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Archive for the ‘temperament’ Category

Son’s Easy Temperament an Asset for Coping with Physical Disability

May 21st, 2015

The temperament experts—describe three temperament types—feisty, slow to warm up and easy.  I have blogged about my feisty 15-year old son, my slow to warm up 20-year old daughter and now I am going to share with you my experiences raising my 21- year old “easy” son.  Has parenting him always been easy?  Not in the least!

My first born son—Jared has always been an easy temperament kid.   He really never cried.  I fed him every four hours because that’s what the doctor said.  He didn’t demand it.  But I knew I should.  He didn’t use a pacifier.  He was content on his own.   He smiled at everybody.  He adjusted well, despite his parents’ inexperience.    He was simply the most content, happy baby.  His easy temperament was a good match for my sometimes “feisty” temperament.

My concerns with his physical development started at 10 months of age when I noted that he couldn’t sit up on his own.  And at 18 months, I really began to worry because he still wasn’t walking.  I remember our family doctor looking at him as he referred to a child development book and said,  “Hmm, he really should be walking.  “He looks strong enough”.  As a first time mom I wondered,  “ was he just “too easy-going?” ,  “ was he lazy?”, or “could it be something else?”.  But his easy going style, and a long waiting list for the developmental clinic kept these questions in my mind for several months.  And still he couldn’t walk.

Then at 20 months of age, Jared had his first of several febrile seizures.  Most twenty month olds wouldn’t have tolerated that EEG cords, the IVs and the liquid epileptic medications.  But Jared did.  He Smiled, and actually seemed to enjoy the interaction with the nurses and lab technicians.  The testing went on for a couple of months and then just prior to his 2 year birthday, we received his diagnosis of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.  Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a progressive neuromuscular disease that typically effects only males, because of the x-linked genetic mutation.  Boys are sometimes slow to develop physically, sometimes have speech and cognitive challenges as well as cardiac and pulmonary issues, and lose the ability to walk around the age of 12.  So at the same time that we celebrated his first steps, we mourned the losses that lay ahead his first future knowing that he would permanently lose his ability to walk.  His easy going temperament has been the key to our acceptance.  He has never expressed his desire to do anything physical that he wasn’t able to do.  His positive attitude is infectious.  His easy temperament is an asset.  I hope that you  can see the temperaments that your children have as an asset too!

 

Janet Smith

disability, parenting, temperament , ,

Persistent Child and Persistent Parent

April 20th, 2015

ThinkstockPhotos-101096310My first two children were relatively “easy” babies.  Then I gave birth to my third child and I immediately, knew something was different.  He was  intense and persistent…right from  birth.  He required less sleep.  He demanded more and  most of the time he got more or at least he put up a good fight.    During his toddler years, I can remember wishing that he was less persistent.  But I have come to appreciate that his persistence is a wonderful, desirable trait and it is an absolute essential trait to success in the adult world.    I’ve had to re-think and re-frame this trait.   Especially—after much self reflection I have realized that it is also one of my stronger temperament traits.  Some could describe him as “argumentative”, but I have chosen to view him more positively, as  a young man who is “strongly committed” to his goals.

Do you have child like my son Cole who seems to stand firm and have a hard time accepting “no” for an answer? When he get an idea in his head, he is determined to carry it through.   He has been known to push and sometimes almost shove to have things done his way.   Persistence is one of the temperament traits that every child possesses, and is one of the contributing factors that make every child unique. Some kids like my Cole are on the extreme or high end of the “persistence” scale.

I have learned that being aware of your children’s unique temperament and  how they respond to the world around them can help you and your child understand and learn to work together to create more harmony within your home and to provide an environment where everyone can be more successful.   From experience I know that persistent children can wear parents down with their strength of will. It helps to remain neutral and not engage in battle with your children when they are upset. They really need you to take charge when they get locked-in or stuck and to help them find ways to get calm.

