Brenda Yoder, MA

Brenda is a writer, speaker, and educator. She has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a BA in Education.

MP900426638 150x150 How Understanding Your Childs Temperament Can Make You A Better ParentIf you have more than one child, you know all kids are different.  They respond differently to the same situation, leaving parents frustrated. Kids are created with different personalities, temperaments and learning styles. Throw in birth order and gender differences and expect a parent to raise them when instruction manuals aren’t included.

Welcome to parenting!

Understanding your child’s temperament helps parent each child according to their individual needs. One-size-fits-all parenting doesn’t work no matter what the experts say. Temperament is the natural way your child responds to things and their natural inclinations towards a situation. Some children are mild and reserve while others might be more emotional and direct. One child might respond passively to instructions while another responds with questions. One child likes playing alone and another child craves social interaction. {A simple resource on temperament is listed here from Ohio State University.}

So how do we parent these kids?

Understanding your child’s temperament gives parents insight and confidence but requires being a student of your child, studying how they respond to things and what drives their thinking. Even at young ages their temperament becomes evident. As infants, each of my four children showed clues to their temperament in the first several days. One child is more laid-back and was a quiet, content newborn. Another child likes to be with you and interact socially. This child would only cry as a newborn when he was taken away from people and wasn’t near voices and bodies.  Another child was fussy and would easily let you know when whey didn’t like something, which became part of their communication patterns as they got older.

Studying and understanding your child’s temperaments can help in discerning what their needs are and how to connect with them even at young ages. Saying “no” one way to one child might need to be said differently to another. Understanding temperaments assists in heading off tantrums and fits of frustration from kids no matter if they’re toddlers or teenagers.

  • For a child who doesn’t like change, telling them of possible changes that might happen is helpful for them handling abrupt changes when they occur.
  • A child’s disagreeable response may not necessarily be rebellion but the child’s inability to understand the situation.
  • Taking the time to understand how your child processes information at their stage of development with their temperament helps both parent and child diminish miscommunication and conflict.

Understanding a child’s temperament is a gift your child receives by feeling understood, validated, and known. What child {or adult} doesn’t thrive when they feel understood and known?  These feelings build a child’s confidence and security in themselves. It also equips you in helping them navigate situations and relationships that don’t tailor to their temperament like school and sport teams. Modeling proper responses for your child and front-loading what to expect from people around them helps your child have resources to draw from when their natural responses aren’t appropriate for the situation.  Helping your child develop self-awareness as they mature is a valuable skill for adulthood.

Kids aren’t made out of cookie cutters.  We can help their individual development by understanding their unique caveats. How can you become a student of your child this year?  What are ways you can help your child grow and thrive in their temperament? We’d love to hear from you!

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