Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday Tidbits: Temperament

Have you ever spent time observing the wide range of behaviors a child exhibits on a day to day basis? I never really gave much thought to why children behave the way they do until I had Trayton. Temperamental qualities have been linked to how a person adjusts throughout their life span. Child psychiatrists Alexander Thomas and Stella Chess' research focuses on child development. They studied nine behaviors in children to better understand temperament.

The behaviors studied were:
Activity level
Approach or withdrawal
Attention span and persistence
Intensity of reaction
Quality of mood
Threshold of responsiveness

Three tempermental patterns were derived from the frequency and intensity with which these behaviors were exhibited; research found that all of the children exhibited the behaviors at some time, however, some children were predispositioned to show certain behaviors:

1. Easy - a child exhibiting this pattern would be characterized by their ready adaptabilty, positive mood, and regular sleep, elimination and eating schedules. They also exhibit positive approach responses to new situations.

2. Difficult - pattern is characterized by the slow adaptability, intense emotions, irregular sleep, elimination and eating schedules, irritability and fussiness. These children also exhibit negative responses to new situations.

3. Slow-to-Warm-Up - children exhibiting this pattern have a low level of activity and tend to withdraw from new people and situations. However, their withdrawal is closely followed by their gradual acceptance and adaptability to the new person or situation. Their sleep, elimination and eating schedules are fairly consistent.

Children who do not fit neatly into one of the above patterns of temperament are said to be average, meaning that they may exhibit the behaviors listed above as positive or negative and at varying times, but particular behaviors are not exhibited more than others as in the three afore mentioned patterns.

Thomas and Chess found that the three patterns, Easy, Difficult and Slow-to-Warm-Up, were stable predictors of temperament throughout childhood.   

Wishing you a pot o' gold, and all the joy your heart can hold. Thanks for reading! Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory


  1. This is some great info.

  2. Thanks! I thought it was pretty interesting :)


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