By the time a child starts school, his or her distinct temperament becomes more apparent. Every child has a unique way of feeling, thinking, and interacting with others. Some children are shy, while others are outgoing. Some are active, while others are calm. Some are fretful, while others are easygoing. Each family is composed of individuals who have their own distinct temperaments.
Be careful not to dismiss your child's feelings because they don't match your expectations. For example, if you are outgoing and active, it may be hard for you to understand your child's shy behaviour. Pushing your toddler into uncomfortable situations can erode rather than build his or her self-confidence.
Accept and celebrate your child's uniqueness. Remember that your child is an individual. Although you can influence behaviour to some degree, temperament is mostly inherited and typically a parent has little control over it. Allow your child to have his or her own personal preferences and feelings. And know these may be different from your own.
American Academy of Pediatrics (2003, updated 2012). How to understand your child's temperament. Available online: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/Pages/How-to-Understand-Your-Childs-Temperament.aspx.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine