Every parent wishes for an uncomplicated baby. Parents who have challenging children frequently envy others who have peaceful children. However, research indicates that having a child with a challenging temperament is not necessarily a bad thing. In this post, we will define temperament, examine the three types of temperament, and teach you what to do if your kid is challenging.
As parents with many children are well aware, each kid is unique when they are born, even if they are reared in the same environment. Newborns have unique methods of responding to their surroundings from the start. Each of them has a distinct newborn temperament and personality type.
What Exactly Is Temperament?
Temperament refers to a children’s early diversity in emotional reactions and reactivity to the environment.
Child temperament is the product of biological and environmental variables interacting throughout a children’s development after conception, rather than being only determined by genetics.
Temperament is classified differently by various scholars. Doctors and psychologists perform the most influential research, according to Chess and Thomas.
Their well-known New York Longitudinal Study lasted many decades (1956-1988) and discovered nine temperament characteristics that could be recognized in early childhood.
9 Temperament Characteristics (Thomas and Chess)
The degree and intensity of motor activity.
The regularity or rhythmicity of functions such as feeding, excretion, and the cycle of sleeping and waking.
- Initial Reaction
The kid’s reaction to a new item or person, in terms of whether the child approaches or withdraws from the new experience.
The ability of behavior to adjust to changes in the environment.
The level of sensitivity to stimuli.
The intensity, or amount of energy, with which reactions are elicited.
The general attitude or “disposition” of the kid, whether joyful or prone to crying, pleasant or irritable, friendly or hostile.
The degree to which the child can be distracted from what he is doing.
- Attention Span And Persistence
The children’s attention span and tenacity in an activity.
Researchers discovered that six of the nine temperament characteristic categories, activity, regularity, initial reaction, adaptability, intensity, and mood, tend to cluster together to produce three types of temperament.
The three temperament styles of children are as follows:
temperaments that are simple to warm up temperaments that are tough to warm up temperaments that are sluggish to warm up temperament.
Regular physical functions, a positive approach to new situations, flexibility, a good mood, and a non-intense reaction to stimuli describe an easy temperament.
These children’s are relatively simple to raise since they respond well to diverse child-rearing techniques. They are easily adapted to various parental management styles.
A difficult temperament is distinguished by inconsistent physical processes, retreat from unfamiliar settings, sluggish adaptation, a negative mood, and an extreme reaction. Raising young children is a challenging task from the start.
But this is far from the definition of “tough.”
When parents have challenging babies, they are aware.
Difficult babies that have a strong and highly reactive temperament cry a lot. They weep a lot, they cry a lot loudly, and they are difficult to calm down. They’re also grumpy infants. It is difficult to get them to sleep and keep them sleeping. They have difficulty falling back asleep when they wake up in the middle of the night.
Colic in newborns is especially aggravating for overworked and weary parents.
The slow to warm up child has a low activity level and a low intensity of reaction, but they also have a propensity to retreat from unfamiliar circumstances, are slow to adjust, and are somewhat negative in mood.
These children’s can adjust to new settings provided they are given the freedom to do so at their own speed. However, if pressed, these children’s may revert to their natural propensity to retreat.
Approximately 40% of newborns have an easy temperament, 10% have a tough temperament, and 15% have a sluggish to warm temperament. Thirty percent of children’s do not fit into any of the three categories.
Parenting With a Difficult Temperament and Tough Love
Temperament and parenting have a bidirectional link and impact.
- Difficult temperaments are more likely to evoke a harsh response and inconsistent discipline from parents.
When a baby screams continuously, you may feel compelled to yell at them to stop. And it’s normal to want to shout back when your tough child rants at you.
Tough love parenting is thus used by some parents whose children have a difficult temperament.
According to studies, however, inadequate emotional support, such as tough-love parenting, tends to create children with poor results. According to research, persons reared by authoritarian parents have lower mental health.
However, it is common to hear people brag about being raised by difficult parents and surviving.
What is the source of the discrepancy?