There is a positive side to being persistent. These children tend to be goal oriented. Once they set a goal, they will stick with it, determined to work hard to reach their objective. They tend to pay close attention and listen to your instructions more thoroughly than their less persistent peers. Once they begin a task, including chores, they tend to endure to the end. Because of their unwavering sense of commitment, they often are big achievers with high hopes and goals and they often become strong leaders as they follow their passions.

So what’s a parent to do?  From my experience I have tried to focus on three simple strategies.  First I have learned ways to stay calm and avoid power struggles that I could lose. We have learned how to find solutions where we both win.  Secondly—I have tried to teach him strategies that calm him when he gets upset, such as learning to compromise and learning to be more flexible.   He has learned how to “take a break”, when he’s getting frustrated and prior to his breaking point. And lastly, I have learned that I am a “persistent parent”.  There must be a genetic correlation with this trait!  So I have learned to “be the adult” and relax my persistence.  I’ve learned to drop arguments and remind him that we can problem solve together.

 

Janet Smith

conflict, temperament

My favorite temperament type

April 11th, 2015

ThinkstockPhotos-465790704Oh oh…. I said it out loud (well sort of). The feisty child one of my favorite temperament types! I just can’t help it! I love interacting with a feisty temperament. I know that sounds silly but even as a preschool teacher I was always at my best when I was engaged with the feisty kiddo. Maybe ‘favorite’ isn’t the right word to use. I guess it was just that ‘I get them’. I understand the feisty traits. I ‘get’ where they are coming from.

Now just to clarify, I’m pretty sure my parents would not have labeled me as feisty. My feisty traits were sprinkled with a whole lot of adaptability. Which, for me, held the negative parts of feisty in check. So when it comes to feisty temperaments I understand that sense of  being determined. Of wanting what I want. Of being persistent. In the moment of feistiness, I know how your ‘gut’ feels. What your stomach is doing. How fast your brain synapses are firing. I understand that, I get it.

So what did I learn about interacting with a feisty temperament? Most importantly, that a calm, cool and collected demeanor is the best way to approach the feisty child. You see, amidst their feistiness they won’t be able to hear your ‘reasoning or logic’. Their feistiness is in the way. It’s too loud in their head, they literally can’t hear you. But, they can still see your reactions.

That’s about all that you can do sometimes. SHOW them. Model for them how you want them to respond or behave. There’s little time or room for long drawn out liturgies and lessons on appropriate language or the use of gentle touches. Feisty kids need that ‘extra‘ moment to see calm cool and collected from you. They are looking for you to ‘show‘ them how to tame that feisty feeling that has overtaken their body.

So very hard sometimes yet so very vital to teaching them self-control.

What are some techniques you have ‘shown’?

Lori Hayungs

 

 

 

communicating, conflict, discipline, energy, parenting, positive parenting, relationships, spanking, temperament , , , , , ,

Was I too late?

March 13th, 2015

for blog smallerWhen my oldest child was one year old, I was introduced to the world of ‘Temperament’. I remember thinking at that time, “She’s already 1! Am I too late! What if I already ruined her by not knowing her temperament!?”

It sounds silly now, as she teeters on the brink of 18, but back then all I could think about was the year I had missed BT (Before Temperament). I can tell you this with 100% confidence. It is NOT TO LATE! Learning to understand your child’s temperament, along with your own temperament, can happen at any time. It can happen right now regardless of your child’s age.

This month we talk about taking the time to learn your child’s ‘temperament style’ and then parent according to that style. Parenting is not a ‘one size fits all’.  Taking care of any child (grandchild, neighbor, niece, nephew, sibling) isn’t even close to ‘one size fits most’. Building relationships with children means taking the time to learn to appreciate what their genetics granted them, find a way to build their confidence and self-esteem and guide them into social competence.

Where can you start? By learning about their style. By appreciating the unique characteristics of that style. By implementing one thing to show them you understand that style.  Here are a couple of GREAT places to start.

ISU Extension and Outreach Understanding Children publications

Lets Talk … Child Care : Temperament

Preventive Ounce

Temperament: Understanding Behavioral Individuality

 

What is that ONE thing that you will do to parent ‘to their unique style’. Share with us!

