Infant’s Temperament Influences on the Parents Treat

The influence of an infant’s temperament

Based on my experience with children, I think that an infant’s temperament influences the way their parents treat them, while a combination of parental style and a child’s temperamental characteristics shapes their attachment patterns. Responsive caregiving in the early months facilitates the development of secure attachment of a child to their parents and caregivers (Lally & Valentine-French, 2019). Parents generally feel more relaxed with “easy children,” encouraging their positive temperamental traits and healthy attachment patterns. With “difficult children,” it is harder for parents to maintain a consistent parenting style, which can cause attachment problems.

Early temperamental characteristics

Early temperamental characteristics determine the child’s relations with parents both in infancy and adult life. For example, if a child has a low activity level, parents have to constantly encourage them to participate in family activities, and help them adapt to new people and situations. A child who has problems tolerating changes may see their parents as friends who try to comfort them, or, on the contrary, as enemies who constantly deprive them of their comfort. Accepting a kid’s temperamental characteristics and adapting parenting style to meet them can be a challenge for both parents and caregivers.

While helping to take care of my friend’s baby, I noticed certain features of his behavior that significantly influenced his relations with his parents. From his first months, I observed how his mood and reactions changed drastically without any particular reason. At one moment, he could enjoy playing with a toy, listening to certain sounds, or seeing a particular person, but when offered the same stimuli sometime later, he would reject them. This peculiarity of his behavior also influenced his attachment patterns, which could be described as ambivalent insecure attachment. He showed no consistency in his attitude towards his caregivers, with his reactions to me varying from affection to rejection. Sometimes he would not notice when his mother left or even push her away, while at other times he would not let her go, crying and clinging to her. Such unpredictability of the boy’s reactions required both his parents and caregivers to develop a certain parenting style and constantly monitor his mood. This resulted in somewhat overprotective behavior, making the child always feel like he was the center of attention and encouraging his mood swings.

Reference

Lally, M., & Valentine-French, S. (2019). Lifespan development: A psychological perspective (2nd ed.). Web.

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