No two children are alike. They may all come from the same womb, but parents will find that each son and daughter have characteristics that make them special. Some may have a more sunny disposition, with an ease to them as they approach new experiences calmly and joyfully. There are also kids who have a harder time managing their experiences and emotions. No matter the type, there is a way for parents to better understand their children, appreciate their uniqueness, and avoid misunderstandings and conflicts due to differing personalities. The answer lies in getting a better handle of their child's temperament.
Temperament is defined as the innate quality of a child that has a strong influence over their behavior and emotions. While children are born with a certain nature, their temperament can change as they grow, due to factors such as experiences and interactions with people, the environment, and their health. Parents may not have full control over these elements, but they can help encourage the development of positive behaviors by responding well to their child's physical, mental, and emotional needs, and making them feel comfortable as their children seek a sense of belongingness in their surroundings and the people around them.
Forge a stronger connection with your children by having a better sense of their temperament. Here's how you can do it:
- Recognize patterns in your child's behavior. Observing how your kids react in certain situations can help you anticipate how they will process events as they happen. Knowing what they are struggling with the most will allow you to identify the most appropriate parenting style to adopt to better manage their temperament. You can also share your findings with your child's teacher so they can complement your efforts even when your child is in school.
- Sensitively and slowly help children adapt to new experiences. Given that children possess different attitudes, adjust the way you guide them in breaking down new experiences. Less outgoing kids may take more time getting used to a new environment, so be patient as they warm up to it. Make sure to ask them how they are feeling and see if you can do anything to make life transitions much smoother.
- Accept your children for who they are. No temperament is above the other. There may be those that are easier to handle, but they should not be an excuse to love your children less or give up on them. Show your kids that even if you are struggling to master their temperament, you are supportive of them and genuinely want to understand them more. Celebrate your differences especially if these traits are not harmful to your children and the people close to them.
- Be your child's number one fan. If your child's temperament makes them feel isolated from others who are not on the same wavelength, be their safe haven. Let them know that being different is not a liability, and never a reason for you to love them less. Having confidence in your child can help them gain more appreciation of themselves. This will aid in pushing them to be more comfortable in their skin.
Understanding your child's temperament requires a keen sense of observation, patience and sensitivity, a love that accepts them fully, and a strong show of support that can encourage them to find their own voice. In doing so, you will not just feel more attuned to your child, but also facilitate character development that will be beneficial to them as they make their way into the world.