The Science of Parenting

Temperament: It’s in Their Nature | S. 3 Ep. 1

August 06, 2020 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Season 3 Episode 1
The Science of Parenting
Temperament: It’s in Their Nature | S. 3 Ep. 1
Show Notes Transcript

How your child reacts is about their innate temperament (or the core of their personality). Learn how working with his or her temperament traits will boost your ability to respond. 

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Mackenzie Johnson:

Welcome to The Science of Parenting podcast, where we connect you with research based information that fits your family. We'll talk about the realities of being a parent and how research can help guide our parenting decisions. I'm Mackenzie Johnson, parent of two littles with their own quirks, and I'm a parenting educator.

Lori Hayungs:

And I'm L ori Hayungs, parent of three in three different life stages - launched, college, and i n high school. And I'm also a parenting educator. And today drum roll, please. We are opening up season three and we are talking about my very favorite topic - temperament.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I cannot believe we made it to season three without - like you had to wait til season three to talk about it, man. Good job. Proud of you.

Lori Hayungs:

You know, I was biting my tongue, sitting on my hands, all kinds of things. And I think in season one, we almost mentioned temperament and we both said, Oh , not yet. Not yet.

Mackenzie Johnson:

It's here. Now Lori can share all of her expertise and knowledge with us, all this good stuff you have in your brain. You're always telling me about and tidbits you're sharing and I'm excited to learn more and share more with everybody else.

Lori Hayungs:

So temperament, here we come. Here we come. And I do have to say that it's not Lori's knowledge. Okay. So there are some really cool temperament researchers and gurus. And I just happened to be able to work alongside them in some cases, read all their work , stalk them, maybe. I mean, I've loved them all for years. And so now I get the chance to share their information. So this isn't, this isn't Lori's knowledge. It's just Lori sharing the grand knowledge that they have with us and they're so willing to share it with us. I've been interviewing several of them over the last couple of weeks and hopefully we'll be able to even visit with some personally.

Mackenzie Johnson:

You're maybe just the funnel through which the information has come into my life.

Lori Hayungs:

I love that. I am the funnel, the funnel yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Are you ready to funnel into other people's lives? I'm so excited to tell everybody. Let's just get going.

Lori Hayungs:

Let's go. Alright . So you may be wondering what that word temperament even means. So let's start there. By definition, according to Mary Rothbart and colleagues, temperament is defined as the physiological basis for individual differences in things like how we react, what motivates us, our activity, some attention characteristics. And so in other words, temperament is our predisposition to how we react. It's how we have that initial oomph or that loudness or that first response. It's inborn, it's genetic. And it's with us from the very beginning of life. I love what Mary Sheedy Kurcinka says in her book, Raising the Spirited Child. If you go to a newborn nursery in the hospital, children are doing all kinds of different things in their little cradles, right? No one taught them how to move. No one taught them how to cry louder than the person next to them. No one taught them to startle when they hear a loud noise, it was all there. That's temperament.

Mackenzie Johnson:

That's true. And I think I remember one of the first, when I was kind of like riding your coattails on temperament, I remember talking to you talking about temperament as a window to understanding. But that at the very beginning of understanding that, it's genetic. It's what you're born with. It's kind of handed on the platter, this is what we get and we don't throw a fit. And so we k ind o f go with that, but I do think one thing we've commonly seen come up when we talk about temperament, is this, o kay, so it's personality. But it's not quite the same thing. So can you help, can you provide some clarity on the difference between temperament and personality?

Lori Hayungs:

