How to Parent Your Child’s Unique Temperament

The temperament of the child and the temperament of the parent and other siblings interact within the family environment. The questions are: How does the temperament of the child and parent affect the parent-child interactions and what strategies are better suited for the various temperament styles.

The following list provides a brief outline of the kinds of interactions and strategies related to the different temperament styles:

Parent—Child Interactions

These children are sometimes perceived as unmotivated especially by parents who are temperamentally different from the child. For parents who are temperamentally similar to the child, the pitfall is that they are likely to allow the child to “coast” and miss out on opportunities.

Strategies:

  • Use rewards and consequences.
  • Avoid nagging and scolding.
  • Encourage and insist that the child be involved in some activity.
  • Do things with the child.
  • Teach and then allow the child to engage in the activity independently.
  • Limit television and video game time.

Parent—Child Interactions

These children are very difficult to deal with and parents often will go to great lengths to avoid conflicts and “give-in” when it is not appropriate or helpful to do so. This is especially true for parents who are mellow. For parents who are temperamentally similar, the risk is for increased parent-child conflict.

Strategies:

  • Have to use a combination of “no negotiation strategy” and collaborative problem-solving.
  • Plan when possible for activities and time limit level of stimulation.
  • Re-examine the child’s behavior and tendency toward over reaction for possible cues about the meaning and root cause of the behavior.
  • Teach them to control their emotions.
  • Be a model of self-control yourself.
  • Try to arrange for periodic parental breaks.
  • Use parental-time-outs to think through a conflict before responding to the child.

Parent—Child Interactions

These children are very easy to manage though there may be a tendency to “over- praise” them or to not pay much attention to them because they do not demand your attention.

Strategies:

  • Teach compassion for other children and people.
  • Balance routine and more boring activities with activities that are more challenging.
  • Help child accept and deal with challenges and failures.

Parent—Child Interactions

Major concern on the part of parents is overprotection. This is especially true of parents who have a more anxious profile themselves.

Strategies:

  • Identify anxiety producing situations and then work out a plan to gradual expose child to those situations utilizing stress management techniques.
  • Use more rewards and fewer punishments.
  • Monitor language that reinforces anxiety.
  • Limit the number of frightening movies and stories.
  • Teach relaxation skills.

Parent—Child Interactions

These children are generally easy to parent though there may be times when they show a more extreme trait.

Strategies:

  • When the child is engaging in an extreme expression of a trait, use a strategy that fits the trait. For example, if they appear anxious use the strategies for the anxious style.
  • These children respond well to both rewards and consequences.