Personality: What Are The Key Temperament Traits?

by Guest
Posted August 26 2010 12:14pm
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Although the word "temperament" has no universal definition, it is generally used to describe individual differences in children or their behavioural styles. Thomas and Chess (1977) explain temperament as "the characteristic way the child experiences and relates to the environment." The best-known and most used view of temperament was developed in 1963 by Thomas, Chess, Birch, Hertzig and Korn.

Their nine characteristics describe temperamental traits outlining the behavioural styles that define a child's personality. These may help you better understand your own and your child's behaviour:

  1. Activity Level
    This refers to the level of motor activity and the time involved in active versus inactive periods. While some children cannot sit still for a minute, others play for hours quietly with their toys.
  2. Regularity/Rhythmicity
    This refers to how predictable or regular a child is in terms of biological functioning such as hunger, sleep-wake cycle and bowel elimination. For some children, bedtime and mealtime run like clockwork, while others have little natural rhythm.
  3. Approach/Withdrawal/First Reactions
    This refers to wariness, or how easily a child adapts to new experiences such as foods, people, places and clothes. Some are "plungers" and react enthusiastically to new things, while others immediately back off from the unfamiliar.
  4. Adaptability
    This applies to more long-term responses that a child has to new or changed situations and how the child becomes comfortable when changes occur. A child who adapts easily will need less time getting used to a new house or caregiver than a child who is less adaptable.
  5. Sensory Threshold/Sensitivity
    Children's responses to differences in flavour, texture and temperature vary. Some highly sensitive children are over stimulated by noise, touch, bright lights, texture and the feel of clothes. Some children like to wear the same thing day after day, because it feels right.
  6. Intensity of Reaction
    This refers to the energy level shown by a child when responding to something, whether positive or negative. Some children's emotions are intense and easy to read, while others express themselves far less clearly or loudly.
  7. Mood
    The amount of pleasant, joyful and friendly behaviour compared with unpleasant crying or unfriendly behaviour is indicative of a child's mood. Some children generally seem happy, while for others everything is a source of complaint.
  8. Distractibility
    This describes how outside stimuli (such as noise and activity) interfere with or change the direction of a child's present activity. Some children can attend to an activity with noise all around, while others need quiet to get anything done.
  9. Persistence/Attention Span
    This refers to the amount of time a child spends on an activity despite interruptions or other hurdles. A persistent child may spend hours getting something just right.

The "goodness-of-fit" between a child's temperament and the expectations of his parent, as well as the temperament of this parent, are crucial. When the fit is poor, that is when expectations and temperaments do not mesh, problems can result, as the child and caregiver struggle to adapt to each other's rhythm.

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


Thomas A. & Chess S. (1977). Temperament and Development. New York: Brinner-Mazel.
Carey W.B. & McDevitt S.C. (1995). Coping with Children's Temperament. New York: Basic Books.

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Dad’s Postnatal Reactions

by Maxine
Posted August 4 2011 12:56pm
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The moment your partner tells you she’s pregnant new emotions flood you and, just like moms, dads go through a range of emotions soon after their babies are born.

This can include feelings of elation and relief that labour and birth are over. New dads can also feel anxious while adjusting to your new role. Researchers are just starting to learn more about a dad's reactions in the weeks and months following his baby's birth.

Just like some moms, dads may go through postnatal depression. The difference is that generally depression for most dads occurs at a later stage in the postnatal period. Some dads show signs of being depressed as early as 6 weeks after their baby's birth. However, depression is more common for men about 9 months after their baby's birth.

"A father’s depression can have an effect on the emotional and behavioural development of the baby," says Karon Foster, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. "It can also have an effect on your relationship with your partner, so it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider if you are showing signs of depression."

Depression comes with bio-chemical changes in the brain. In general, the longer the depression lasts, the more difficult it is to reduce these changes. Therefore, it is very important to get help early, before these changes become really entrenched. This is difficult for most men. You may be used to "toughing it out" and certainly don't want to look as if you can't handle becoming a dad. If you think you might be depressed, by all means, talk to your partner and speak to your physician so treatment can begin early.

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We Have Houseplants and/or a Garden, Are There Plants We Should Be Concerned About?

by Guest
Posted August 5 2010 12:07pm
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Picture this: It’s a warm summer day; there is a light breeze blowing. You are sitting in a garden of green shrubs and delicate flowers. As you sip at a glass of cold iced tea, you inhale the sweet smell of summer. Does this image make you feel happy or relaxed? Plants, including flowers, herbs, shrubs and trees, can have a positive effect on people and on their surroundings. However, these plants can potentially be dangerous for your baby.

