Lets talk about temperament, and for some people temperament means personality or nature of a person.
Temperament is something you are born with; it’s your genetic make up. It is difficult to predict what it will look like in advance, as it is a mix over generations. Although it is your blueprint it doesn’t imply you can’t shape it in the environment.
The environment that you grow up in will help you learn how to apply your temperament traits in your social relationships. This can be a positive supportive environment or a negative neglectful or abusive environment. This is why coaching children through the challenges they face is so important. This is where they learn to use their temperament traits to the fullest or [restricted]how to manage their temperament traits in a healthy social appropriate way.
Temperament traits has been researched and written about for years. Dr’s Chess and Thomas did the most scientific research and descriptions.
They have identified 9 temperament traits measured on a scale of 1(low) to 10(high):
• Activity level; how active is the child/ person
• Distractibility; how well do you/child pay attention and concentrate
• Intensity; how much energy to you/child use when responding to negative or positive stimuli.
• Regularity; predictability of biological functions like sleep, appetite and toileting ext.
• Sensory threshold; How sensitive are you/child to physical stimuli like sound, touch, taste ext.
• Approach/ withdrawal; how to you/child enter a new situation
• Adaptability; Hoe easy is transitioning or change
• Persistence; Length of time you/child can continue with an activity there are challenges in the way
• Mood; How do you/child react to things happening in your world. Are you more of a glass half-full or glass half empty kind of person?
When you have rated all 9 of these traits from 1 to 10, you can see if this is a happy go lucky temperament trait or a more challenging temperament. The descriptions that are mostly use are; difficult child/person, slow to warm up child/person or an easy child/person.
If you want to read more on these traits and temperament you can find more on; http://psych.colorado.edu/~colunga/p4684/temperament.pdf
Personally I do not like these descriptions although it can be very validating for parents with a baby that struggles with feeding, sleeping and just settling down. It does help you understand that it is not necessarily you doing something wrong! But then understanding that you have a difficult baby does not necessarily give you hope for the future. I also think parents often forget that if the baby is difficult the possibility that either one of them or someone in the family has similar temperament traits.
Other ways of describing temperament are through dividing it up in four temperament styles; Melancholic, Phlegmatic, Choleric or Sanguine.
Quite a few people have taken these four styles and described them in a language that makes sense in their world like through animals, trees, Winnie the Pooh characters or other animation characters.
In the business there are also temperament description for example Keirsey and Myers Briggs.
I like the tree description by Hettie Britzz an author in South Africa of the book; Growing kids with Character.
link to the book[/restricted]