Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The active child may have to develop special methods of slowing herself down- sucking on her hand or thumb, for instance- before she is able to focus her attention on an object or person near by.
Active babies tend to have fussy periods before each nap and before bedtime, and they frequently resist their parent’s attempts to soothe them by walking or rocking. They are usually light sleepers, rousing often during the night to whimper and move around in the crib, though most often they do fall back to sleep on their own. As the parents of an active baby you may spend much of your day simply trying to keep up with your infant, who will demand a great deal of attention. You may feel guilty about not being able to comfort her during fussy times, and even become desperate in your attempts to do so.
If so, rest assured that the best you can usually do with an active baby is to maintain your patience, try to keep stimulation at a level she can manage, and learn to enjoy her free wheeling approach to life. It can be tense and exhausting, but also exhilarating, to witness the vitality of your energetic child.
A whirlwind of activity frequently surrounds the active baby. This infant tends to be restless and easily distracted; her attention shifts rapidly from one object or activity to another. Like the quiet baby, the active child can be a lesson in patience for even the most tolerant of parents.
An active baby may or may not adhere to a regular feeding schedule, but when she is hungry you will know it from her loud lusty cries, her crying is as intense as the rest of her. This infant cannot easily soother herself, even for the few minutes she must wait while you prepare to nurse her. An active child usually eats quickly and with gusto, but attention may be easily diverted by other activities taking place in the room where she is feeding.
When an active child is awake, her arms and legs are usually cycling like windmills, during play with parents or siblings, she smiles, gurgles, twists and kicks in response. But she also becomes easily overwrought by too much stimulation, and tears may come on with lightning speed. Her constant physical activity in fact, can prevent this infant from making calm observations of sights and sounds as quieter babies do.
This child does not usually fuss in the evenings, but tends to wake up for a night feeding beyond the point when most infants are sleeping through the night. This may be due to the child’s lack of motor activity during the day; he is not sufficiently tired to sleep all through the night. Eventually, however, by lengthen the time between feedings; you should be able to change this pattern.
Slow responses or a low level of feedback from an infant can be disappointing and discouraging for parents, who may blame themselves for their child seems lack of progress. They assume that their child doesn’t really need them- but actually the opposite is true. Quite children need even more attention from parents to help stimulate their development. The key is to gear the stimulation to the child’s level of coping with it. Ultimately you will find that a quiet baby can be as rewarding to rise as an outgoing child. More patience may be required to draw him out, but it is satisfying to know that each step he takes, each mile stone he achieves is one you have reached together.
Quiet Babies are generally wide eyed, reticent children who approach life cautiously. They need time to warm up to new places, new people and new experiences. In raising a child with this temperament, you will need to be patient and encouraging as your baby adapts to changing situations at his own pace. A quiet baby sleeps much of the time but will usually wake at regular intervals for feeding. He may lie quietly in his crib waiting for you to come to him or he may whimper or cry softly to relay his hunger. The quiet baby relishes feeding, nursing slowly and steadily, and at times, for an excessive period. This tendency to suck too long may cause the infant to spit up.
During the alert period after eating, the quiet baby may be relatively inactive, but he is keenly observing the things around him. He concentrates on watching each figure constituting his mobile, and stares intently at his fingers as he moves them toward his mouth. If interrupted by parents or siblings for gentle play, the infant may smile and respond. But stimulation can quickly become overwhelming for a quiet baby, and when it does he will retreat, turning away to block out the intrusion.
The parents of an average baby will consider themselves luck indeed. This baby typically tunes in with interest and pleasure to the world around her and often welcomes new experiences. Adhering to a fairly regular feeding schedule, the average baby will usually begin to whimper and stir in her crib about half an hour before her accustomed mealtime; gradually she will build up to a strong cry to announce her hunger. This baby most often nurses quietly and steadily. When she has finished sucking and feels full and content, she is usually awake and quite alert, If placed in her crib or propped in a sitting position, the infant will observe her surroundings- staring at a beam of light coming through a window, or watching a fluttering curtain. When approached by parent or siblings for play, the baby usually responds by smiling and cycling her arms and legs.
As well as regular feeding times, This baby may have regular fussing periods, most often before bedtime. But the average baby is fairly adept at finding ways to soother herself if attention is not immediately available. She may suck on her fist turn onto her side, find a colorful toy or stuffed animal to watch or suck on her fingers to reproduce the peasant sensations of feeding. These fussing times can be trying, especially for parents who have only a limited amount of evening time to play with their child. But an average baby is basically even tempered and in return for the care and stimulation you give her, she will reward you with gratifying smiles, gurgles, and playful kicks.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
If you wish to determine your own child’s temperamental style for comparison, simply observe him carefully during your every day activities and note his general mood and reactions. Your baby may fall squarely into one of the three patterns outlined here or may combine traits from all three into a hybrid style all his own.
A parent who is unprepared to deal with a particularly active or quiet baby will at times feel frazzled and wary, or guilty and inadequate. Different children elicit different responses from their parents, and it is quite likely that preconceived notion of child rearing will crumble when put to the test. The thought to keep uppermost in mind is that each child regardless of general personality type is in the end an individual, with a unique mix of weaknesses and strengths. Accepting your child as such, appreciating and encouraging positive qualities as you under stand and help the youngster cope with shortcomings; can be as enriching an experience for you as it is for your child.
It is nearly impossible to define what constitutes “normal behavior” for a baby. Every parent to be has visions of a cuddly, devoted infant who, though fussy at times, is generally wide eyed and smiling. But infact, the spectrum of normal behavior can be quite broad and the reality quite surprising for parents. I have had the opportunity to talk with many parents and observe many babies. During these encounters, I discovered over and over that when they were faced with a child whose temperament was completely different from their own, or from what they had expected it to be, they needed reassurance that their baby’s behavior fell within the acceptable range.
