Assignment focuses on issues occurring with dual career couples in handling temperament.

Home, - Difficulty of dual-career couples in handling ‘difficult temperament’


Each and every child is born along with an inherent temperament, which is their chosen style of interacting to the people and events. Temperament is basically categorized into basic types: i) easy, ii) slow to warm, iii) difficult. According to reports, around 10 to 20 percent of children have inborn ‘difficult’ temperament. These children have characteristics of impetuous and high activity level, overwhelmed with new experiences and change in routine, highly sensitive to the sensual simulations, inflexible behaviour, slowly adaptable to change, easily distracted, unable to cool themselves, mood swings, and unbalanced biological rhythms. Each of these traits make life difficult for the children as well as the parents. Parents dealing with difficult temperament kid often complain that their child continuously nag, yell, plead, call name, make fake threats and went inside power struggles. They often feel that their kid ‘calls all shots’, rules the house, often argue with the co-parent and frequently overreact on small things (Bergmeier, & Heidi, et al, 2014). However, children with difficult temperament need to learn about coping with their own weaknesses. Or else this would lead them to frustration, confusion, and hopelessness. Moreover, these children are most likely to face negative feedback which in turn concrete a negative sense of discouragement. Parents handling difficult temperament have to provide extra guidance, time and patience for their kid. They have to raise their children to become a well-adjusted person through a positive esteem. It is often seen that in the dual earning household, fathers have less contribution in dealing with their children as compared to the mothers. Parents relationship with their children seems to be good when there is a lovely relationship between the parents, family organise well organised house (Ullsperger, Josie, Nigg, & Molly et al, 2016), 

Children temperament in general

Temperament can be defined as the ease at which a child is able to adjust in his environment, which is basically the emotional and adaptability style. The temperament of a child is the manner in which it behaves and interacts with the world. In majority of the case, temperament is the inborn quality of the children. However, with due course of time these qualities get modified by experiences as well as interactions with people in the society. At the age when the child goes to school his temperament has become apparent and well defined. Understanding a child’s temperament can eventually help the parents in understanding the way they are going to react and relate to other people. Different researchers have defined the young children’s temperament by illustrating various traits. The traits includes the level of activity of the child, reaction to new situation, adaptableness in daily routines, level of persistent and distractible while doing a task, intensity of reaction, and the mood (Zvara, Bharathi et al, 2018).

A child’s temperament is highly dependent on the extent to which he or she interacts with the environment. Elderly persons cannot force the child to change or modify their temperament according to situational requirement. However, the interaction between the environment and child’s temperament can generate deflections along the scale of intensity based on different traits. Understanding temperament is highly essential because it gives the care givers or parents’ better understanding of the differences between various children.

According to the researchers there are basically two types of child viz., easy or difficult. For this purpose they have described nine different traits which solely or in combination determine the way in which the child adjust in their home and the school along with their peers (Tate & Allan et al, 2016). Temperament determines the actions and attitude of peers, teachers and family members towards the child and vice versa.  The nine child temperament characteristics and traits includes-

•        Activity level- the amount of physical energy contributed in the routine and regular behaviour and activities. The kids with low activity level have been observed to be well fitted into the school environment but sometimes regarded as unmotivated.

•        Regularity- the rhythmic occurrence of the child’s routine activities such as hunger, sleeping, waking, and playing. Children with low regularity are adaptable to the change in routine activities, while children with high regularity face problem with changes.

•        Approaches and withdrawal- it is the initial reactional towards any new situation.

•        Sensitivity- it is the sensory threshold to which the child is disturbed to changes within the environment.

•        Adaptability- it is the ease to which the child adjusts with new situations and the time required to accept the change in routine.

•        Intensity- it is the amount of energy of the child which is given in responses.

•        Mood- it is the general behaviour towards any happy or unhappy situation.

•        Persistence- it is the ability of a child to not divert of doing a task despite of many distractions or disturbance (Yilmaz & Enver Demirel, et al, 2015). 

•        Distractibility- it is the tendency of a child to side-track themselves to any external interruption or disturbance.

Difficult temperament

According to Wang et al, children with difficult temperament are described with negative mood, low adaptability, withdrawal, low regularity, and high intensity (Wang & Feihong, et al, 2015). Temperamental difficulty is outcome of various developmental issues such as socialization, personality, and behavioural problems. Research revealed that difficult temperament of children mostly remain stable from their infant stage through adolescence. One of the major factor which has affects difficult temperament is the type of parenting. Parents having dual career are found to be the most to deal with difficult temperament. They produce parenting type which is negative, coercing, angry, and controlling due to their lack of time and patience. Since the children having both working parents are neglected from their childhood and they tends to show difficult temperaments such as angry, fearful, and irritable. These type of parents mostly send their children to day care centres from the very childhood. The children grow with attention deficit and this negative parenting result in the difficult temperament within them. A challenging or difficult child tends to negatively or intensely react to the entire world. People often consider a difficult temperament child as a fussy baby. With due course of time, the young child may have become susceptible to temper tantrums and parents would be face hard time to please them. These children may have characteristics like stubborn, explosive, and intense occasionally with poor adaptability skills in changed situations. Some of them even face problem while adjusting in their schools and parents often get complaints from their teachers for problem related to studies and sports. It is often observed that children dealing with difficult temperament, generally have behavioural problems and cause most strain on parents especially mother (Achtergarde, & Sandra et al, 2015). However, physical stress or emotional stress or chronic illness can even cause behavioural issues within children. Therefore, parents need to differentiate between the problems associated with temperament from the other ones. 

Suggestions for parents of difficult infants

•        Parents should focus on sufficient sleep of their children along with proper balance diet. They should give their children with personalised time, affection and attention and listen to their queries, question and problems.

•        Parents should focus on the strengths of their children and admire them when they reflect positivity, adaptability and flexibility in their behaviour.

•        It is necessary to avoid the name calling and also avoid to label the kids as ‘problem kid’, ‘hyper chid’, or ‘troublesome’. This behaviour of parents make them more rigid and stubborn (Laukkanen & Johanna, et al, 2014).

•        Double career parents should visit their kids at home or day care centre several times a day.  It not only makes them to feel secure but also strengthens the bond between them.

•        Parents should always remain in close contact with schools teachers and other members. The stressful situation in school or with peers can be problematic for the child and affect their future behaviour.

•        It is necessary for the parents and the co-parent to minimise the conflict within the family. The overall family conflict can result in destabilising the child’s mood. On the other hand, it is necessary for them to teach their kids with problem solving skill. The parents always acts as the role model for their children to act in any situate and they imitate them in most of the cases.

•        Parents must prepare a mood log for identifying the mood pattern of their child. They should be aware of their potential anger triggers, and early signs of mood fluctuations.

•        It is the responsibility of the parents to maintain regularities in the regular activities and behaviour despite of their busy schedule. This is most important during the weekends or vacation period, as they most likely to get irritated.   

•        Parents need to involve more in child care activities rather than enhancing their family finance. Studies suggests that mother child relationship is of higher importance than of father child relationship for the child’s overall development (Slagt & Meike, et al, 2016).

•        The father in the family should also try to build a good relationship with their children by engaging in frequent and shared activities within the family. It should be the shared responsibility of both father and mother to be involved in child care when the other spouse is busy in official work

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