Discussion: temperament and the impact on parenting 2 responses

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1# 

From a biological perspective, a child’s temperament is impacted strongly from genetics. With that being said, as a child grows their temperament can be affected by outside influences such as their parents and different social environments. I have a personal example for how my child’s temperament has changed over the past couple years. As an infant she was very calm and able to stay relaxed in any enviroment and around any group of people. As she got older she was very easy to feed and would try just about anything that we gave her. She enjoyed when she had to take medicine and doctor’s appoinments were also very easy, even when she had to get her shots she took it well and hardly cried. Around 18 months she got a high fever for the first time. Her dad and I took her to the hospital and, long story short, she had a bad experience. It was after this experience that she became difficult when trying anything new. She became even more clingy and for a while, we couldn’t even take her to the store without her freaking out. 

My daughter is now about 2 and a half years old and is just starting to warm back up to people outside of me, her dad, her grandma, and her grandpa. For the most part she is very silly and very sweet. I’m noticing that she is very caring when she notices that someone may be sad. She still doesn’t really try anything new when it comes to food and she still hates medicine and doctors. She can also be very irritable and angry when she doesn’t get the things she wants, which I know is just normal kid stuff. How this affects me as a parent can be very negative. I’m realizing that I get angry with her very easily when I don’t understand her frustration or why she is the way she is sometimes. When she is good, I am happy, but when she is bad, I have a hard time not getting upset when I don’t know how to make her happy. 

The text says that a parent may place inordinate pressure on a child to be different than they are. “If parents recognize that their child has a temperament of his or her own that may be very different from their own temperaments, they can make adjustments in their own behavior and expectations to help that child along.”(Zastrow, C., Kirst-Ashman, K.K. & Hessenauer, S.L., 2019) For example, I need to remember that my daughter is only 2 years old and that her behaviors are normal. Rather than get upset, I have to be understanding of that fact and I have to adjust my own way of dealing with her. 

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2#  

According to McCrae et al., “Temperaments are often regarded as biologically based psychological tendencies with intrinsic paths of development” (2000). Biological factors contribute to a child’s temperament in terms of heredity, their personality is literally determined (at least partially) by their genetic makeup. Psychological factors that contribute to a child’s temperament come from experiences. Those experiences involve factors like attention or a lack of attention, positive or negative feedback, fear-based lessons, or encouragement to explore, and being attended to when they cry or being left on their own  (Rothbart et al., 2000). Social perspectives contribute to a child’s temperament in a positive way if they experience healthy relationships, as it helps them develop cooperation and self-esteem (Johnson, 1975). If their social perspective is formed in a negative way it can cause them to be more “egocentric and delayed in their social perspective-taking development”, they may also suffer from lower self-esteem than children who developed positive social perspectives (Burack et al., 2006). 

Caregivers play a huge role in how they impact their child’s temperament as it is not biology alone that shapes a child’s personality. Caregiviers model behavior and influence their child’s temperament by how they act and react as an individual, and by how they interact and react to others including their child.  The emotions of the child impact the role their caregiver plays in parenting in many ways. If the child is considered hard or difficult and acts out in socially unacceptable ways the parent may react negatively. They may feel overwhelmed, or just simply not want to deal with them. What do you think the effects could be on a child’s personality of a parent checking out or ignoring the behaviors and not intervening? 

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