Yeah, absolutely. So we look at temperament because I said, you can go to the newborn nursery and see temperament. You don't really go to the newborn nursery quite and see the personality. So the temperament is that foundation, that bottom level that we start with, and as we grow older, we have some patterns that emerge and some layers that come up on top of temperament. And so we start within temperament. We start with temperament, we start with who we were born to. We start with the environment that we were born in and then we grow and we developed and life experiences happen. And that's what builds our personality. But at the very basic bottom level, we started with a temperament. It's that predisposition, like I said before, we have this way that we're going to react to things. And then we add these other layers on top of that. It's always been there. And the thing is, we're all different individuals. We are all born differently and temperaments the same kind of thing. So it's everything individually about ourselves. It remains individual to us and ultimately we are responsible for our own behavior, right? So like you said, we get what we get. We don't throw a fit. However, our parents and our caregivers, they respond to us. And so they can shape their response to us in which ways as we grow and learn and develop, we can begin to feel our temperament, but shift our reaction . We still feel that temperament at the very bottom level, but as we grow and learn and our parents and our caregivers shape us, we then may react differently. Even though inside our guts are telling us, Oh, man, that really makes me so frustrated. Yeah . We learn along the way and it shapes us. So do our caregivers appreciate our temperament? Do they try to understand us? Do they want us to behave differently? And if so, how do we learn to behave differently?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay. So as you were explaining that, you know, thinking about that difference between temperament and personality, I think of kind of in that infant stage. So when a baby is born, you're talking about the foundation, the temperament's there , and we know this, my baby seems to cry a lot. Right. Or they cry very loudly or they wake easily or things like that. But then there is a certain point where we say to people around us, they're really starting to get a personality. Right? So there is a certain point. So we do, at some level, know that it's just kind of defining it a little more as that foundation. So as you're explaining it, that's clicking for me so much. And then those last few questions you asked, as we think about our own temperament. And as we think about the way we parent our kids with their inborn, genetic temperament, not something they chose, just what they have. Yeah. Are we going to appreciate it so that our child feels valued and supported? Are we trying to squash it? Which sometimes feels like the natural response, Oh, come on, suck it up. Or, you know, those kinds of things, we want to change it, but their temperaments are not going to change. And so something, our writer Barb said, when we were talking to this episode, she talks about viewing temperament as a gift , with a big part of that being, when you see something as a gift, we tend to value it. And I was like, yes, yes, Barb. That makes so much sense to me. Sometimes my child's temperament is challenging to me, you know. There's certain times and in certain life stages where a certain trait maybe feels a little more valuable or a little more challenging , but if I try to see that temperament trait as a gift throughout, I'm more likely to be able to respond positively and find joy. You know , even when it is the heat of a challenging moment, see some of that joy a little bit more. So valuing those traits because they're born with it. And so our job is to figure out how to help them navigate with them.

Lori Hayungs:

And she explained this idea of leaving room for them or giving them a space to experience their temperament . And I just could envision, you know, a child with a difficult temperament, all of a sudden being given room or space to be spirited or to be challenging. And just having someone appreciate, wow, they have some strong emotions and some strong feelings. I want to give them room. And I might take this time to appreciate that because later in life or at a different stage of development, that piece of their temperament is really going to be an asset for them. And so I love that she gave me this picture of a space and room for their temperament to grow and they're born with it. So we need to find a way to value it.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And so I think as we like to start out with this definition and that's kind of where we started right here, as we think of that definition of those inborn traits and those patterns of how we react, understanding that definition with the thought of giving it space like this is who my child is. I'm not going to change those parts of them. They're the patterns they're going to have. I'm going to give them space for those patterns and skills, which I think I may be skipping ahead. That might be number two. Am I skipping ahead ? Go with number two .

Lori Hayungs:

