experiences will not help get rid of the fear a child has. Exposing a child to new environments may latter encourage him or her to be more active.

According to Thomas and Chess there are nine behaviors that are used to understand temperament in children. Activity, rhythmicity, distractibility, approach/withdrawal, adaptability, attention span, intensity of reaction, threshold of responsiveness, and quality of mood. These are models that help determine the temperament of a child. By understanding the temperament of a child the parent can work with the child rather than trying to change his or her inborn traits. Thomas and Chess proposed a goodness-of-fit model. This model is used to help get a favorable outcome involving a child. It is used to help change the environment to fit the child’s temperament.  Parents that are sensitive and tend to the child’s needs have better temperament.

-Nathan Hu

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~ by nathanhu on October 18, 2009.

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