• Ciara McDowell

Parenting & Temperament

Parenting is an amazing gift from God but is also one of the most challenging things you will face in life.

Most of you know your children better than anyone else in the world. So why would knowing and understanding their temperament help you in your relationships and parenting? You know the way they think and you also know how they will respond to things. Most of the time! That’s part of what being a parent is, knowing your child. But do you truly understand where their core needs are coming from in the way they respond to various things in life?

Here is an example:

A father has a 15-year-old girl who seems to do nothing but push him to anger and frustration. He sees her rebellious nature becoming more prevalent in their relationship so his natural response becomes a list of rules for her to abide by in order to not lose control of the situation. If her temperament shows that she is a Sanguine, she will not be able to abide by these rules because her focus is on the “now” and is driven by the “whim of the moment”. Digesting the rules would be hard enough but implementing them on a daily basis would be impossible and being required to do so would make her feel rejected by her father. Therefore, her response would be to act out and become more rebellions. She could drive the father crazy because the more he tightens his grip on her, the flightier and more rebellious she would become. The father is only trying to help his daughter but if he does not understand where her needs and his needs are being unmet due to not knowing their individual temperament needs then the dysfunction that is happening will continue to take place and become a full family problem.

This is one small example of a stress that could take place in being a parent, but we all know there are many more.

Raising children is hard and it’s difficult to know what’s best for them. The Bible tells us to train up your child in the way he should go, and then when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) This verse is talking about the way God created them and the way they personally should go, not that we should raise them in the way we think they should go. This is where understanding temperament becomes extremely helpful in allowing you to get down to the grit and grind of how your child responds because of their strengths and weaknesses. It helps you to build them up in the way they have been created to be instead of trying to make them fit in to a mold of who you think they should be.

Temperament helps you see who God created them to be. The word of God gives parents knowledge and direction and used alongside temperament theory, you are given the tools that you can apply to your children’s lives and enable you to understand them better as you raise them into adulthood!

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