It's all right. So another tip we have , and I love, like I said, I've been able to talk to several of these people and will be referring to their resources and their books and their research, but in his book, Understanding Your Child's Temperament , Bill Carey talks about how important it is for parents to understand their child's behavior by considering their natural genetic temperament makeup, which PS by the way, was given to them by their parents. All right . We are learning to respond in a way that supports the child instead of from that perspective, how can I fix my child? Right. We know that challenging behaviors are frustrating and how children respond. I mean, gosh, it feels like sometimes they are pushing our buttons. And so step one is essentially, we need to remember that it's possible that we, the parents, genetically gave them that response. That's on me. Right? And so the second step then is to begin to understand how can we be supportive of that natural tendency and how can we teach them techniques on how to essentially deal with what we gave them. Now, one thing I want to quick share is that I was talking with one of the gurus last week and, and what they shared was that sometimes our response comes from a place of you're so much like me, and I don't want you to hurt like I did. So I want to change that in you. You know, and I can think about times where, you know, there's a particular piece of temperament that my child has. And I just know that I didn't value that in myself. And I can think about times where I may have really tried to change that because all I could think about was how she was just like me and that hurt me sometimes so bad to have that particular temperament trait. And so, you know, yeah. How can we be supportive of their natural tendencies and then teach them to deal with what we gave them.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I think you, whether it was an unintentional or just the wisdom flowing out of you, like you talked about the way I felt and that I felt hurt. and those things because of other people's reactions. And so while our instinct might be if they have a similar temperament to us , you know, or even our co -parent, right? The 50, 50 there or their biological parent, right? That may or may not be you. But understanding, yeah, it's genetic, but the way that people react, the way we react as parents , and the way we can help build those skills. Right. We're not saying , so for example, you might say one temperament trait is sensitivity. So how sensitive a child is, you know, from their senses, right. To touch. Hearing sight, smell, taste, feel. There we go. but how sensitive they are to that. And so if we tell our child like, Oh, just calm down, it's fine. It's not that big of a deal, right. The line on the socks or the tag in the shirt or the sound level in the room. Our reaction might be to squash it, right. Don't be like, don't worry about that. But to change that reaction and be like, wow, you're right. It's really loud in here for you. And helping them figure out what they can do when they feel that way. So that our role becomes understanding that temperament, like you said, step one is understanding it and that maybe it came from us and step two, what skills and techniques can I help you develop to navigate with it, right. I'm not going to change your temperament. You're born with it. So what skills can we help develop so that you can navigate successfully with it? Cause a lot of temperament traits, like you said, we don't want that trait to go away. Right? I want you to be persistent when you're done . I want you to be able to do hard things. It's hard when you're three and you're persistent about what you want because it's not maybe what I want, but I want you to have that trait as an adult. So I need you to help get skills to keep moving through there.

Lori Hayungs:

So it's both nature and nurture. You're talking about nurture. So when people say, well , is it either or? No, it's actually both. It's exactly what you're talking about. Nurturing their temperament is shaping, using that environment to shape them. Absolutely.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And then that's the whole podcast, age old question, nature and nurture.

Lori Hayungs:

Isn't it? It's both.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay. We're not actually done. There's more research to share here.

Lori Hayungs:

There actually is. So, you know, sometimes we think children are, they're actually not intentionally trying to make us mad. Right. It is their temperament. And we talked about right, there is no cookie cutter temperaments. There is no cookie cutter personalities. There's no cookie cutter kids, period. So it then becomes this idea that we have to choose as parents. And so for years, as I was teaching temperament to parents, to educators, to childcare providers, at the end of this session, I would say, so guess what? Now, you know temperament. And because you know temperament, it's your responsibility. I would make sure I gave them the evaluations before I said that. First, evaluate. Now I have to tell you, you know temperament, you're the adult. So what are you going to do with what you know now. We have to choose how we respond to what we gave them.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And the way that we see, like you said, seeing it as pushing our buttons, ah , you're just turning to, why are you? Oh, your temperament. Right? So you're responding to the world, right? Those patterns of how you respond. They might look different than mine. And so maybe I'm not so understanding of it

Lori Hayungs:

