By the time a child starts school, his or her distinct
temperament becomes more apparent. Every child has a
unique way of feeling, thinking, and interacting with others. Some children are
shy, while others are outgoing. Some are active, while others are calm. Some
are fretful, while others are easygoing. Each family is composed of individuals
who have their own distinct temperaments.
Be careful not to dismiss your child's feelings because they don't
match your expectations. For example, if you are outgoing and active, it may be
hard for you to understand your child's shy behavior. Pushing your toddler
into uncomfortable situations can erode rather than build his or her
Accept and celebrate your child's uniqueness. Remember that your
child is an individual. Although you can influence behavior to some degree,
temperament is mostly inherited and typically a parent has little control over
it. Allow your child to have his or her own personal preferences and feelings. And know these may be different from your own.
Other Works ConsultedAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (2003, updated 2012). How to understand your child's temperament. Available online: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/Pages/How-to-Understand-Your-Childs-Temperament.aspx.
July 19, 2012
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
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