Did you know that even some common plants can make children, adults and pets sick, or even cause death? Just touching some of these plants is enough. A good rule of thumb is to avoid any plant that is not familiar to you and to teach your children to do the same. Remember, infants and toddlers don’t know the difference between lettuce and crocus, and will put almost anything into their mouths.

Here’s a handy list of some of those plants. Print this and do a tour of your home and yard:

  • Angel’s Wings
  • Autumn Crocus 
  • Avocado 
  • Azalea 
  • Black Locust Trees 
  • Bleeding Heart 
  • Buttercups 
  • Caladium 
  • Castor Bean 
  • Cherry Trees 
  • Chinese/Japanese Lantern 
  • Chrysanthemum 
  • Clematis 
  • Crocus 
  • Crown-of-Thorns 
  • Cyclamen 
  • Daffodil 
  • Daphne 
  • Dieffenbachia 
  • Dumb Cane 
  • Elderberry 
  • Elderberry Trees 
  • Elephant Ear 
  • English Holly 
  • English Ivy 
  • Foxglove 
  • Golden-Chain 
  • Holly 
  • Horse-Chestnut Tree 
  • Hyacinth o Hydrangea 
  • Iris o Jack-in-the Pulpit 
  • Jasmine o Jerusalem Cherry 
  • Jimsonweed (Thorn Apple) 
  • Larkspur
  • Laurel 
  • Lily of the Valley 
  • May-Apple 
  • Mistletoe 
  • Monkshood 
  • Moonseed 
  • Morning Glory 
  • Narcissus 
  • Nightshade 
  • Oak Trees 
  • Oleander 
  • Philodendron 
  • Poison Hemlock 
  • Poison Ivy 
  • Poison Oak
  • Potato (eyes, stems and spoiled parts) 
  • Primrose 
  • Rhododendron 
  • Rhubarb Leaves 
  • Star of Bethlehem 
  • Sweet Pea 
  • Tobacco 
  • Virginia Creeper 
  • Wild Mushrooms (all should be considered toxic until known otherwise) 
  • Wisteria 
  • Yellow Jasmine


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Passion after Pregnancy

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 03:18pm
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Before your baby you and your partner may have had a fiery and frequent sex life or a subdued sex life that you hoped to rekindle. After baby you may find that your sex life is in stall mode no matter which category you originally fell in. Changes in your sex life after baby are common, but they can be hard to accept.

In the days and weeks following birth, making love is usually the last thing on a new mom’s mind. She may be in physical pain and she’s also probably exhausted and focused on the needs of your baby. These are all pretty good reasons why her sexual desire is low! Dads too often find that it’s difficult to be passionate for the first little while – the journey through pregnancy and birth and into parenthood can be overwhelming! Sex might not be on either partner’s agenda.

From a medical point of view, most doctors recommend that women avoid sexual intercourse for 6 weeks following birth. You may try love-making earlier than this, but only if Mom's healing has gone well and there are no medical reasons for concern.

Issues That Affect Intimacy

Some couples—men more so than women—have expressed their worries that the romance will never return. There are many things that can impact intimacy.


One or both of you may feel you have no energy to even think about sex. Lack of sleep, taking care of your baby, worry about your baby’s and Mom’s health, not getting enough restful sleep—these can all contribute to a sexual disconnection.

Recovering from birth—especially if Mom had an episiotomy or a Caesarean Section—takes time and, for some women, it may take longer than others. If you make love too early and it’s a painful experience for Mom, it may be more difficult for her to get in the mood again later.

It’s common for new moms to have less natural lubrication for up to 10 weeks after the birth, especially if they’re breastfeeding. Mom, you may find this kind of thing hard to share with your partner…and Dad, you may interpret this wrong and think, “I don’t turn her on anymore.” One short-term remedy that many couples try is a personal lubricant from the local pharmacy. 

Physical Attraction

Some men may find Mom’s postpartum body is not as sexually pleasing as it used to be. They may be uncomfortable with her larger breasts, a larger body overall or a stretched stomach. Along the same lines, some women become concerned that they’re not attractive to their partners. This can affect both of your abilities to become romantic.

When Mom is breastfeeding, the baby’s feeding schedule may interfere with those moments when you’re both ready for romance. As well, you may find that full and/or leaking breasts distract you from feeling amorous. One quick fix—try feeding your baby prior to a planned “intimate time.” This may help to decrease any leaking.

Read on to find out What’s Affecting Your Intimacy.

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