Talked a little bit about this and brain development, that idea. Well , they're looking at me, they know, they know they're pushing me. We'll come back to that. We'll come back to that. Right. Here's another research tidbit for you. So this idea of learning to respond to the child's natural temperament is really honestly what the very first that I would call very first researchers that we're really basing this whole season off of are Stella Chess and Alexander Thomas. And they were pediatricians and psychologists, and they talked about goodness of fit. And so they studied and studied their patients and their clients. And basically what they began to understand is that we all come with all of these different temperament traits. And so as they watch children and parents interact together, they began to understand that sometimes parents weren't really understanding where the children's behavior was coming from. And so our natural tendency is to, you know, blame the child or even possibly blame ourselves. And so as we look at temperament and we look at that fit to that natural coming togetherness of adults and children and and learning about temperament, it actually brings out the best in both of us. And so, like you said, a window. I've shared before in classes that I see temperament as a window. And as you learn about temperament, each step you learn, each temperament trait you learn about, all of a sudden, it's like a little extra piece of Windex, right, or glass cleaner. And all of a sudden you have this little hole of cleanliness in that dirty window and you can see and you think, Oh, I can see so much more. And so then you learn a little bit more about temperament and all of a sudden the interactions with your child are different. And so you clean off the window a little bit more each time you learn another layer of temperament. And so it honestly, understanding temperament can help us prevent behavior problems in children.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I think that point about understanding, right? That understanding our child's temperament, which is what we hope we can help parents do through this season. And that I am excited to dive into a little more in my own parenting with temperament. but that understanding, and then you said a word earlier , like we can prevent, but we can anticipate challenges when we understand their temperament. And I think this might've been the episode where we talked about temperament, we talked about anticipating meltdowns and we're , okay, we can't give you the whole picture of temperament in this one episode. So we're going to hold off, but it can help us anticipate what those might be too.

Lori Hayungs:

Yes. Season one, anticipating meltdowns, that was in there. Definitely. And it's that anticipation, that anticipatory preventive piece of temperament that makes it so important. So very, very important for us to begin to understand because how much of our day is spent, you know, racing around, putting out fires , you know, trying to fix things that have gone wrong. Well, if we can learn about temperament, we might actually be able to prevent more of that and enjoy our day even more. And we've talked about the joys of parenting and being joyful. And , one other thing I want to share that Barb said is that when we can understand and appreciate our child's temperament, boy, it makes them feel like they belong.

Mackenzie Johnson:

We all want that for our kids.

Lori Hayungs:

Exactly, exactly. We all want that for our kids.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I think of, okay, there was one research tidbit that you talked about , when you were researching this episode that we didn't make in. We didn't get it in our outline, but it was so good. Do you have it?

Lori Hayungs:

I do. I do. I do. A nd this actually comes from this study of the folks that created the temperament survey that I sent you to do on your children. A nd we'll talk about that in a bit, but they did a longitudinal study and essentially what they did, big HMO, they were looking at the temperament profiles of parents and adults and what they found And I'm g onna rephrase this after I say t he sentence from the study. So the study is from Jim Cameron, David Rice, Greg Sparkman and it's from The Preventive Ounce with Helen Neville as well and Kaiser Permanente. By sensitizing parents to their child's temperament and helping parents understand and manage temperament related behaviors, anticipatory guidance, o r what we're doing here, anticipatory guidance can encourage a positive parent child relationship.

Mackenzie Johnson:

That makes me want to cheer.

Lori Hayungs:

Teaching about temperament ahead of time can encourage a positive parent child relationship. How super cool is that?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Well , when I think about understanding, you know , even just the basic level that I have, I haven't gotten the chance to dive all the way into my kids' temperament profiles and things, but just the little bits that I do understand of , okay, I tend to see that my daughter might be slow to warm up to something. And so sometimes people might interpret that as like, Oh, she's just playing a game. Or, you know, people might interpret that trait a different way, but me knowing that it's like, okay, we're walking into a new situation. I've understood. I've seen this pattern in my daughter where she's slow to warm up to somewhere new. I can anticipate that this might be hard for her. And so therefore reducing the challenging behavior, maybe when we get there or, you know, or at least I'm prepared for it instead of caught off guard. So like temperaments, just us understanding it is kind of recognizing those patterns and there's tools out there , that can kind of help us do that. Right?

Lori Hayungs:

There are definitely tools out there. We've been having the opportunity to research back through these tools and review these tools. And so a couple of tools I sent Mackenzie to work through were the Kaiser Permanente Preventive Ounce. The Preventive Ounce was one as well as @temperament.org , Behavioral Development Initiative. So there's a couple of different places parents can look. And when you think about, you just made me have this picture in my head, we grabbed the diaper bag and we filled the diaper bag with diapers and wipes and an extra pair of clothing and, you know, all kinds of things in anticipation of we're not caught off guard. Correct. So we do understand this idea of anticipatory guidance as parents. And that's all we're doing here with behavior. So we're trying to fill that bag with anticipatory guidance when it comes to temperament and behavior. I'm totally excited.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So, okay. So, alright , we understand what temperament is. It's that pattern of behavior. We understand that our job, like it's not going to change. So our job is to kind of help our kids develop tools and strategies and how we respond so they can navigate the world with their temperament and we need to consider our own goodness of fit. Right? So maybe our traits are alike in a way that's troublesome or maybe they're different and so it's hard to understand each other. So we understand these things about temperament. So where do I start? Okay, I believe you, temperaments important. Okay. It's cool. So what do I do now?

