Child Temperament Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1057 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Children

Child Temperament

Temperament can be defined as behavioral inclination rather than behavior itself. Temperament, according to the temperament theorists is a natural and steady basis of later development of personality (Cicchetti; Toth, 1995). Although the theorists have the same opinion that formation of temperament is in the initial stage of life, yet they have different vision about what can be considered as temperamental components. According to Goldsmith temperament is the manifestation of primary emotions. He persisted that emotions give a tendency to the behaviors and psychological processes (Cicchetti; Toth, 1995).

On the other hand, Goldsmith, Buss and Plomin define limited temperament as negative emotionality like distress. In addition, they included negative emotionality as sociability and activity for instance cadence, vigor or behavioral arousal. Whereas, Thomas and Chess defined temperament as behavioral styles that are in response to environmental stimulus. Here according to them temperament includes not aptitude, emotionality or inspiration, but rather rhythmicity (Goldsmith; Alansky, 1987).

Thus, in the year 1970s, Thomas and Chess, described nine traits or characteristics of behavior in children, where every characteristic is on a spectrum from minor to intense. These traits have been used to describe the child's temperament (Fox; Kimmerly; Schafer, 1991).

Characteristics of Temperament

Activity level


Approach - withdrawal


Persistence - attention span

Intensity of reaction

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Threshold of responsiveness

Quality of mood.

Activity level:

Term Paper on Child Temperament Assignment

This trait is described as the total amount of physical movement during sleep and awake time. For instance, few babies are very happy to lie motionless on a blanket and occupy themselves with a toy for a longer period of time, while, others, roll themselves all over or continuously kick their arms and legs even though they are unable to roll themselves over. A common expression which is used to describe such highly active babies is "He's a bundle of energy!" (Seifer; Schiller; Sameroff; Resnick; Riordan, 1996).


Rhythmicity describes the regularity of functions like sleep or hunger. In this trait few babies promptly set up a habit of eating after every three hours or falling asleep at the same time daily, while other infants may be much less unsurprising in their every day habits (Seifer; Schiller; Sameroff; Resnick; Riordan, 1996).

Approach - withdrawal:

The approach - withdrawal characteristics refers to the preliminary response to a new situation or incentive. Few children are more flexible in moving easily into new settings, taking very less time to join up new playmates group. On the other hand, some may take time by firstly observing the scene for a longer period before joining or accepting a new situation (Seifer; Schiller; Sameroff; Resnick; Riordan, 1996).

This approach can also be related to other settings or situations like trying a new food or altering a daily routine, such as, some children are very keen in seeking new activities and experiences while others may withdraw themselves from any such new experiences.


Adaptability refers to the easiness or complexity with which reactions can be adapted. This trait is much similar to approach-withdrawal, as it deals more with how long it takes for a new child to get himself adjusted to a new situation or experience. A child, for instance, may… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Child Temperament" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Child Temperament.  (2004, October 14).  Retrieved January 16, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Child Temperament."  14 October 2004.  Web.  16 January 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Child Temperament."  October 14, 2004.  Accessed January 16, 2021.