“Today you are You, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
As a new parent, I did not really understand what Dr. Seuss meant. I naively expected my children to fit a pre-conceived mold, partly because I was not aware of the concept of temperament, which is what makes your child who he or she is.
I remember taking my four-year-old son to the township soccer tryouts. I was puzzled and very upset when he had no interest in trying out; he preferred to play in the big mound of dirt on the far side of the field away from all the other kids. I tried coaxing him onto the field because I thought all kids liked soccer. But he was much happier focusing intently on the dirt; drawing designs with a stick, quietly enjoying his solitude. I didn’t realize it but that was his temperament showing.
So what did I wish I knew at the time?
- Temperament is inborn – trying to change it will only result in everyone being frustrated.
- Each child in the family may be different – your first-born may be quiet and contemplative while your second may be more interested in being the neighborhood social director.
- If your child marches to a different drummer let him, so long as no one gets hurt.
- Set limits, but keep your child’s temperament in mind when doing so. There are effective management techniques that will work better with different temperaments.
- Know yourself – pay attention to how your own temperament may interact with your child’s.
By Claire Gawinowicz
Certified Parenting Educator