Lori Hayungs:

So, like I said, almost all professionals and educators who follow chess and Thomas, they had the same kind of thoughts and ideas about this idea that we all get a certain amount of specific temperament traits. All right . So we all get all the traits. It then becomes this idea of sifting and sorting out. Well, how much of these traits did we get? And as we look at children and we look at these traits, we kind of have to decide where do they fall on this continuum? So I like to think of, you know, the left side is the side with less L for left and less. And then the right hand side is more or higher. So I'm going to give you just a little quick and dirty scenario of the traits. Okay. So there's nine temperament traits, according to Chess and Thomas. And I want you to think about either of your children while I name all nine traits. And what I want you to do is I want you to think about how much of this particular trait did that child get. Did they get a little, or did they get a lot? Okay. Alright . Activity level, action, activity, level, a little, or a lot. Adaptability to change. How adaptable are they, a little or a lot? Are they approaching to something new or novel or do they withdraw, approaching or withdrawing? How persistent are they? How persistent are they when it comes to tasks? How about their distractability? Are they getting very distracted or not too distracted? All right. Intensity level. We've kind of talked a little bit about that. Did they get a little bit of intensity or a lot of intensity? All right .

Mackenzie Johnson:

If people have been following along, they might know where I think I fall .

Lori Hayungs:

How about sensitivity? And you mentioned the senses. So did they get, are they sensitive to the senses or not very much? And then one of my favorite is, well, they're all my favorite. Okay. So regularity or rhythmicity and in all honesty, this is how I describe this one. Regularity. How much did they get? When it comes to eat, sleep and poop? Are they regular? Same time every day or not regular. And then the last one is mood. And in mood, we talk about positive and negative. Now I want you to think about this instead, silly or serious. All right . So what stuck out at you or what jumped out at you in those nine traits?

Mackenzie Johnson:

So I feel like I tend to talk more about my daughter and her temperament more, mostly because I've had a little more time to observe hers. So I'm going to go the other route and actually go with my littlest. And so thinking about a lot or a little, the ones that jumped out at me as , Oh yeah. I would say my son is highly regular , that he is pretty natural . I can expect when he's going to get tired or literally on later maternity leave and, you know, first getting back to work with him, he'd cry and I'd look at the clock, Oh, he's hungry. He knew, you know, he knew the time almost. So I would say he's highly regular. A trait he maybe didn't get as much of, I would guess, and again, I haven't done a lot of this stuff, gotten their profiles done or anything. I would guess he's lower on sensitivity. Doesn't seem to, you know, sleeps through loud noises. Doesn't really seem to struggle when things are loud or that's my guess. Those are my best guesses. Do you have anything that comes to mind with yours?

Lori Hayungs:

So with my three girls, I would say that I have one that has less activity level, not very active. It just means that, you know what, she just does things at a slower pace in terms of action and activity. I have one that is very highly active. And then I think that , probably another trait, if I did all three girls, would be distractability. So , very distractable, you know, send her off to do one thing and she comes back with six different things that she's thought of in the meantime. Right. Okay. So now those are kiddos. So I'm going to twist your brain a little bit and I'm going to go through them again fairly quickly this time and want you to think about you. Your temperament traits. Okay. Activity level, adaptability, approach/withdrawal - approaching or withdrawing, persistence, intensity, distractability, mood - positive or negative, sensitivity, and regularity. Okay. All right . So what jumped out at you there?

