Wrong.  But another missing point, and one I have discussed before, is that whether we are happy or sad seems to start in one of those temperament traits Thomas and Chess discuss.

Anyone who has interacted with a great many babies knows that some seem easily contented while others seem rarely contented.  Those are the extremes, but the point remains, happiness is partly determined by our genes, not by whether our parents did or did not parent us effectively.


  1. Learn about temperament. Reading the link above is a beginning.
  2. Think about your temperament, your child’s, and the temperament of others caring for your child.
  3. Think about goodness of fit.  A bold active child does well with a caretaker who is also bold and active.  S/he might have a harder time with a shy and less active parent.  Sometimes opposites work out well, sometimes not.
  4. Try a few of the tests designed to ferret out more about personality types.  I had to take a Meyer’s Briggs Test .  I felt it was so on target and useful that I took it home and gave it to David to take.  It explained our personalities and made me more understanding of some of our conflicts.  At another point I had to take the Kolb Learning Inventory.  Wow did that teach me about dynamics at my workplace!  From both tests I learned something that explained some of my life long struggles—I am not in the norm.  In both tests, I am in one or another of the 10% crowd.  Explains why lots of people don’t listen to me.  But knowing that made me more sensitive to others and myself.
  5. Do not take the tests as gospel.  I just did this quick on-line Meyer’s Briggs Test and according to it I was a different typology than the earlier one. This one rated me as an introvert.  I draw my energy from people which is an extrovert, but aging and deafness have made me less social or interested in face-to-face interactions.  That may be why my profile changed.
  6. Temperament is only part of the puzzle.  My guru Jerome Kagan says what makes a person who she or he is, depends on hundreds of things.  Temperament is one, what parents do another,  others include where one lives, what ones experience are.  He also lists chance, what others call luck or karma or blessings.  Listing chance is one of the reasons I love him so.
  7. Do think about what the tests say, but also remember every test searches for objectivity whilce and every person searches for their uniqueness.  As the AA people say, “Take what works and leave the rest behind.”


Share this post if you think it will aid another.  The kindness will circle back to strengthen you even if the person rejects your effort to aid.  Sometimes it takes a while for advice to sink in; sometimes others have to add their voice.  Life is a journey and we are all on different parts of the path.

Stay strong, I work at it all the time.


[Image Source]


  1. I enjoyed reading this… I agree with you that we can contribute to another person’s joy but we can’t control it or give them happiness.

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