Infant Temperments

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Temperament is the combination of mental, physical, and emotional traits of a person; natural predisposition. Temperament is defined as stable individual differences in quality and intensity of emotional reaction, activity level, attention, and emotional self-regulation. These underlying traits are thought to be the building blocks of adult personality, and have thus received a great deal of attention. When we describe someone as cheerful and energetic, or mean and prone to outbursts of anger, we are referring to an underlying predisposition or temperament. A study started in 1956 by Thomas and Chess is the longest study of temperament on record. In this study, 130-140 kids were followed from early infancy to adulthood. Some of findings indicate that: Temperament is a critical factor that can either increase or decrease the chances that a child will suffer from psychological problems due to a highly stressful upbringing. Temperament is not fixed and unchangeable but I strongly believe that if, given the right environmental conditions temperament can be modified. Parenting practices can greatly alter a kid’s temperamental style. For example, if a kid’s temperament interferes with learning or social development, it is important for adults to recognize this and attempt to gently, but consistently, modify the disruptive behavior. The Goodness-of-Fit Model attempts to explain how a kid’s temperament and the proper environment can work together to help a kid gain more adaptive functioning. How might you modify the environment to help a child, described as having a difficult temperament, adjust? Almost all infants have a period during the day when they are fussy. New parents need to recognize this as normal and not worry. All babies cry and fuss. Many infants spend a considerable amount of time being fussy. Young infants cry between one and five hours out of 24. Crying is important for babies; it is...
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