Differences in children's temperament can be seen even in infancy. Researchers have delineated three broad styles of temperament, as follows:
- Easy children are calm, happy, adaptable, regular in sleeping and eating habits, positive in mood and interested in new experiences.
- Difficult children are often fussy, irregular in feeding and sleeping habits, low in adaptability, fearful of new people and situations, easily upset, high strung, and intense in their reactions.
- Slow to warm up children are relatively inactive, reflective, tend to withdraw or to react negatively to novelty, but their reactions gradually become more positive with experience.
Obviously, parents and children are individuals and not easily categorized. Most will show characteristics of several styles, but over time, one style generally prevails.
What parents should keep in mind
- Think about how your own temperament style meshes with your child's temperamental style.
- Be attuned to your child's temperament and encourage her to accomplish tasks at her own pace.
- Make your expectations clear. Setting limits will help your child develop self control.
- Encourage children to work with you on generating solutions to problems.
- Make communication a priority. Be open to discussion; take time to explain your decisions and motives and listen to your children's point of view.
- Make them aware that their opinions are respected, but remain firm in your decisions.
- Respect each child's individual strengths and don't compare children.
For more information aboutAnita Gurian's article entitled "Parenting Styles/Children's Temperaments: The Match" visit http://www.aboutourkids.org/articles/parenting_styleschildren039s_temperaments_match