Sunday, January 20, 2013
Children's Temperaments: Meeting your child where he is...Part 1
Inborn Temperaments: The intrinsic, innate, hardwired set of personality traits that your child came into this world with.
We all come into this world with our own "stuff". The stuff that makes us unique. Temperaments that determine whether we will be "risk takers" or "tentative". Shy or outgoing. Patient or easily frustrated. Naturally independent, or on the needy side. High strung or calm. Energetic, a couch potato, or somewhere in-between. The list can go on and on.
Now don't misunderstand, I am not implying that these traits are completely cut in stone, or so permanently ingrained that they are unable to be "tweaked". I like to think of a child's inborn "blueprint" as a starting point. Desirable or undesirable, the set of personality traits that your child brings with him into this world is truly where your work as a parent starts.
I think it is most important to understand just what your child's set of blueprints look like. To best meet their needs, you must.
The world of parenting has really not changed much over time in the sense that most of us really want what's best for their child. Parent's naturally want to see their child grow in all areas: physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Mainly, we want for our children to meet their "full" potential. Each generation seems to bring with it their own ideas on how best to achieve this goal.
These generational parenting models are embraced socially, academically, culturally, adopted and embraced by most institutions of the current time. Some more notable models were, "spare the rod & spoil the child". Then their was the parental paradigm that approached parenting from a standpoint of understanding your child's "stages of development". There was the focus on "self-esteem" model, geared toward not crushing the child with to many boundaries or emotional restraints. Again, there have been, and always will be a current socially set of parenting "do's & don'ts" for each new set of parents to glean wisdom from. You will find these little pearl's of wisdom from best selling books, coffee clutches at your local playground, and of course, even some of your own family members....
Most parenting models I can't argue with...completely. After all, they really do often have your child's best interest at heart. I will say this though....there is no "one" way to raise a child. There is no "foolproof method". There is no one parenting model that is able to completely meet the needs of every child. Every child is different. So ask yourself, if that is true, how could one set of child rearing viewpoints be good for every child?
The wisdom of parenting...the ability to extract from the good the things that work for YOUR child, and discard the rest...often despite what all the books and experts are telling you.
It is very easy to buy into a set of current parenting guidelines because everybody is telling you that is what you must do and that is what works. In fact, indeed, you will see many examples of why the current paradigm works...try them...if they work great...keep doing what your doing. If it is not working....Chances are high that the current parenting method does not meet your own special unique child's set of needs. So discard them, tweak them, find what works, and do that instead. (a word of caution....the pressure can be so great out there by the "system people" that you will doubt yourself....DON'T).
So I say this again...Get to know your child's inborn temperament. It is vital. If your try to mold your child with parenting methods that don't meet his/her needs, I promise you, they won't work. It can in fact make things worse. If you try to mold a child into something that is not of their inherent temperament, you will fail.
Your child is your child. He is not Johnny or Ben or Sarah or Susie. They don't have those other children's temperaments. They have their own set of blueprints. So don't try to build an apartment building with a set of blueprints that call for a single family home. Get it?
It took me awhile as a first time mom to learn some of this. We can easily fall into the trap of trying to be the perfect mom, trying to make the perfect child. A humbling lesson for me. The reality is I am not perfect, and nor is my child...how boring would that be anyway.
My next post I am going to talk more about some inborn traits. What can they look like? Can we work with the undesirable ones that may be hurting your child's potential (or driving your crazy). Understanding that every trait has a spectrum....a range.....that is indeed moldable, and also understanding what your child's unique range is in that moment and at that time of his life.