The Five Temperaments: Which One Are You?
New Zealand has produced a world-leading longitudinal study following 1000 people from birth to adulthood over a 40 year period. This study is changing the world as it reforms the way we think about human development – and the things that cause us to become the people we become.
Without question the study is revealing that humans are influenced by both “nature and nurture”. Our genetic composition influences what we CAN become, and our family environment in the first five to ten years will determine how these genes WILL play out into our future – for good and for harm.
One thing they observed is that children can be grouped into five temperaments that tend to stay consistent through the lifetime (but are changeable). They are:
- Well adjusted: can handle novel situations, self-confident, adaptable, social, resourceful, self-controlled
- Reserved: introverted, timid, socially uncomfortable, can overcome to achieve goals
- Inhibited: socially reticent, easily upset, shy, anxious, neurotic, don’t like novelty, highly strung, depressed
- Under-controlled: sensation seekers, aggressive, irritable, highly strung, don’t like change or novelty, socially ill adjusted, negative
- Confident: presence carrying, go-getters, explorers, friendly, impulsive, independent
These traits determine how we get what we need and want and how we treat and consider those around us in the process.
The most influential skill/trait a three year old exhibited in terms of predicting a successful happy future was: SELF CONTROL. Kids can be taught this from a young age and it will make a world of difference to their adult experience.
So parents: teach your children the art of self-control by:
- Teaching them to distract themselves from focusing on what they want until they can actually have it.
- Helping them to understand the long term consequences of their behaviours.
- Highlighting to them how their behaviours impact upon others.