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As a newspaper columnist, Nancy Devlin, Ph.D. has written over 700 articles on subjects related to education and parenting. Welcome to her Classroom!

Temperaments: Treat each child uniquely not equally

In the same way we parents have different temperaments our children have different temperaments.  One is not better than another, they are just different.  These personalities, or temperaments are part of us and affect how we behave, how we take in information, how we make decisions, and determine our preferred life styles.

The word “education” means “to draw out; to lead.”  It means taking children as they are and using their inclinations, strengths, and preferences in order to help them become the very best they can be.  It does not mean changing them into something they are not.

The word discipline comes from the same root as disciple.  To discipline then means to teach.

The book of Proverbs says “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.”  This is talking about discipline (to train) and the personality type (the way he should go).

Many of the problems we have as parents are the result of our not being happy with the child we have.  We want him to be perfect like the boy next door or top of the class like the girl down the street or if cannot excel in sports like his cousin, the least he could do is keep his room neat so we would have something to brag about.  There is even a song about this called: “Why Couldn’t They Be Like We Were, Perfect in Every Way?”

The problem seems to be confounded when parents have a child who must have been born in the cabbage patch because he does not take after anyone in the family.  Everyone else is quiet and reserved and he is always going and likes to have a lot of people around.  Everyone else is organized and he cannot keep to any kind of schedule.  Everyone else is very concerned about other’s feelings and he does not even seem to notice when he’s hurt someone.  Everyone else likes to plain activities and he does not plan anything, he just gets up and goes.  How we interact with these different types, which can occur in all families, in great measure affects how they develop as adults.

It may seem difficult to do, but it helps to rejoice in the uniqueness of each person and allow them to be themselves.  Each child deserves to be treated uniquely, not equally.  Children should not be labeled, they should be loved for who they are.

For simplicity I am dividing temperaments into four general groups:  The Sensing Judging, the Sensing Perceptive, the Intuitive Thinking, and the Intuitive Feeling temperaments.

The Sensing Judging temperament wants duty, order, responsibility, usefulness.  They respect law and order and uphold tradition, and they are often attracted to professions in business.

The Sensing Perceptive temperament wants action, freedom, spontaneity, variety.  They look for joy in the experience of the moment, and they are often attracted to the visual or performing arts.

The Intuitive Thinking temperament wants competence, control, perfection, understanding.  They look for logic coherence in their living and in their thinking, and they are often attracted to the sciences.

The Intuitive Feeling temperament wants meaning, authenticity, inspiration, communication.  They long for unity of purpose and spirit among human beings, and they are often attracted to the liberal arts.

I will continue this in next week’s blog.  Perhaps it will help you to understand why a child is misbehaving and how parents should discipline each type.  Parenting styles differ too, because of temperament.

Remember ….love your children.










Posted in Behavior, From Experience, Getting the Most For Your Child, Labeling, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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