Temperament is the way a child acts or responds. If we say a child is shy, energetic, or easy-going we are discussing the child’s temperament (Berk 260). When discussing temperament there are a few factors we have to take into account. How do the parents of the child contribute to the child’s reactions? In the early stages of life, children learn to react to different situations according to the way their parents react. In which, a child develops different reactions for different situations. The culture in which the cild is raised also has a direct influence on his or her temperament. There is no culture in the world that is exactly like another. These discrepancies between cultures lead to different temperaments in children. Genetics also play a vital role in a child’s temperament. Gender and other factors can make a child energetic or calm and controlled. Something else we should keep in mind is that temperament may or may not change over time.
Genetic influences can have very drastic influences on a child’s temperament. When they are young, boys tend to be daring and have much energy but also be easily frustrated and irritable. Whereas girls tend to be more timid and controlled (Beck 264). We often hear the argument of boys are better than girls and vice versa, but its all mostly opinionated. Using genetics, we can see that the answer to the argument can be settled by what the preference is for the kind of child a parent wants. Boys will usually be more active and playful and girls will tend to be shy and not as active. Of course there is always the exception, but those will be the general tendencies. However the differences in the two genders won’t become more apparent until their temperament becomes more stable in their childhood years rather than infancy (Berk 265). Once their temperament has become stable in the adolescent years, we can still see these temperament tendencies but other factors are now influencing their temperament as well.
Another influence is the parents influence on the child. In the early stages of life, children learn to control their temperament from their parents. When a child acts negatively and intensely to a new situation supportive and patient parenting can help modify his behavior (Berk 261). The child did not like being put in the situation because it conflicted with whatever agenda he or she had in mind. The mother or father then must convince the child that the situation they have been put in is not detrimental to them in anyway and with patience and gentle guidance can be calmed down.
The child then registers that the stimuli he or she had just met with is not out of the norm and that he or she would not get upset over the situation. This is a form of guided control, but there is another form of control called effortful control. Effortful control allows the child’s dominant temperament to get upset and suppresses it to allow a more adaptive response to what the child is experiencing (Berk 261). When the child grows into adolescence, these reactions are still apearent bust most of the reactions developed as children have been replaced by one that reflects that person’s individualism.
The last influence would be the cultural influence on the child’s temperament. The culture in which the child is raised has an affect on them and that can adjust their temperament accordingly. For example, in the Japanese culture, mothers usually cay that their child is born as an independent who must learn to rely on their parents by staying in close contact with them. North American mothers are just the opposite. They believe that their child is born as a dependent and must slowly be weened to independence from their parents (Berk 265).
These contrasting views are what brings out the dramatic differences in the children from one culture to the next. The differences are bought about because of the different ways the mothers of the two cultures would handle the same situation. Japanese mothers would rather hold their children close and have them learn by observation whereas North American mothers would have their children learn from experience. These cultural differences will likely follow the child into adolescence and even into adulthood to be passed down to the next generation.
Teachers can use this knowledge on temperament to better themselves as a educators. By understanding temperament, teachers can comprehend a students behavior and the good and bad habits they have developed and then adapt to their learning style appropriately. Teachers could learn how to relate to their student’s experiences which, then, develops a mentoring bond which, in turn, leads to a better learning environment for their students. Teachers could also use this knowledge of temperament in their home life by presenting good habits to younger generations and to their own families.
Temperament is something that we are all born with that has been manipulated over time by whatever reason. No temperament is exactly the same because of the differences in parenting styles or the kind of culture we were raised in or even our genetic make-up. These differences that effect our temperament can then in turn have an affect on our personality. Temperament is essentially the way we react to different stimuli. It is fascinating no one person will have the same reaction to a simple stimuli like a storm. It is these subtle, and often times obvious, differences that make up who we are.