Lori Hayungs

communicating, fathers, friendship, grandparenting, mother, parental relationships, parenting, positive parenting, raising teens, relationships, social-emotional, temperament , , , , , , , ,

Seeing Through the Temperament Window

February 19th, 2015

I  like to think of learning about temperament as ‘cleaning off a window’. The window is the way we can ‘see into’ who our child is and how they respond to their world. At first, the window may be dusty or clouded and we aren’t able to see through it clearly. As we learn about our child’s temperament, we begin to clear the cloudiness off the window and can begin to anticipate the child’s responses or even predict a particular behavior. A clear view through the window can help us understand why they do what they do.

Like Janet said last week, allowing time to give the ‘slow to warm’ or ‘shy’ child a chance to ‘get used to it’ is important to supporting their self-esteem. The same can be true for allowing them extra time to learn new routines, try new foods or get acclimated to new clothes or shoes. It’s important to remember that for this temperament ‘newness’ of anything really IS a challenge. Allowing them the opportunity to try, test and experiment can be an easy way to show them you support their hesitant temperament.

One of my favorite things about temperament is that it starts with genetics. Ultimately our children respond the way they do based on the genes we gave them. As they grow, their temperament genes can be influenced by how the adults in their lives respond to them. As we encourage, support and dance with their temperament, we are guiding and influencing how they continue to respond to their surroundings. A supportive environment begins to create a ‘good fit’ between the adult and the child. That ‘fit’ becomes a piece of the foundation of the child’s self-esteem.

Share with us how you have encouraged and supported a ‘slow to warm’ or shy temperament?

Lori Hayungs

communicating, discipline, miscellaneous, parenting, temperament

Dancing with a Wallflower or Parenting the “Slow to Warm Up” Child

February 11th, 2015

shutterstock_219620059My daughter is the ultimate “wallflower” when it comes to dancing through life.  I am fortunate to have had the personal experience of parenting  a “slow to warm up” temperament child.   I will share some parenting strategies or “dancing  steps” that I have learned over the years that I think have enhanced our relationship and her development.

First—as a parent I know Hannah well.  I know when she is stressed.  I know when she is scared.  I know when she is apprehensive.  I have learned when she needs support and when she needs a little push.  I have learned how to support and not hover.  This ability to read our kids temperament is the first and most important step in creating the “goodness of fit” that we discussed in our latest Science of Parenting podcast.

I lovingly call her my “wallflower”.  Many times she was overlooked in classroom or in social activities because she was quiet and easily over powered by those with more eager, robust temperaments.  She required more time to adjust to new situations, new environments, and new people.  She was and continues to be highly sensitive to sounds, food, smells, and textures.  She requires time to observe, and become comfortable.  Large groups, busy places, and surprises were hard for her to adjust to.  I learned early in her life—to provide early notification and discussion of what she was going to experience.  Coaching and communicating were important for her comfort.  She is almost twenty now, but still finds comfort in familiarity.

When parenting a “slow to warm up” child, it is important to nurture their development and self-esteem.  They need acceptance.   This means encouraging strengths ( for example- ability to play on her own, or to observe what’s going on around her carefully), and providing support when she needs it (visiting and exploring a new class in child care to help her feel comfortable).

When you notice and appreciate the similarities and differences between you and your child, you can adapt the way you parent in order to meet your child’s individual temperament needs.  This helps your child feel loved, confident, important, and capable.  Sensitive parenting helps your child know and feel good about themselves as they mature.  Lastly, encourage your child to engage in activities that they enjoy.  Avoid the “shy” labels.  Give ample time to help them get used to the idea of doing something new.  Advocate, coach and encourage.

American society tends to view sensitivity and “shyness” as negative traits, but as a parent of a —slow to warm up now adult child I have learned that they have much to offer.  They are perceptive, observant, caring, empathetic and deeply in touch with their feelings and emotions and importantly those of others.  Traits not always easily found in others.    Love and value your kids for who they are.   I love my wallflower….Hannah.

