A Parenting Style For The Temperamental Child
The right parenting style for the temperamental child can spell relief
for frustrated parents attempting to cope with temperamental
Parenting a temperamental child can be the most frustrating
experience in the world to a mother and father. Even
successful moms and dads may find themselves feeling like
failures when a temperamental child is born into the family
because the parenting style that worked for their other
children proved unsuccessful with the temperamental child.
Before understanding why their parenting styles may need to be
adjusted, moms and dads must first understand what temperament
Temperament is a relatively stable set of in-born traits a
child is born with that constitute a child’s disposition
toward the world. So, for example, one can say that my
daughter is disposed to being very active. She can’t sit
still for a second. Other children are disposed to possess
temperaments characterized by persistence, or a short
attention span, or emotional intensity, etc.
There is no good or bad temperament, only some that are
more challenging to cope with for some parents. This is
why it is important for a parent to learn and understand
the emotional temperament of her child, and then use that
knowledge to formulate a successful parenting style.
A second reason it is important to understand your child’s
temperament is so you don’t blame yourself for her
In seeking parenting advice for troubled kids with temperament
problems, counseling is always advisable because professional
advice is needed in determining the proper strategy foryour child.
I recall a six year-old boy that was referred to me where I worked at
a special day school. Danny's parents brought him to parenting help because his temperament problem was not liking change. He
frequently exploded in outbursts of anger when, for example, it was
time to go to lunch. Danny proved very challenging to me, until I
realized I needed to stop trying to change him, and devise a
parenting style to deal with his temperament.
I discovered that when Danny was informed fifteen minutes
ahead of time that lunch would be served, he might frown
and get mildly angry, but his temper tantrums decreased
markedly. Soon, through experience in devising strategies
to cope with Danny’s temperament, I learned just what to
tell him to decrease his tantrums, and he, in turn, learned
to ask me questions about the upcoming change that helped
him adjust. Danny's improvement proved extraordinary, and
it had everything to do with developing specific parenting
strategies to cope with his difficulty adjusting to change.
So, in Danny's case, all that was required was a flexible parenting
style with a specific strategy that involved informing Danny ahead
of time that a change in his schedule was about to occur. He
was informed an hour before lunch of what to expect when lunch
time arrived and again forty five minutes later. For the most part,
this solved Danny's tantrums.
The following is a list of nine child temperament types that
flexible parenting styles, using formulated strategies, can address:
- Mood is how negatively or positively your child reacts to
the world. This trait is rated positive or negative.
- Intensity is how loud your child is. This trait is rated
low or high.
- Persistence has to do with how much your child wants to
stick to an activity, or how stubborn your child is.
This trait is rated low or high.
- Sensory threshold rates how sensitive your child is to
taste, touch, smell, sound, light and other physical
stimuli. Rate this one low or high.
- Activity level rates how physically active your child is
generally. Rated this one low or high.
- Adaptability has to do with how easily your child adapts
to change, like a new activity. Rate this one good
- Approach/Withdrawal rates how a child reacts to a new
situation or a stranger. Rate this one approach or
- Distractibility rates how well a child attends or pays
attention when he is not particularly interested in an
activity. Rate this one low or high.
- Regularity is rated according to how regular he or she
is with biological activities like bowel movements,
appetite and sleep. Rate this regular or irregular.
After rating your child, according to the aforementioned
temperament traits, you will discover which trait or traits
appear problematic for you and then create a parenting style and
strategy to cope with your child's temperament.
For example, if your child happens to greet the world with
a negative mood that doesn’t mean he or she is a bad
child. It’s just how he or she is. By understanding this is how your child
was born and that this trait is unlikely to change, you can simply
accept it, as part of a more flexible parenting style and formulate
a successful parenting strategy, rather than frustrate yourself and your
child by trying to change him.
This doesn’t mean you can’t humor your child. This doesn’t
mean you can’t enjoy your child. He may turn out in his or
her own way to be quite a character and someone who isn’t
easily intimidated by other’s personalities. It does mean,
however, that you have to learn a parenting strategy to
cope with the child temperament in question.
Parenting style and child temperament is the most important topic
in the world to a mom or dad attempting to rear one of
these, often, very challenging children. Hence, I suggest
you read a book on the subject. There exist a number of
good books that will not involve too much of your time.
One is “Temperament Tools: Working With Your Child’s Inborn
Traits” by Helen Neville and Diane Clark Johnson. A little
of your spare time reading this book or other similar
books, concerning temperament, could save you a lot of time
and frustration in the long run.
An understanding of parenting style and child temperament can
aid in coping with personality clashes between adult and child,
when, through no fault of their own, fate decides to team
them up in as, for example, a combination of father and
daughter. In such a situation, the daughter may be
extremely active with high intensity. She spends her time
noisily jumping from one activity to another. The father,
on the other hand, may be sensitive to noise and possess a
low activity level so that he seeks peace and rest after a
long day’s work.
This combination of parent and child can spell disaster
because, while the child is energetically and loudly
enjoying herself, she may be disturbing and exhausting her
father who is babysitting with her. Knowing the potential
for a temperament clash exists ahead of time can allow for
planning to minimize this effect.
For more parenting style help with temperatmental kids,
click to parenting with love and logical consequences.