What are temperament characteristics?

Psychologist Fay Van Der Kay-Levinson, PhD, explains what temperament characteristics are and how understanding your child's temperament can help you to better support your child
What Are Temperament Characteristics?
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What are temperament characteristics?

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Temperament characteristics are essentially innate characteristics. In the 1950's there was a beautiful study started by Charles Chessenberch, and it went clear through the 80's. They were able to identify nine temperament characteristics at birth that remain stable throughout the lifespan. When you understand those characteristics, you are able to support and meet your child's needs in a very effective manner. For example, some children and adults are very active and they need that activity. Some are very passive, on the other end of the continuum. People will land on different parts of that continuum. Some people are very rhythmic, they like to predict. They'll have lunch every day at 12:00, and if they don't have lunch at 12:00, it upsets the rest of their day. Again, if you know that about someone, you can prepare them as much as you can, maybe some days you won't have lunch at 12:00, again, you make life much smoother. One of the temperament characteristics that's being studied intensively these days, is sensitivity, also known as sensory threshold. Some children feel clothing. They will choose their clothes because they feel soft. You can't get them to wear jeans. It's all legitimate. Often, parents who don't know this, think their children are being difficult. They are not. This is very real for them. When you, as a parent, understand that style, you become a more effective parent.

Psychologist Fay Van Der Kay-Levinson, PhD, explains what temperament characteristics are and how understanding your child's temperament can help you to better support your child

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Fay Van Der Kar-Levinson, PhD

Psychologist

For more than 30 years, Dr. Van Der Kar-Levinson has helped parents to navigate the maze known as parenting. She acts as both a guide and a resource for parents as they deal with the joys and challenges of raising children.

Dr. Van Der Kar-Levinson’s passion is to help parents to help their children thrive at each stage of development. She works to identify each child’s unique temperament and learning style in order to create and implement effective behavior strategies. Dr. Van Der Kar-Levinson is an expert at helping families deal with life changes such as birth of siblings, changing schools, divorce, and death.

Dr. Van Der Kar-Levinson also guides parents through the process of determining the best school for their children, and has co-authored two books on that topic, Choosing the Right School for Your Child and Secrets to School Success.   

For the past three decades Dr. Van Der Kar-Levinson has lectured and consulted at private as well as public schools. She has served as an adjunct professor at both the University of California at Los Angeles and Pepperdine University.

Dr. Van Der Kar-Levinson earned her PhD and MA at the University of California at Los Angeles where she studied and trained with some of the nation’s top researchers and clinicians in the fields of child development and clinical psychology. She is a lifetime member of the American Psychological Association.

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