Last week we talked about how to assess the readiness of your child. This week we will talk about their temperaments. Temperaments play a huge factor in what your child is capable of. Even adults who have a certain temperament are able to do some things well and others poorly. Big corporations have even begun to give temperament tests to applicants in order to wean out prospects that don’t match their most successful profiles. I have designed a very basic test to give you a general idea of your child’s temperament. Your results will be more conclusive if you have another caregiver take the test as well and compare scores.
Read each statement and mark them either a 1 as never, a 2 as sometimes, or a 3 as always.
- My child is high energy and rarely stops for anything. She is like the Energizer Bunny. She goes and goes and goes and goes…..1 2 3
- My child always cries when he is playing and another child takes a toy from him. They have to have it back and they wanted it yesterday. 1 2 3
- My child is very particular about the way something needs to be done. If we don’t do it exactly the way she has asked, she has a melt down. 1 2 3
- My child always cries when it is nap time. It is a battle to get him down. 1 2 3
- When my child is with another caregiver, she is frequently in trouble. 1 2 3
13-15 Non Compliant
8-10 Even Tempered
A noncompliant child doesn’t ever want to be told to anything. These children need a caregiver with a strong back bone. Carefully decide what the essentials are, then do everything possible to see that your child follows your instructions. If they do not, have some clearly stated consequences for not complying. Don’t ever ask a noncompliant child if they need to use the restroom. They always do not. You must decide on regular intervals during the day and say, “Now we are going to the potty”, and reward them for sitting on the potty for a certain length of time whether they do anything or not. They will kick and scream. They do not want to stop what they are doing to do something boring like sitting on a potty. You can make the potty more inviting by having a basket of their favorite books or favorite toys. You can even have them pick out some items ahead of time. A good rule of thumb for intervals is every hour until something is produced, then you can stretch the time to the next potty break. And never make a child sit more than 5 minutes.
The even tempered child is a child with a balanced temper. They don’t fall on either extreme. Most of the time they follow your instructions and they want to please you. You might even be able to ask them if they need to go rather than making them go at regular intervals. These children should also be rewarded just for sitting on the potty, whether they produce anything or not.
The last group is the compliant. Compliant children fall into two groups. One is the group of extreme people pleasers and the other is the extremely laid back kids who don’t mind anything. The people pleasers don’t like to be wet or dirty and want to do it right the first time. They are probably the easiest of all to train. While the other party, may take some time because they don’t really care that they have poopy pants and they don’t see what the fuss is about. For your people pleasers, don’t make a too big a deal about their accidents. They are already so hard on themselves. Just encourage them to keep trying with lots of hugs and reassure them of your love. However, for the laid back kids, accidents are a totally different story. I would even encourage you to enlist older laid back children to the cleaning crew. After washing out poop from their underwear and pants a few times by themselves, they start thinking twice about not going to the bathroom.
Next week we will talk about some pointers and secret inside information for all children. For discussion…what have you discovered about your children’s temperaments? How do you parent them differently?