Is your grandchild growing up to be very different than you expected? Do you sometimes wonder where your granddaughter learned to be so outspoken and strong willed, or your grandson so quiet and reserved? Understanding a child’s temperament can help you step back and see his or her unique style more clearly.
“Temperament” is a person’s first and most natural way of responding. It’s the way they tend to be and move in the world. Just as some babies are born with a lot of hair and others with little or no hair, some children are high energy right from birth and may want to interact with you all the time, while others are happy to play quietly in their crib while you make dinner. Children come into the world with a style all their own.
There are no good or bad temperaments, but some children are more challenging to raise than others. So much also depends on your temperament, and how well you and your child “fit” with each other. For example:
- Your grandson may be slow to warm up and sensitive to new places and people. So when you go to a relative’s home, he may want to sit on your lap. Just because you’re outgoing and friendly, doesn’t mean that he will be that way. Give him time to get comfortable, and then he’s bound to venture out and play with the other children.
- Your high energy granddaughter may want you to practice soccer with her when she wakes up, but you may have lower energy and want to sit and read the paper or sleep in. Her energy might annoy you, even though it’s normal for her.
- You might be intense in your reactions and yell easily. Your grandchild might be low in intensity and sensitive to loud noise. When you yell, she may cry easily. do your best to lower your voice and talk to her after you’ve calmed down. On the other hand, you may have a grandchild who is loud and reactive. If so, take a deep breath and count to ten before responding to her in order to avoid a yelling match.
- Some grandparents are fast adapting and are impatient with a child who is slow to get ready and go out in the morning. Slow down a bit, and give your grandson clear instructions about what you expect, and a timer so he’ll know when it’s time to leave.
Understanding temperament is a tool to use in the never-ending process of building healthy relationships with your grandchild. For more information check out, Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.
For temperament consultations, contact Rona Renner at [email protected]