Child Temper

Child temper– Different temperaments

Today any book on child rearing will tell you that each child possesses differing abilities, temperament and personality which must be kept in mind while parenting. For example, even in the same family, there will be differences in the degrees of hard work, persistence, carefulness etc. that each child displays. Further, all experienced parents have found that an approach that works well with one child may not work at all with another. So how do you know what is the best way of handling your child to get the best from him ? Check out these guidelines :-

According to experts there are four different types of temperaments – sensitive, active, responsive and receptive.

Sensitive children are :-

  • More vulnerable and prone to dramatizing.
  • Have a greater need to identify their feelings and responses to each situation and only after this process is complete, are they able to change.
  • Complaining is an important part of their nature and helps them feel better.
  • Need sympathy and validation of their problems, in the absence of which, they are more prone to dramatizing and exaggeration in order to get attention.
  • Without sympathy and support they tend to get lost in self pity and self blame.
  • They take more time to get over hurts and emotional upsets.
  • Take time to form relationships and friendships.

With the right kind of nurturing these children become thoughtful, extremely perceptive, original thinkers, creative, good communicators, compassionate, gentle and caring.

If you have a child who reveals many or all of these traits, remember that :-

  • Sensitive children respond best to a parent who listens without judgement and who shows understanding and sympathy.
  • Non judgement is essential as the child will show her inner qualities only if she feels validated. Criticism or a forced attempt at cheer will only cause her to retreat behind a veil of self pity and complaints.
  • These children need more time for anything. Don’t rush them.
  • Don’t try and solve their problems for them. Give help as and when required only.
  • Make it clear that her feelings are not abnormal but that others also experience problems and deserve consideration.

Active children are :-

  • More concerned with action and results.
  • Are self-motivated.
  • Want to lead / do things their own way.
  • Need a great deal of structure.
  • Like to be the center of attention and be where the action is.
  • Like to be right and have a tendency to become bossy unless controlled.
  • Respect strength, confidence and competence.
  • Need to feel needed and trusted.
  • Learn by doing and making mistakes.
  • Have a greater tendency to get into trouble.
  • Need to be on the move or participating in activities. Find it difficult to sit and listen for long.
  • Like power and want to be successful.
  • Respond best to a clear and direct message.
  • Hate being wrong or being corrected.

With the right kind of nurturing active children become responsible, competent, self motivated and self confident. They make great leaders and doers. But they often need to learn sensitivity, compassion and patience.

For such children :-

  • Don’t make a practice of asking them what to do, but acknowledge any suggestion they might make without necessarily adopting it every time.
  • Tell them in advance what your plan is, lay out the rules and the limits of the proposed activity.
  • Put the child in charge of something wherever possible. Leadership brings out the best in them.
  • Give the child a job or create a game to use up their energy.
  • Give them lots of acknowledgement for their achievements.
  • Don’t be stingy with forgiveness for mistakes. If they are afraid they will not stop making mistakes, but will only learn to hide them from you.
  • Don’t wait for them to start an activity if they don’t want to. You start and let them join in. Then praise them – next time they will be more motivated.
  • Don’t get bullied or put off by their tantrums. Be firm and patient.
  • Don’t correct them in front of others.

Responsive children are: –

  • Social and outgoing
  • They relate to themselves through their responses to the world and through relationships.
  • Have many interests and a greater need for stimulation.
  • Are more adaptive and like change.
  • Need greater freedom for doing their own thing.
  • Resist having to focus and complete things. They tend to move from one experience to another without going deeply into any one.
  • Tend to be very easily distracted. They forget things very fast.

Responsive children are joyous, out going and enthusiastic. They treat life as an adventure, talk a lot, make friends easily, are accommodating and don’t hold grudges. They don’t have deep attachments and are not easily hurt. Emotional ups and downs are a common part of their lives. Without the right kind of support they tend to be overwhelmed by life’s responsibilities. With the right support they become responsible, self directed, focused, confident and accomplished.

Dealing with them –

  • First of all don’t worry about the child and make him feel guilty or ashamed for being easily distracted and forgetful. He will learn to stay focussed provided that he is given the freedom to explore.
  • Keep distractions ready.
  • Give him the freedom he needs.
  • Make being focussed a positive experience with structured non-judgmental help, lots of encouragement and occasional rewards.
  • Encourage his curiosity and willingness to learn.
  • Help him develop an imagination through books, music, painting, writing etc.

These children need an inner world more in order to stay centered. Don’t let them watch too much TV.

Don’t expect him to change completely. He will always have a tendency to be scattered, forgetful and unreliable.

Receptive children :-

  • Need a lot of routine and rhythm
  • Don’t like change and new situations.They need to know what will happen next and what to expect.
  • Need a set time for everything.
  • Can’t make quick decisions and need time to do things in an orderly manner.
  • Can’t be pushed or rushed into things.
  • Are not automatically self directed, creative or innovative. They love physical comfort and enjoy sitting still, listening, sleeping and watching other children engage in various activities.
  • Don’t like to be interrupted while engaged in any task. They will keep going till it is complete to the last detail.
  • They are easy going and non problematic. They indulge in fewer tantrums.

These children have strength, organizing ability, the ability to create and maintain order out of chaos, practicality, determination and great staying power.

Dealing with them –

  • These children need to be given a definite routine to be followed and lots of reassurance.
  • Give them time to do things.
  • Give them a plan for the future and they will be less resistant to changes.
  • Don’t force them into activity against their will but encourage them to do so gently and frequently.
  • Give them a task and help them build outside interests.
  • They need a gentle push otherwise they will never want to do anything new, Create rituals for them and stick to them.

Related Links

Communicating with your child
Boosting self-esteem

Gender differences

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