Handbook of Parenting - Vol. 1

By Marc H. Bornstein | Go to book overview

9
Child Temperament and Parenting
Samuel P. Putnam
University of Oregon
Ann V. Sanson
University of Melbourne
Mary K. Rothbart
University of Oregon

INTRODUCTION

Parents often do not become believers in temperament until after the birth of their second child. Before this time, their child's behavior may be seen as a simple result of their upbringing, “a tribute to” or “the fault of” the parents. With the second child, management strategies that worked well with the first child may no longer be effective. Problems experienced with the first child (in feeding, sleeping, coping with strangers) may not exist with the second, but new problems may arise. Such experiences suggest strongly that “nature” as well as “nurture” influence child development, that children differ from each other from early in life, and that these differences have important implications for parent — child interaction. A number of these individual differences fall under the rubric of child temperament, which we define as individual differences in emotional, motor, and attentional reactivity to stimulation, and in patterns of behavioral and attentional self-regulation.

The modern understanding that children make important contributions to their social interactions has two major roots. The first is temperament research initiated by Thomas, Chess, and colleagues in their pioneering New York Longitudinal Study (NYLS; Thomas, Chess, Birch, Hertzig, and Korn, 1963). The second is Bell's (1968) reconceptualization of socialization as a mutually interactive process, with both child and caregiver seeking to redirect, reduce, or augment the behavior of the other. These insights led to the recognition that children differ in such qualities as responsiveness to parental socialization strategies, capacity to control their emotional reactivity, and capacity to bring pleasure or distress to their parents. As Rothbart (1989a, p. 195) put it, “the infant's temperament regulates and is regulated by the actions of others from the earliest hours. ”

In this chapter, we explore some of the important influences of parenting and temperament on child development. We begin by briefly describing ancient views of individual differences and the NYLS research study by Thomas and Chess begun in the 1950s. In the second section, we briefly review major dimensions of temperament, their stability over childhood, and issues regarding the

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Handbook of Parenting - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents of Volume 1: Children and Parenting vii
  • Preface ix
  • Foreword xiii
  • References xv
  • Foreword xvii
  • Contents of Volume 2: Biology and Ecology of Parenting xxi
  • Contents of Volume 3: Being and Becoming a Parent xxiii
  • Contents of Volume 4: Social Conditions and Applied Parenting xxvii
  • Contents of Volume 5: Practical Issues in Parenting xxix
  • About the Authors in Volume 1 xxxiii
  • Handbook of Parenting *
  • Part I - Parenting Children and Older People 1
  • 1 - Parenting Infants 3
  • References *
  • 2 - Parenting Toddlers 45
  • References *
  • 3 - Parenting During Middle Childhood 73
  • References 94
  • 4 - Parenting Adolescents 103
  • References 127
  • 5 - Parent–child Relationships in Adulthood and Later Years 135
  • References *
  • Part II - Parenting Children of Varying Status 163
  • 6 - Parenting Siblings 165
  • References *
  • 7 - Parenting Girls and Boys 189
  • References 216
  • 8 - Parenting Twins and the Genetics of Parenting 227
  • References *
  • 9 - Child Temperament and Parenting 255
  • References *
  • 10 - Parenting and Child Development in Adoptive Families 279
  • References 305
  • 11 - Foster Parenting 313
  • References *
  • 12 - Parenting Children Born Preterm 329
  • References *
  • 13 - Parenting Children with Mental Retardation 355
  • References *
  • 14 - Parents of Aggressive and Withdrawn Children 383
  • References *
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