Teenage Temperament (PDF Download Available)

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In psychology, temperament refers to those aspects of an ... The Slow-to-Warm-Up Child - (About 15% of ... Adaptability ...


Asian J. Nursing Edu. and Research 3(2): April.-June 2013




Teenage Temperament Prof (Mrs.) R. Naganandini Principal, Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan College of Nursing, 274/C, Thuraiyur Road, Perambalur-621 212, Tamil Nadu. *Corresponding Author Email: [email protected]

INTRODUCTION: In psychology, temperament refers to those aspects of an individual's personality, such as introversion or extroversion, that are often regarded as innate rather than learned. A great many classificatory schemes for temperament have been developed; none, though, has achieved general consensus in academia. More recently, scientists seeking evidence of a biological basis of personality have further examined the relationship between temperament and character (defined in this context as the learnt aspects of personality). However, biological correlations have proven hard to confirm.

The Difficult Child -(About 10% of children) this child showed irregular eating, sleeping, and elimination cycles. They displayed a negative approach response to new situations, for example frequent and loud crying or throwing tantrums when frustrated. They are slow to adapt to change, and need more time to get used to new food or people. Most of the problems reported with these children centers around socialization patterns, expectations of family, school, and peer groups. If pushed to become immediately involved in a situation, these children were more likely to exhibit loud refusal and sometime oppositional and aggressive behavior.

Types of Children The Slow-to-Warm-Up Child - (About 15% of Psychologists found that about 60% of children fall into one children)this child showed negative responses of mild of three groups. intensity when exposed to new situations, but slowly came to accept them with repeated exposure. They have fairly The Easy Child -(About 40% of most groups of children) regular biological routines. this child showed regular eating, sleeping, elimination cycles, a positive approach response to new situations, and What are temper tantrums? could accept frustration with little fuss. They adapted to Temper tantrums is a sudden, unplanned display of anger or change, such as new food or a new school quickly. They behaviors that are attention seeking, which is typically showed a good mood most of the time, and smiled often. unwanted by the caretaker, and occurs when the child Most of the problems reported with these children resulted encounters either physical or emotional challenges. when the child was placed in situations that required Tantrums can include yelling, crying, complaining, responses that were inconsistent with what they had learned throwing things etc. It is estimated that 50- 80% of toddlers at home. (2-3 years of age) experience a tantrum once a week and 20% of them have them daily.

Received on 29.12.2012 Accepted on 25.02.2013

Modified on 20.01.2013 © A&V Publication all right reserved

Asian J. Nur. Edu. and Research 3(2): April.-June 2013; Page 66-68

When do they normally begin? Temper tantrums typically begin between the ages 18 to 36 months as the child continues to develop and gain independence from his or her caretakers. In addition, the environment surrounding the child can also contribute to the development of tantrums. Some of the risk factors are


Asian J. Nursing Edu. and Research 3(2): April.-June 2013

being exposed to violence, depression, substance abuse, and marital stress. It is important to remember that children have different temperaments which also contribute to the way that they express their frustrations.

Uninvolved parents They demand little and respond minimally. In extreme cases, this parenting style might entail neglect and rejection. Ways to recognize tantrums by parents and their characteristics: Frustration or fatigue related tantrums- Children may Traits of Temperament Thomas and Chess (1970) studied nine behaviors in often throw tantrums because they are frustrated with children in order to understand temperament. themselves, because they cannot accomplish certain tasks (like putting things together, or finishing their homework). Amount of movement and body activity Activity level At this time providing encouragement, help, a snack, or Regularity of biological functions Biological Regularity some sleep is all that needs to be done. Adaptability

Approach/Withdrawal Sensitivity Threshold

Intensity of Emotional Response

Distractibility Quality of Mood

Persistence/Attention Span

(e.g., sleep-wake cycle, hunger, bowel elimination) How quickly or slowly the person adapts to a change in routine or overcomes an initial negative response How the person initially reactions to a new person or an unfamiliar situation How sensitive the person is to potentially irritating stimuli (e.g. sound, temperature, crowds, textures, tastes) How strongly the person reacts to positive and negative situations. The energy level of mood expression, whether positive or negative How easily the person is distracted by unexpected stimulus. The amount of pleasant and cheerful behavior (positive mood), as contrasted with fussy, sad and unpleasant behavior (negative mood) How long the person will keep at a difficult activity without giving up

Attention seeking or demanding type tantrums- These tantrums are used by children to get their way (get into under the sink, cabinets, garbage can, drawers, not wanting to go to day care, etc.). They may take the form of whining, crying, rolling on the floor, slamming doors, or in extreme cases breath holding. The best way to handle these tantrums is to completely ignore them. Make sure that your child is safe and move away from him. Never give in to his unreasonable demands. Do not try to argue with your child. Deprive him of all attention, even negative attention. Refusal type tantrums- The refusal type tantrum occurs when your child refuses to do something he needs to do like go to day care or go to bed. These tantrums can be prevented by giving your child about 5 minutes to make the transition. Setting a kitchen timer may help. If he throws a tantrum, let him have a tantrum for 2-3 minutes and then physically take him to the intended location (like the car or to bed).

Parenting style The researchers interviewed the parents to try and ascertain the elements of parenting that fostered these qualities. They described four styles of parenting, as listed below, based on how parents used authority.

Disruptive tantrums- Disruptive tantrums are those in which the child is yelling, screaming, hitting you, throwing objects, or damaging property. These are simply impossible to ignore and should not be ignored. Putting your child in a time-out for 2-5 minutes (one minute for each year of age) is the best technique to deal with this type Authoritarian parents They are highly controlling in their use of authority and rely of tantrum. on punishment. They value obedience as a virtue and do not encourage give-and-take. They do not expect their children Harmful or rage type tantrums- Rage type tantrums are ones in which your child is screaming and totally out of to express disagreement with their decisions. control. He could also be violently throwing himself backwards or creating a possible risk for injury. At this Authoritative parents They are warm and communicate well with their children. time you should hold your child, and acknowledge his At the same time, they retain their authority, stay in control anger without losing control yourself. Hold him until you and expect mature behavior from their children. They feel him relax and then let him go. respect their youngsters' independence and decisions, but generally hold firm in their own positions, being clear and Guidelines for Parents From a number of research studies plus Tavris, the explicit about their point of view. following guidelines are suggested for building child selfcontrol and self-esteem. Permissive parents These parents are warm and accepting, but mainly 1. Learn to deal with your own and others' anger. concerned about not stifling their child's creativity. They 2. Distract or redirect the child. 3. Be prompt and brief with discipline.. make few demands for mature behavior. 4. Try to discover the reason for your child's anger or temper tantrum. 5. Avoid shaming your child about being angry.


Asian J. Nursing Edu. and Research 3(2): April.-June 2013

13. Patterson, G. R. (1986). Performance models for aggressive boys. Teach children about intensity levels of anger. American Psychologist, 41, 432-444. Set clear limits and high expectations for anger management, appropriate for your child's age, abilities, and temperament.. 8. Notice, compliment and reward appropriate behavior Teaching your child to do the right things is better (and easier) than constantly punishing bad behavior. 9. Maintain open communication with your child.. 10. Teach understanding and empathy by calling your child's attention to the effects of his or her actions on others.

6. 7.

Can tantrums be prevented? There might be no foolproof way to prevent tantrums, but there's plenty you can do to encourage good behavior in even the youngest children. • Be consistent. • Plan ahead. • Encourage your child to use words • Let your child make choices. Praise good behavior. • Use distraction to change your child's focus • Avoid situations likely to trigger tantrums. • Expectations. • Warnings • Avoid Known Problems


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