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Introduction to Temperament

by Guest
Posted August 26 2010 11:58am
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Picture this scenario: Ava and Theresa are sitting in the park with their newborn babies. Theresa’s baby, Hannah, seems fussy and is crying continually. Ava’s baby, Mike, on the other hand, appears calm and peacefully stares at his mom’s face and around him. 

Theresa, looking frustrated and very tired, wants to know how Ava keeps Mike so calm. She shares with Ava how baby Hannah had been this fussy since her birth and she’s afraid that she may have been doing something wrong. She has to rock Hannah all the time in order to calm her down. Ava explains to Theresa that Mike has always been a quiet baby, and advises Theresa to speak to her doctor or nurse about Hannah’s behaviour.

Did Ava advise Theresa wisely? What advice would you have given to Theresa?

Understanding a Temperamental Baby
From birth, babies differ in personality. Some may be more fussy or quiet, energetic or calm and sensitive or insensitive to loud noises. These behaviours are what we call temperament, and much of this is first seen in the first few months after birth.

A lot of the parenting you provide hinges on your expectations for your baby’s temperament and behaviour. An active baby of active parents may be accepted as “just right,” while the very same baby born into a family of quiet reserved parents might be thought to be “hyperactive.”  Sometimes our culture sets our expectations. For example, a boisterous boy baby receives quite a different reaction in most settings than a boisterous girl baby. And a fussy baby is challenging to almost every parent.

Learn more about temperament by reading other articles and watching our temperament video

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