Temperaments and Personality

Alexander Thomas, Stella Chess, Herbert G. Birch, Margaret Hertzig and Sam Korn began the classic New York Longitudinal study in the early 1950s regarding infant temperament (Thomas, Chess & Birch, 1968). The study focused on how temperamental qualities influence adjustment throughout life. Chess, Thomas et al. rated young infants on nine temperament characteristics each of which, by itself, or with connection to another, affects how well a child fits in at school, with their friends, and at home. Behaviors for each one of these traits are on a continuum.[1]

When it comes to baby temperaments, most experts divide babies into three categories: easygoing, slow to warm up and difficult.

What do we mean by temperament? It's the way a person experiences and reacts to what's going on both inside and outside of him. You can think of it as his behavioural style. For a baby, this might mean how regularly he sleeps and eats, how vigorous his movements are, how easily he's soothed or distracted and how readily he accepts new foods or people.[2]

A child's temperament may change a lot during the first few months, because the way a newborn behaves is influenced by temporary factors such as pregnancy hormones, your own health and diet, how long your labour was, a premature birth and immature neurological development. Once these factors start to recede around four months or so, you'll have a better sense of what kind of child you're dealing with. So keep an open mind, try to understand and adjust to his present pattern and wait to see what the future brings.[3]

No matter where you may stand on the child development debate of nature versus nurture, it is generally accepted that a baby is born with innate tendencies to react to people and to act a certain way. This is what we call temperament.

Sometimes parents and babies have conflict because their temperaments are so similar or dissimilar, but the idea is that if you understand your baby's temperament you can match your expectations and parenting style accordingly.[4]

In the 1970s, two researchers, Thomas and Chess, described nine characteristics of behavior in children. Each characteristic is on a spectrum from mild to intense. These characteristics are used to describe the child’s temperament or “those stable, individual differences in emotional reactivity, activity level, attention, and self-regulation” that are typical of that child.

The nine traits of temperament are:

* activity level
* rhythmicity
* approach - withdrawal
* adaptability
* persistence - attention span
* intensity of reaction
* distractibility
* threshold of responsiveness
* quality of mood.[5]

This is my photo taken the first time I was crawling

baby's temperaments and personlities farzan esfandiar


[1] Wikipedia.org
[2] babycentre.co.uk
[3] ibid
[4] family.go.com
[5] keepkidshealthy.com

About Me:
I am a 294 days / 9 months, 3 weeks & 3 days old baby