Described here are behavioral profiles of three infants at the age of two months- the time at which many babies settle into a routine. While their personalities differ in many ways, all three are healthy and very normal. The first, I call the average baby: this child is generally alert, comfortable and content. The second, the quiet baby, tends to be watchful and subdued. And the third, the active baby, is a tiny dynamo, usually inconstant motion. When judged by their responses to routine care and handling most babies seem to fall into one of these three basic temperamental types.
The most important aspect of your child’s developing personality; however is its utter individuality. Children have the right to be themselves, regardless of what their parents may have hoped them to be. A parent’s deliberate effort to impose direction on a child’s personality will be futile, in any case, if it runs counter to the combined shaping forces of nature and experience. It is unlikely that any amount of pressuring will transform a quiet, contemplative child into the star athlete of his father’s day dreams, or a restless, energetic youngster into a classical scholar. Be sensitive instead, to your child’s particular way of responding to the world, and you will help him find the confidences he need to develop his own personality and talents to the fullest.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Children often first learn about loyalty and responsibility by interacting with their siblings. Not many children will watch a younger brother or sister being taunted by playmates without rising to the defense. Children also become practiced on competitiveness and domination by battling with older and younger children in the family. Even this tiresome bickering seems to yield desirable side effects in terms of a child’s personality. She learns how to moderate her feelings of jealousy and share an adult’s attention, how to be flexible and to compromise in play all necessary skills for a school bound child.
The sex of the child’s siblings and her birth order in the family also affect personality. Researchers have observed that girls with brothers, particularly older brothers, will often become more ambitious and aggressive than girls with sisters. Boys with older sisters tend to be less aggressive than boys with older sisters tend to be less aggressive than boys with older brothers. And all children who grow up in the family with older brothers tend to be more physically active.
Studies have also shown that the oldest child in the family is likely to excel in areas deemed most important by the parents-getting good grades in school, for example- and may work harder to solve problems. This may be due to the exclusive relationship the child has with her parents until a sibling is born, and to the high expectations the parents typically have for their firstborn child. Later born children whose parents are more experienced and usually more relaxed in child rearing, tend to adopt less demanding standards for them selves. A family’s younger children tend to be less cautious than firstborns, as well.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
In addition to influencing attitudes in such areas as dependency and self reliance, fearfulness and aggressiveness, and in the formation of conscience, you also shape your child’s attitudes toward behavior that is appropriate for his or her particular sex. The question of attributing certain personality traits to a baby’s gender is another issue that has been fiercely debated for years, but researchers have in fact found very few biologically determined behavioral differences between male and female babies. Studies indicate that girls tend to be little more watchful and able to concentrate for longer periods, while boys are slightly more restless and more inclined toward physical activity. But even these subtle differences have to be reinforced if they are to last.Many parents do reinforce gender differences, in many ways that are often quite unintentional. They may cuddle a girl more often that they would a boy, for example. Or they may roughhouse with a boy but play quietly with a girl. Because the socialization process does much to determine the child’s attitude towards sex appropriate behavior, you have a clear opportunity to influence your child’s outlook and personality in his regard. The way you proceed with in the end depend on your own views of masculinity and femininity- how you feel toward the traditional stereotypes of the tomboy and the sissy.
The most profound way that you affect your child’s personality is probably the least intentional or premeditated; it comes as a by product of your normal interaction with the child in every day activities. It is only natural for a youngster to do things as she sees them done by those who are closest to her; in essence, your child is busy everyday integration your attitudes and values into her own personality. And because a child’s personality is a combination of many things- her view of herself, her approach to problems, her attitudes towards others, her values, and the way she reacts to frustration and successes- almost anything that happens in the course of a day can add to the sum.
As your child moves from infancy into toddler hood, you begin to teach her socially acceptable ways to behave so she can take her place in the larger world outside your home. The socialization process has a significant influence on her personality. You encourage her to be sensitive to the feelings of others, for example, or to be unselfish in play. The most direct way that you do this is by rewarding the behavior you like and punishing unacceptable behavior. But children learn much more by simply observing how their parents behave in social situations. A little girl, identifying strongly with her mother and her mother’s emotions will probably be overheard repeating the expressions of loving concern to her playmates and dolls that her mother uses with her - or the same displays of sharp impatience, if that is the case
Because a child does not grow up in a vacuum, his personality and ability to cope with the world ultimately embrace may more qualities than those he is born with. As he grows, his character develops and changes as a result of the people he lives with, the environment that surrounds him and the experiences he accumulates along the way. The largest personal influence will be that of his parents, whose habits and attitudes he will inevitably emulate. If the child has siblings, they also play a role in shaping his personality. And later on- around the age of six – peer influence and schooling may contribute to the pattern. But in early childhood, the predominant influences are in the home.
The “nature versus nurture’ debate – over the issue of how much of a child personality is dictated by nature and how much is absorbed from his environment- has been carried on for centuries and still seems far from settled. It is clear, however, that both factors are involved in most aspects of development. Researchers find it impossible to tell whether certain traits- such as tendency toward aggression- are predominantly inbred or acquired. Other traits seem obviously determined by one influence more than the other. A tendency to be either calm or easily excitable, for example, seems to be chiefly hereditary, while a quality such as generosity appears to be most strongly influenced by the child’s environment. In any event it is a mistake to assume that the temperament an infant exhibits in his first months is conservative adult. However, given a certain pattern of interaction over the years with his parents and siblings, Teachers and playmates, he could also turn out to be an outgoing and inquisitive grownup. In short, there is no way to predict with any certainty how your child’s personality will turn out: Too many variables affect it. The important thing to keep in mind is that you, as parents, are chief among those variables.