Understanding your toddler's unique temperament

During the second year, a child's distinct temperament becomes more apparent. Every child has a unique way of feeling, thinking, and interacting with others. Some children are shy, while others are outgoing; some are active, while others are calm; some are fretful, while others are easygoing. Each family is composed of individuals who have their own distinct temperaments.

Be careful not to dismiss your child's feelings because they don't match your expectations. For example, if you are outgoing and active, it may be difficult for you to understand your child's shy behavior. Pushing your toddler into uncomfortable situations can erode rather than build his or her self-confidence.

Accept and celebrate your child's uniqueness. Remember that your child is an individual. Although you can influence behavior to some degree, temperament is mostly inherited and typically a parent has little control over it. Allow your child to have his or her own personal preferences and feelings, which may be different from your own.

Last Updated: May 11, 2009

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