We’re a few weeks into lockdown now and everyone’s adapting to the new normal but some individuals and families maybe finding it easier than others to make the shift regardless of situational factors like finance, adequate space, access to a garden etc. Some of us simply cope better with change, perhaps having less sensitivity to being cooped up in a space, or to someone else’s noise or mood. The imposed confinement might suit the temperament of some.
Temperament is an innate quality we are born with which dictates how we approach the world and interact with others and can include how active we are, how we react to new things, adjust to change and how easily we are distracted. It is so fundamental to our uniqueness, who we are and how we behave and so is presented towards the start of the SFSC curriculum.
Our unique temperamental patterns may remain relatively consistent over time or may appear to change when we feel compelled to mask our natural feelings or behaviours in order to fit in. Temperament which colours our personality and character is an important internal factor influencing behaviour. As such, when a child’s personality or temperament doesn’t quite fit or match other family members it can be a real challenge for everyone especially during this period of lockdown or at other difficult times.
There is no right or wrong, better or worse temperament; neither can a parent choose or create their child’s temperament
Neither can a parent choose or create their child’s temperament. Therefore, it is essential that children be accepted for who they are. Parents may well find some personalities easier to handle than others based on their own temperament; unsurprisingly, compatibility between a parent and a child’s temperament can affect the quality of their relationship. Compatibility does not mean that temperaments have to match, as a match in one area may cause as much conflict for one family as a mismatch in the same area for another (imagine if every person in the same family has lots of energy). Parents are not expected to change their temperament either, but may need to alter or adjust their caregiving to better meet the needs of their child.
Understanding your own as well as your child’s temperament is key to developing harmonious relationships.
The reflective tool provided in SFSC enables parents to discover and compare their temperament traits with each child. By being aware of temperament a parent can better understand themselves and their child, appreciate their child’s uniqueness, and deal with problems that may lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. Remember, the goal is not to change the child, but to help them to do well by nurturing their strengths and providing support for their struggles so they can be, and feel, more comfortable and competent at home and in the world.