Understanding Your Child's Personality

Putting All of the Pieces Together

The combination of all these individual traits is what makes your child who he is. Temperament is not something that he chooses, nor is it something that you created.

There is no right or wrong, no better or worse temperament (although some are, no doubt, more challenging to handle). It's very important for children to be accepted for who they are.

But let's face it: Any parent with an intense, reactive child, or a child who is very shy and slow to warm up, will tell you that raising these children can be emotionally and physically exhausting.

Whatever your child's temperament, you may prefer some of your child's characteristics over others. Frank's father may wish that Frank were the kind of kid who would just get on with it rather than take so long to settle in. Carlos's mother sometimes wishes for a disappearing pill, like the day Carlos's exuberant hug knocked over a friend. Even Rahim's parents, who you may think have it made, at times would like Rahim to be more assertive -- for example, not letting everyone cut in front of him for a turn on the swing.

Parents struggle with these kinds of feelings for a range of reasons. Your child's behavior may remind you of parts of yourself you don't like so much and want to change. Conversely, you may feel discomfort with ways in which your child is very different from you -- such as her ease in new situations when you like to take things slow.

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