Mackenzie Johnson:

I , as you've maybe heard if you've listened to our podcast before, I tend to be intense. I feel things pretty strongly. and so I would say I got a lot of intensity , which I think my daughter also has high intensity. Oh, I wonder where she gets that. But then I would say actually, you know, I said my son is pretty regular. I think I would have low regularity. Oh, I'm going to stay up late. All right. I mean, I might be a little tired the next morning, but then I'm okay. Or, Oh, I'm really busy right at noon. So I'm not going to eat right then. I'm going to wait until 2:30 and that's okay. so, yeah, I think that I maybe am a little bit low in regularity. I didn't maybe get so much of that.

Lori Hayungs:

So I shared that I have one daughter who is particularly less active, right? So on the opposite of that is high activity level. And I have another daughter who's highly active. And I would also say that me, myself, I am highly active. I'm always moving. Right. So in that case, the one daughter and I, we do things very quickly. And the other daughter, we sometimes get frustrated with her because she's not moving as quickly as us. So those are the kinds of things that we're going to look at over this whole season. So we're actually going to spend an entire episode in each of those nine traits.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I'm so excited and it's almost, it's honestly hard as we walk through this and introduced temperament. I'm like, I want to tell you.

Lori Hayungs:

Right , right.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Certainly our understanding of what it is and then understanding each trait. I think hopefully that you can get a taste for it .

Lori Hayungs:

Yes. We really want you to get the opportunity to think really deeply and long about these particular traits. Because our bottom line goal here is that there is no temperament shaming. There is no temperament labeling. There is no temperament judging. We are who we are. And we have this opportunity to learn more about ourselves, to learn more about our children, and how both our behaviors and our reactions shape their behaviors and their reactions. I remember, I literally remember that my oldest daughter was one year old when I first started to learn about temperament. And I said to the trainer, I feel awful because there are some things that I know I did wrong and she stopped me and she said, Lori , you didn't do things wrong. Your daughter is one. Even if your daughter were 21, the fact that you're learning about temperament allows you to begin again, to wipe away the dirty edge of that window and all of a sudden see clearly, and we've talked about this before that it's okay for us to say, gosh, I'm sorry, can we start again? You know , what did you tell your daughter?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Can we start over?

Lori Hayungs:

Can we start over? Yeah . Yeah . I love that. And that's what this is. This is the opportunity to start where we're at, to start learning about what makes them tick, what makes us tick, and how to work together with it.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I think we were so excited to keep going we kind of rolled right through. We usually start to wrap our , you know, podcast with what we call your reality or our strategy. And we ran right through it. It's looking at your temperament and looking at your kids' temperament and learning to understand that a little better. Like what are those patterns related to those nine traits we all get? Can we assign homework? Is that a thing you could do on a podcast? Guys, listeners, this is your assignment! No, but we would encourage you, like Lori said, there's tools out there that can help you better understand your temperament and your kids's temperaments to kind of clean off that window a little bit to understanding their behavior and those patterns a little bit more. So yeah, as we dive into these traits, each of these traits a little more over the next few months that you'll maybe come in with a little context of where your kids are at and where you're at.

Lori Hayungs:

I'm excited for you to get your profiles back.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I know. I can't wait. It's hard to wait.

Lori Hayungs:

I will admit that I'm actually not scared at all about, you know, having our Stop. Breathe. Talk. moment with our producer and maybe that's what scares me is that I'm not scared at all, but this is the time of our podcast where we invite our producer in to ask us an off the cuff question. So when we do that, we don't know exactly what she's going to ask us. And it just gives us a moment in our space to Stop. Breathe. Talk.

