Tips for handling problematic temperament traits

Does your child have extreme temperament traits that cause her problems? Try these tips to help her manage them.

By Nancy Firchow, M.L.S.

After gathering information and rating your child's temperament, did you find any traits that fell at either end of the continuum? Although the whole scale represents a normal temperament range — high and low do not mean "dysfunctional" — some extreme traits can be problematic for kids at home, at school, and in the community. And remember that for kids with learning or behavior difficulties, certain traits can either help or hinder success.

Tips for managing the extremes

Here are some tips for helping your child modify the traits that might be problematic for her. If you have other ideas that have worked, please share them on our Parent to Parent message board.

Activity level

For the child with very high energy:

For the child with very low energy:

Sensitivity

For the child who shows high sensitivity:

For the child who shows low sensitivity:

Regularity

For the child who demonstrates high predictability:

For the child who shows low predictability:

Approach/withdrawal

For the child who approaches new situations easily:

For the child who withdraws:

Adaptability

For the child who is slow to adapt:

For the child who adapts too easily:

Mood

For the child who tends to be negative:

For the child who's always positive:

Intensity

For the child who is less responsive:

For the child who is overly responsive:

Persistence

For the child who shows low persistence:

For the child who is overly persistent:

Distractibility

For the child who is highly distractible:

For the child who shows low distractibility:

Appreciate your whole child

No matter what your child's temperament, show respect and understanding; let her know you accept her the way she is. Her temperament traits combine to make her the very unique and special individual she is.

Remember that some traits seen as challenging in kids are valued later. The extremely open and approaching child becomes an adventurous and exploring adult who makes new discoveries. And the child with high energy and persistence could become the next Olympic gold medal winner!