Tag Archives: temperament


Going with the flow, not letting change throw you around remains an major skill To move ahead on the path to the good life.


Thank you Carl D’Agostino for giving me the privilege of sharing your cartoons

Change starts with birth and ends with death. Before thinking about your child and change, think about you and change. The ability to accept change is partly built into us at birth. Some of us rush to the new and the adventuresome; some wait a bit before joining in, and some would prefer to stay with the old.

This inborn responses to change comes with our genes in the form of temperament traits. Jerome Kagan, retired Harvard researcher and professor, sees  temperament traits as one of the first influences on how we become who we are.

So which are you? Eager Beaver? Careful Cat? Shy Sparrow? Extrovert?  Introvert?  Bigger question? Is your child the same as you or on a totally different wave length. That is what the experts call “fit” as in “goodness of fit.”

Often we pick partners who are our opposite. Eager Beaver? You might pick a Shy Sparrow to hold you back or to make you feel bolder and braver.  A Careful Cat or Shy Sparrow You might pick an Eager Beaver might bring you out a bit.

Two of my grandsons are at the opposite ends of the bold to shy, extravert or introvert ways of being. Guess what? One parent is an Eager Beaver; the other a Shy Sparrow.  And I am more the Shy Sparrow, while my husband is an Eager Beaver.

Two other thoughts before a few suggestions. One thought, people are far more complicated than the above shows; according to Kagan temperament is only one of a hundred things that  explain the way we are. That is good news. With a bit of help, A Shy Sparrow might become if not an Eager Beaver at least a Careful Cat.

I am a Shy Sparrow at heart. Know me in some situations and you’d question that. Look at how I stood up on Oprah. My shy self was in full retreat.  I do not even remember being nervous.  Get me to a party where I know no one, and watch me shudder and try to fade into the woodwork or fly away like the Shy Sparrow I am at heart.

In the Oprah situation, I was sharing knowledge that I was confident I knew. In the second, I didn’t know much about what I could share with socially adept strangers. Context matters.

The second thought related to the above: how our temperament plays out in our lives is not set in stone.  Eager Beavers can be squashed in some situations or by some life events. Think of the Eager Beaver child in a classroom that demands more quiet compliance than the Eager Beaver ordinarily displays.  A Careful Cat will do best in such a class room.

My mother recognized my Shy Sparrow and made things like my appearance on Oprah possible.


Parenting tip number one: Know your child’s temperament traits. Honor them; do not try to force a sparrow to become a beaver.

Parenting tip number two: Know the various temperament traits surrounding your child. Label them as such. That will begin to teach your children how to figure some things out about other people, Figuring people out build’s emotional intelligence. Moreover, it helps the child figure out a bit about him or her self, another building block for emotional intelligence.

Parenting tip number three: Encourage both  the Eager Beaver  and Shy Sparrow to acquire some of the Careful Cat’s ways.  The middle way works best in most situations.

Parenting tip number four: Prod don’t push. The turtle wins more races when trying to teach your child a better way of being. One of my Mom’s mottos was “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gain.” When I was hesitant about something, she’d repeat that and then add, “Try it, you might like it; if not no great loss.”

Parenting tip number five: Strengthen every family members self-soothing skills.  Buy my eBook Self-soothing: Create Calm in Your Life.  Right now it costs less than an ice cream cone  and lasts longer.

Remember you can read Amazon eBooks on any of your devices by using this free application.


Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful.  Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it?  Comment and tell me why and how to improve.


This post was not inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt, but by  Facebook Friend Dorian Cole. Thank you Dorian.


These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.



Wonder at the differences between one child and another? One big way we all differ involves temperament – a genetic given.

Thank you

Thank you keithnicolas.files.wordpress.com for this.

Temperament varies from person to person and strongly influences how we relate to others. Temperament is combination of biologically determined traits. When trying to figure out someone’s temperament, the experts look at these nine traits:

  1. Activity level
  2. Regularity of bodily functions
  3. Sensitivity to stimuli—what some call pain threshold
  4. Response level
  5. Approach to other people
  6. Response to change
  7. Ability to persist
  8. Ability to stay focused
  9. Mood

Think about your child  and figure out where s/he ranks in terms of these traits using the following ratings. Five is always the mid-point between the two extremes.

  1. Low energy     1   2   3  4  5  6  7  8  9     High energy
  2. Regular and predictable bodily functions   1   2   3  4  5  6  7  8  9    Irregular
  3. Sensitive to stimuli   1   2   3  4  5  6  7  8  9    Not sensitive
  4. Quiet reactor   1   2   3  4  5  6  7  8  9    Loud reactor
  5. Cautious (Shy)       1   2   3  4  5  6  7  8  9    Bold
  6.  Does not like change   1   2   3  4  5  6  7  8  9     Eager for change
  7. Gives up easily    1   2   3  4  5  6  7  8  9    Doesn’t know when to quit
  8. Easily distracted      1   2   3  4  5  6  7  8  9  Highly Focused
  9. Sad or irritable most of the time       1   2   3  4  5  6  7  8  9   Mostly cheerful

This is just a way to give you a quick estimate of some of your child’s temperament traits and not at all evidenced based. Still many parents have found it helpful.

The experts see personality as a clustering of traits.

An easy-going personality would be someone who was a five or six in terms of energy; is regular in his or her bodily functions; the middle or above in terms of sensitivity, reactivity, approach to people; regarding change at a seven eight; as high as a nine in persistence and ability to stay focused: and finally, cheerful most of the time.

Challenging personalities generally fall into two types.  Some have low energy; are highly irregular in terms of bodily function; highly sensitive to stimuli; mixed reactors – meaning no outward reaction, but an occasional loud explosion; cautious; easily discouraged; gives up quickly, doen’t like change, and is often sad or irritable. These are often anxious children, need lots of support, and help learning to deal with life.

Some are the opposite in many ways—not sensitive; bold, and persistent. These are the children who are difficult to most difficult to control as they resist control. Some of these bold and persistent personalities are cheerful; some are sad or irritable.  The cheerful ones do better at life.

All children have strengths and weaknesses. Learning a child’s temperament helps you have more reasonable expectations.

Parenting tip

Figure out your temperament and how well yours fits with your child’s temperament..  Go back and apply the ratings to yourself and see how your ratings match or contradict your child’s ratings.  Also check out your child’s other parent’s temperament.

A bold, high activity parent or caregiver might find a shy and low energy child challenging.  A sensitive child, might become more fearful living with a bold, energetic parent or caregiver. Highly active children have a difficult time managing school.

Temperament Rating Scales help anyone caring for or about a child think more clearly about the child’s needs and how well his/her needs fit with an adult.  When we don’t understand temperament, we often feel the child is being difficult on purpose, then you are expecting him/her to control what s/he cannot control.



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Thank you and work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult but staying strong lets me find the good.