Baby Development: Your 10-Month-Old
Temperament and Behavior
Temperament is the "how" of your child's behavior: how she tends to
respond to the world. If you have more than one child, you probably already see
their inborn differences.
You can see by the list of temperamental traits that some are a lot easier
to deal with than others. Most parents would like an easy, mellow, predictable
child. Children with easy temperaments are, of course, simply easier to raise,
at least when they are little.
But imagine a child who is very intense, always on the go, is
sensation-seeking and fearless, hates changes in routines, is completely
unpredictable in moods and physical needs. This is the "difficult" or
"challenging" or "spirited" child (pick your favorite euphemism
- one author simply calls them "mother-killers"). That child, although
perfectly normal, is going to be harder to raise, even for the most patient of
parents. As a colleague of mine once said, a difficult child is born and looks
up at his/her parents and says: "I'm going to make you look bad. However
you try to raise me, I'm going to make it hard for you and butt heads every
step of the way." Lots of luck!
Raising a Difficult Child
The good news is that if you happen to have been given a difficult child,
it's clear that, in the long run, they will do as well as the easy child, as
long as the "goodness of fit" between you and your child is maintained
and bolstered. That means, despite exasperating challenges (especially as a toddler), you:
- Understand that it is no one's fault (not yours, not his).
- Try, as best you can, to appreciate him for who his, not who you want him
- Be sure he does not feels demeaned, diminished, and inferior because of the
- Figure out ways to allow the difficult temperamental traits to slowly
become modified, smoothing the rough edges, while not trying to invent a whole
When there is a good fit, parents recognize their child and their
temperament, respect it, work with it, and help the child to use those traits
in a positive way. When that happens, those kids have shown to do as well as
anyone. But if a parent just can't accept the child they have been given and
constantly tries to revolutionize that child's entire personality, in the
process demeaning and diminishing who that child really is, there is major
grief in store.
In these articles I've tried to help you to understand and to discover your
child. Of all the lenses by which you'll try to figure him out, I'd put
temperament right up there at the top.