 

Janet Smith

parenting, social-emotional, temperament , ,

Let’s Fight Fair

January 16th, 2014

Conflict between human beings happens. It happens between adults, between children and even between adults and children. So how do we learn to fight fair?

An article I found from the University of Texas at Austin gives some great ideas on how to have conflict in a ‘fair’ way.

Here are some of their suggestions:

  • Deal with only one issue at a time: Stay focused on only one topic. Focus on that one issue until you have resolved it agree to disagree. Then move to the next issue.
  • Avoid accusations: Like Donna talked about last week, use the ‘I messages’ and talk about how it makes you feel. Refrain from using the word ‘you’ as much as possible.
  • Avoid clamming up: Get the issue out. When you stop communicating about what the issue is it can’t possibly be resolved.  Shutting down or becoming silent doesn’t make the issue go away. Keep talking.  If you need to take a break, do so but commit to coming back and finishing the conversation.

For more suggestions read the whole article from the University of Texas at Austin.

Share your ‘fighting fair’ techniques with us here!

Lori Hayungs

parenting, positive parenting, temperament , , , , ,

The RIGHT Kind of Play

March 14th, 2013

I admit to feeling like I had a play deficit when my children were little. So much so that I used to make myself feel pretty guilty because as an early childhood educator I felt like I should be better at ‘PLAY’. What I discovered is that I just play differently. And guess what. So do you!

We all play differently. I found that I like play that is active or has action. Others like to play board and/or card games that are more quiet. While still others enjoy the make believe and dress up adventures. There is no right or wrong way to play. There is just play. Pure and simple. Play. Play is face to face with the children in your life. Engaging their mind and body while creating strong relationships. Back and forth communication.  I guess my message really is don’t over analyze how you play or if you play is good enough or right enough.

Just play.

Pat yourself on the back, give yourself credit and tell me how you like to play with the children in your life.

Lori

education, family time, friendship, grandparenting, language development, play, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional, temperament , , , , , , , , , , ,

Teach Appropriate Behavior Through Discipline – Online Training

March 11th, 2013

It’s not the emotion – it’s the outlet.

February 22nd, 2013

Guest Blogger- Family Life Intern Mackenzie K.

As Donna and the podcast suggested, anger is natural for children. There are countless issues that may cause a child to feel angry: not getting their way, frustration over things that are hard, learning difficulties, family problems, or friendship issues.

Often times we want to tell our children that they should not be angry. Their anger sometimes seems irrational and unjustified to us as parents. In reality, the emotion of anger is not the problem; it is how they handle that anger.

So allow your child to feel angry. We all know how hard it is to try to change your emotions. Help your child identify their feeling as anger. Saying and labeling the emotion like this may be helpful, “You are angry because I won’t let you eat candy before supper” or “I can tell that when you don’t make the circle perfect it makes you frustrated”.

Now that they can recognize their anger, they can learn how to address it. There are some great strategies and tips to try when helping your child learn to handle their anger in the article below:

Helping Children with Anger

Does anyone have any experience using these techniques? What has worked best for you and your child?

discipline, education, family time, friendship, language development, overindulgence, positive parenting, raising teens, school, social-emotional, spanking, temperament , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We all get MAD!

February 10th, 2013

Yep, we all get mad! Infants, toddlers, elementary kids, middle schoolers, high schoolers, college kids, young adults, the middle aged and the aging. We ALL get MAD!  So if we all get mad then why sometimes do we let others people anger confound and confuse us so much?

Understanding how my own emotions impact my behavior was a huge part of me being able to understand why my children get angry and how they show it in their behaviors. I realized that my emotions created my behaviors and my children were reacting to those behaviors.  Think of it like a circle –  Behavior, Reaction, Behavior, Reaction and so on and so on.  As the adult we have to figure out how to make the behaviors and reactions less intense and emotion filled. Easier said than done right?  That’s where our blog begins. Join us and help us start the discussion.