Some challenging children’s are in a worse situation than others. A challenging child who also has a predisposition to develop psychiatric problems is more likely to be raised by tough parents.
Tough love is just not the answer when it comes to raising children with challenging temperaments. It has the potential to exacerbate the situation.
It may take some time and effort to get through to your child if you remain calm, responsive, and sympathetic, but the payoff of being a good parent will be enormous.
Is Easy Baby Better Than Difficult Baby?
There are no such things as excellent or poor temperaments.
Congratulations if you have an easy baby! You most likely get more sleep than most other parents. We are envious!
However, if you have a tough one, you will have more work on your hands.
Caring for a challenging infant could be tiring and stressful. The most concerning feature is that challenging infant temperament is linked to greater behavioral difficulties and emotional illnesses later in life.
However, if you have a tough infant, don’t give up. There is some good news for you.
According to research, a children’s susceptibility has a significant impact in his or her result.
This indicates that temperament alone does not predict how a kid will develop due to its cross-over interaction with the environment.
What Exactly Is Differential Susceptibility?
Differential susceptibility indicates that parenting has a greater effect on young children who have a challenging temperament. For better or worse, they react more (are more vulnerable or sensitive) to the quality of parenting than easy children.
When nurtured with appropriate parents, a child with a difficult child temperament outperforms their easy counterparts in cognitive, academic, and social adjustment. A challenging infant, on the other hand, will fare worse when they grow up if parenting is poor.
So if you have a tough or sensitive infant, you should be overjoyed. If you do your bit to provide good parenting, your challenging child will have a higher chance of success.
Child Temperament Types And Parenting Style
Parenting quality is regarded as good in research on differential susceptibility when parents demonstrate a high level of emotional and autonomous support. Bad parenting occurs when parents provide a lack of emotional and autonomous support.
This description is comparable to one of the criteria used to classify Baumrind’s four parenting styles. According to several research, authoritative parenting, which offers strong emotional and autonomy support, is the best of the four approaches. It should come as no surprise that this parenting approach has the most beneficial influence on challenging children.
Because of this unequal susceptibility feature, it is much more critical for parents of challenging newborns to utilize an authoritative parenting style.
- 2.Saudino K. Behavioral genetics and child temperament. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2005;26(3):214-223. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15956873.
- 3.Chess S. Temperament. Routledge; 2013. doi:10.4324/9780203766170
- 4.Rettew D, McKee L. Temperament and its role in developmental psychopathology. Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2005;13(1):14-27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15804931.
- 5.De Schipper JC, Tavecchio LWC, Van IJzendoorn MH, Van Zeijl J. Goodness-of-fit in center day care: relations of temperament, stability, and quality of care with the child’s adjustment. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. April 2004:257-272. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2004.04.004
- 6.Pluess M, Belsky J. Children’s differential susceptibility to effects of parenting. Family Science. February 2010:14-25. doi:10.1080/19424620903388554
- 7.Pluess M, Belsky J. Differential susceptibility to parenting and quality child care. Developmental Psychology. 2010:379-390. doi:10.1037/a0015203
- 8.Stright AD, Gallagher KC, Kelley K. Infant Temperament Moderates Relations Between Maternal Parenting in Early Childhood and Children’s Adjustment in First Grade. Child Development. January 2008:186-200. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.01119.x
- 9.Kiff CJ, Lengua LJ, Zalewski M. Nature and Nurturing: Parenting in the Context of Child Temperament. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev. April 2011:251-301. doi:10.1007/s10567-011-0093-4
- 10.Lengua LJ, Kovacs EA. Bidirectional associations between temperament and parenting and the prediction of adjustment problems in middle childhood. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. January 2005:21-38. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2004.10.001
- 11.Betts J, Gullone E, Allen JS. An examination of emotion regulation, temperament, and parenting style as potential predictors of adolescent depression risk status: A correlational study. British Journal of Developmental Psychology. June 2009:473-485. doi:10.1348/026151008×314900