Your baby is born with its own individual temperament – the way your child responds to the world and to their own body.
Temperament helps to explain how children in the same family often have such different personalities and why parents sometimes find it tough to raise certain children but not others.
(with many thanks to the Illawarra Early Parenting Centre for sponsoring this article – you can read more about the Illawarra’s only residential postnatal support service for babies from 28 days to 2 years of age HERE or scroll down to the end of this article for more information about their extensive support program for parents).
Here are some important things to know about your child’s temperament:
It’s not your fault!
Temperament has a lot to do with how you feel about yourself as a parent – but it shouldn’t. You see, a child’s temperament is not something that parents can choose or change, nor can a child simply decide to change his or her nature. It’s important to take comfort in realising that a lot of who your child is, is simply beyond your control. What you can do is understand and accept.
Get to know your baby
As you probably know by now, temperament is expressed through different behavioural styles. Some babies are relaxed and easy-going; others are more intense, even dramatic. Some move constantly; others sit still. Babies can express their temperament by being cheerful; others stay more serious.
But even if you haven’t quite grasped your baby’s unique temperament, don’t panic. It can take time. By watching closely and observing, you will get to know the little quirks which make them truly unique. It will also help you to work out how to best care for your baby and continue to build that special bond, which will enhance your child’s development.
Look for the goodness
Some research suggests a baby’s temperament will fall into one of three, crude categories: easy, difficult or slow to warm up.
This is a simplistic way of categorising temperament and makes it clear to see how “easy” babies are more likely to be considered as “good” babies, while “difficult” babies could be seen as “naughty”. Our Early Parenting Centre encourages and promotes the notion of all babies and children having “goodness” – even when their behaviour might be challenging.
Let’s not forget that as parents, you have your own temperament and personality too! Reflecting on your own temperament will help you to adjust your parenting to fit that of your child’s, leading to long-term well-being for both you and your child. Source: www.raisingchildren.net.au/articles/temperament_what_is_it.html/context/738
Get in Touch
The Illawarra Early Parenting Centre, located at Figtree Private Hospital, is the Illawarra’s only residential postnatal support service for babies up to 2 years of age. Their support program can assist with a range of common parenting concerns including:
- Sleep and settling
- Feeding difficulties
- Developing daily routines
- Maternal exhaustion
- Bonding with your baby
- Adjusting to parenting
For more information on how the Illawarra Early Parenting Centre can help tailor your parenting style, please contact them online or call (02) 4255 5000. Alternatively, click here to learn more about the Illawarra Early Parenting Centre Program.