Here are some of my favorite temperament places. Parent Child Help – Mary Sheedy Kurcinka ,   Behavioral-Development Initiatives  and Preventive Ounce

Lori

discipline, positive parenting, social-emotional, temperament , , , , , ,

FRUITY PEBBLES OR DEATH

January 24th, 2013

Guest Blogger – Family Life Intern Mackenzie K

You are at the grocery store and just about done with your shopping. It’s been a pretty pleasant trip, but then you round the last aisle. Your child sprints toward the Fruity Pebbles. “Please please please”. You respond, “No, we aren’t going to get those this time”.  And it begins: the kicking feet, flailing arms, and high-pitched screaming. You are the victim of another grocery store tantrum via Fruity Pebbles or Death.

When it happens to you as the parent, it makes you feel embarrassed, and (let’s be real) frustrated with your child. You just wanted a quick simple trip to the store, and now you have a screaming child drawing a lot of unwanted attention to you.

So how do we address the problem of our screaming child? Some of us may want to spank or threaten. Some of us may want give in to the child’s request in order to stop the fit. Some of us may yell back. Some of us may simply walk away.

According to researchers at Zero to Three, the keyto this scenario  is staying calm rather than losing it. Don’t let your anger get the best of you. Also, make sure to validate your child’s feelings. They really do feel frustrated! There are some great tips and techniques to try in the article below:

Zero to Three: When he doesn’t get his way

Have you used any  of  the techniques in the article before? How has it gone for you?

discipline, family time, overindulgence, positive parenting, social-emotional, spanking, temperament , , , , , ,

Corporal Punishment….. ouch are we really gonna blog about it?

January 4th, 2013

Should parents spank their children? This month that’s our topic~ yes we really are gonna talk about spanking and alternative ways to discipline children.

Listen to the podcast, check out the links and then join us for great discussion!

Research Based links http://humansciences.okstate.edu/facultystaff/Larzelere/

corporal punishment, discipline, podcast, positive parenting, social-emotional, spanking, temperament , , , , , , , ,

The friendship model

October 11th, 2012

As I read the information on friendships I thought about writing about children – because that’s what the blog is about right? But the last part of the podcast really struck me. Where do children learn about friendships?  From the adults role-modeling around them. My children are learning about friends from me and I learned from my parents. 

So I spent that last several days listening and watching what my children see me say and do around and with my friends. Then I spent some time watching my children with their friends. Yep, sure enough it looked similar.  

I want to repeat the 3 bullets from the podcast –

 Friends:

  • provide emotional support
  • teach acceptable behavior
  • teach important attitudes

So I sit here pondering are there things I want my children to learn about friends from their friends? Are their things I want my children to learn about friends from me?  Yes and YES.  And I want the strongest most important lessons to come from me! So it will be up to me to  model about friends to them. Hmmmm Why do these blogs always turn into something I need to do?  :-)   

Share your thoughts with me on how you have modeled about friendships to your children.

Lori Hayungs

education, family time, friendship, positive parenting, social-emotional, temperament , , , , , ,

Good Enough?

August 17th, 2012

As I thought about children and sports this month I want to share something I overheard.

A young child was working on a new physically challenging skill. He was working and working and working so very hard. Finally SUCCESS!!! HE DID IT! He was so proud I swear he grew 4 inches right in front of my eyes! “I did it I tried my best and I did it!”

The older sibling overheard the exclamations of joy and in a grown up voice replied “It’s never our BEST, there is always room for improvement”. 

SILENCE…….. DEFLATION………   end of working on skill.

Isn’t there a time when we really have done it ‘good enough’ to celebrate? Can’t we just stop and celebrate the moment and say “We did our best and we succeeded!” As we continue with children and sports this month, think about really allowing your child to celebrate the moment of their own personal success.

We ALL have to start somewhere and not all of us are going to be Olympians. Besides – without those of us having OUR OWN personal best, their would never be Olympians who we encouraged to be their best.

How have you celebrated personal bests with your child?

Lori

bullying, education, family time, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional, sports, temperament , , , , , , ,