Mackenzie DeJong:

Yes. So it is once again, time for it. Stop. Breathe. Talk., which you know, as we've talked about temperament, we haven't talked about Stop. Breathe. Talk. much. But I think that as we go through different traits, that'll also come into play as we start to talk about how to help our children learn how to deal with different things as well. So just throwing that little Stop. Breathe. Talk. bit in there hadn't been mentioned. So I had to mention it As you were talking, sorry, I'm going to make this about me for a second. I was processing, okay, you guys are sharing what you think your temperament traits are. I don't have any kids myself. I have a niece and nephews that I kind of start to think about this, but I was thinking that so our Science of Parenting listeners know , we've learned as a group that Mackenzie and Lori are very adaptable. That's just a fact, right? Mackenzie J. and Lori are very adaptable. If something comes up, they're like, yeah, let's do it. Go for it, change it. And usually I'm the one going guys, guys, guys, guys. I mean, maybe it's partially because I'm a producer and I'm like, let's think about this and this and this. And this is what I'm, no, give me a minute. I need to think about it. So I'm very interested in hearing more about that as well for my own, you know, knowledge, but I'm sure that'll come into play with parents as well as they go. So in case anyone was wondering, I'm a little slow to adapt sometimes, but it's not about me. The question for you guys.

Lori Hayungs:

We still love you very much.

Mackenzie DeJong:

Oh gosh. Thank goodness. So my question today is really kind of an overarching. You've talked about it a little bit, your takeaways on temperament, this sort of thing. I wanted to give you guys the opportunity to take a second through all of your time learning about temperament or, you know, Mackenzie , you're a little newer to temperament. Lori's been doing temperament for quite a long time, as you're reading and talking to the researchers, what is one aha moment or one takeaway that you want the listeners to keep in mind as they go throughout this season and learn and listen about temperament?

Lori Hayungs:

It's such a good question that I'm like, Oh God , I want to be really eloquent. I really want to be eloquent. Right. Honestly, I think that each person that we've talked to, and I think we've talked to half a dozen, if not more right now, and we've been asking them that question. You know, when we talk about temperament, what do you really want our listeners to hear? Right ? And they pretty much across the board have said same thing. And that is as parents, we do the best we can with the information that we have at the time. And when it comes to temperament, the opportunity to suddenly begin to understand your child boosts your self confidence and not only your self esteem, your child's self esteem. A couple of the folks we've talked to have said, you know, there have been parents who literally have come back crying and said, thank you, thank you, for helping me understand how I can work on this relationship with my kid. And it could be a little kid, it could be a big kid. It could have been their partner. Their partner may have a different temperament than they do, and they don't see eye to eye on how toguide their child. And so that idea that as parents, we have this opportunity to take in information about temperament and put it into practice immediately.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So good. Okay. So Kenzie just threw us a softball and you knocked it out of the park. What can I say? No, the thing that does come to mind for me is , you know, in one of the classes we've taught about temperament, there's this phrase, what is wonderful. And so thinking about each trait and yeah, that the stage my child's in right now, this might feel particularly challenging but what's wonderful about it. And so yeah, the idea of Barb talking about thinking of it as a gift and sometimes people, we might tend to label certain temperaments as difficult or hard , but it really does come down to our own and how they fit together. And so always keeping that in mind and not that we'll never feel frustrated or those things, but keeping in mind that there are really wonderful things about your child, even if it's different from you, even if it was challenging for you with a similar trait. What's wonderful?

Lori Hayungs:

Hmm . I love that. Yeah. Oh , I love that. We need a bumper sticker. What's wonderful? I love that. So that's what we are going to be doing for the next four months. We are going to really take a look, uncover and dive deep into those nine traits. And then it was decided we are going to do some special topics. We're going to talk about sleep for a whole episode. We are going to talk about the shy, inhibited child for a whole episode. We're going to talk about that spirited and feisty child for a whole episode. So you are gonna want to stick with us and we have a lot to cover, but I do have just one more thing to say to you. And that is that now that you know temperament, it is your responsibility. It is your responsibility.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So as always. Thank you for joining us today on our Science of Parenting podcast. Of course, remember to subscribe to our weekly audio podcast or watch us on video each week or every once in a while, you can catch us live on Facebook, where we take your comments and questions. So come along as we tackle the ups and downs, the ins and the outs and the research and reality of The Science of Parenting,

Anthony Santiago:

The Science of Parenting is a research based education program hosted by Lori Hayungs and Mackenzie Johnson, produced by Mackenzie DeJong, with research and writing by Barbara Dunn Swanson. Send in questions and comments to parenting@iastate.edu, and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. This program is brought to you by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity.