Personality is referred as the sum total of behavioral, attitudinal and emotional responses of an individual. One of the major determinants of a child’s personality are the temperament traits and how well they interact with the environment. Temperament refers to a set of in-born traits which organize the approach of a child to the world. They play a huge role in the development of the child’s unique personality. Additionally, these traits are huge determinant on how children respond to the world around them. In the pursuit of trying to understand a child’s personality, there have been a constant debate about the role of nature versus the nurture argument on how they affect the personality of a child. However, previous studies have established that we discover who our children are but we don’t make them who they are. According to research conducted by Stella Chess and Drs. Alexander, personality can be divided into two components which include character and temperament. Temperament depicts the inborn traits which are predetermined at birth while character refers to the traits that a child develops and hugely depend on the child’s environment. Temperament and character are influential factors in establishing the personality of a child. The common personality types are:
* Choleric– This personality depicts a child who is competitive, adventurous, outspoken, determined and strong-willed.
* Sanguine– A child with this kind of a personality is sociable, playful, lively, talkative and imaginative.
* Melancholy– This personality is manifested in a child who is respectful, persistent, detailed, deep and orderly.
* Phlegmatic- Children with this kind of a personality are adaptable, thoughtful, diplomatic and controlled.
The personality of a child is highly influenced by various temperament traits. The kind of temperament a child is born with varies and hugely impacts on the personality. There exist nine categories of temperament traits where the low and high ends as well as the range in between give many possibilities on the ultimate personality. These nine categories of temperament that influence the child’s personality are:
* Activity– This refers to the physical energy of the child. Some are born with high energy levels while others have low energy and this affects their adaptation to the environment.
* Regularity- Some children seem to be born with inbuilt clocks which regulates their biological functions and this influences their personality.
* Initial reaction– The way a child approaches new situations communicates a lot about their underlying personality.
* Adaptability- This refers to the way a child responds or adjusts to routine after the initial reaction and the changes in the environment.
* Intensity– This relates to both negative and positive emotional responses of the child.
* Mood– This depicts the child’s overall demeanor which depicts if the child has a negative or positive outlook on life.
* Distractibility– This trait established if the child is able to focus on an activity without being distracted by external factors.
* Persistence and attention span– A trait associated with how long a child can remain attentive and persistent when executing a task.
* Sensory threshold– This refers to the response of the child to stimuli such as noise, light, smell.
A “goodness-of-fit” is achieved when the expectations and demands of parents and environment become compatible with the temperament of the child. When there is an incompatibility, a “personality conflict” is manifested. At early stages of parenting, parents should work with the child’s temperamental traits instead of opposing them. As the child matures, parents should help the child to adapt to the world by offering responsive parenting which accommodates the temperament traits.
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