Discover the Three Main Child Temperament Types: Better Parenting Through Understanding
As my children have grown, it’s been so fun to watch each of them adapt, customize, and personalize their lives. As I observe their plain-to-see individuality, I witness the real-life application of some of the most insightful parenting research on child temperament types that I’ve ever read.
This research is from a highly acclaimed parenting resource. It’s so good, it’s one of those books you wish every parent on the face of the earth knew about and took the time to read!
The book is called “Know Your Child” by Stella Chess, M.D. and Alexander Thomas M.D. It’s chock full of great information for parents, but the one thing I want to share with you today is what the book has to say about child temperaments.
Let me just say that I am not a fan of labels. Humans are highly complex beings and I firmly believe labels are intensely limiting. Applying a label to any person instantly applies filters and restrictions to his ability and I just plumb don’t like that.
It is, however, very beneficial for a mama to know her child well. Like, really, really well. So with the understanding that this information is for the sake of understanding and better parenting and not for limiting labels, let’s talk about the three main child temperaments.
A significant aspect of my parenting strategy within our home is regular assessment. Assessment of what’s working, what’s not working, inventory of my research, and analyzing the insight to decide what steps need to be taken. This is at the core of the T.R.U.S.T. parenting system I created.
65% Of Children Fit In 3 Child Temperament Types
#1. The Easy Child
In short, the easy child isn’t always easy but adapts really well. This highly adaptable child feels easy because she can “roll with the punches.”
Often parents are shocked as their “easy child” grows and begins to display poor behavior.
What I’ve noticed is that parents of “easy” children may not put much effort into child training during the early years because it just doesn’t seem necessary. Unfortunately, when the child ages and enters into turbulent and formative years, they lack the skills necessary to navigate well.
Child training, consistent discipline, and intentional connecting are always good parenting and necessary regardless of your child’s temperament type.
#2. The Difficult Child (Dr. Dobson calls this the Strong-Willed Child)
The difficult child is on the opposite end of life from the easy child. She doesn’t adapt well, displays irregular sleep patterns, is moody, and takes a long time to adjust.
This child may offer a constant battle with his parents early on. However, this child can often become the greatest leader among his peers with firm child training and consistent discipline.
*One REALLY interesting thing to note about this category of temperament is that the authors chose the title “Difficult” as a result of the parents. They found that while all the parents in this category considered themselves to have some “difficulties” in management of their child, they didn’t necessarily all feel their child was “difficult” because some parents dealt with the behavior better than others! Parents who were well equipped to train and handle the difficult child essentially raised a child who over time, became an easy child! Very interesting!!!
#3. The Slow-to-Warm-Up Child
The slow-to-warm-up child is similar to the difficult child in the way he experiences change. He too doesn’t adapt well. the difference is that his response is not aggressive, angry, or frustrated, but rather a response of withdrawal.
This child is often called “shy” and if he’s not intentionally trained and nurtured into boldness by a parent, that may become a moniker he carries throughout his life.
One of my favorite child training methods for a kiddo with this child temperament type is the “cookie” method.
Most grocery stores offer free cookies to child shoppers. They keep a box of bakery cookies available to pass out to children.
Use the grocery store cookie to strengthen your slow-to-warm-up child’s confidence and social skills. Set a standard that good behavior while grocery shopping will result in a cookie reward IF the child asks for the cookie himself.
Train him how to look the bakery employee in the eye and say, “May I have a cookie, please?” Only if he asks himself can he have a cookie.
This is but one small example of helping the slow-to-warm-up child temperament types overcome shyness. Often, if not given the skills and training to display some boldness, these children will have a very difficult time interacting with people later in life.
One thing is the same among child temperament types!!
While I love parenting research and growing in this kind of knowledge is very compelling for me, what I love even more than discovering differences in children, is discovering how universal similarities can work in tandem with uniqueness to provide powerful parenting strategies.
Connecting, training, and disciplining are those universal truths. Those elements are necessary and beneficial throughout all child temperament types. This is why they are the foundational parenting elements of Faithful Parenting.
The junction where patterns of similarity and human individuality meet are where huge opportunities to mold, shape, and train our children come into play.
All Child Temperament Types Have One Thing In Common
Of the vast array of differences in children, it’s clear that training, regulatory discipline, understanding your child’s needs, supporting him in those needs, and regularly addressing intentionality with your child and family will always, always produce beneficial results!
Lastly, I’d highly recommend you read “Know Your Child” book. It is at the top of my list for best parenting books.
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This book is meaty and a bit long and tedious, but it’s worth the time the insight provides. You and your child will greatly benefit from understanding what child temperament types mean for you both.