What is temperament?

In the same situation, one child may be shy and another bold. One may be calm while the next reacts intensely. Partly rooted in genetics, temperament is an individual's consistent reaction across similar situations. How does this child usually take in and respond to life events?

Temperament differs from personality although they are related. The sensitive child who withdraws from the chaos of life may develop a love of reading, solitary walks, and quiet countrysides. Children start out with temperament traits which then shape certain aspects of personality.

Temperament also differs from ability. Two children of the same age may be equally active. One may express that energy through a variety of learned skills such as tennis, basketball, and skiing, etc. The other may express the same energy through running.

Personality is the whole person. It includes temperament as well as effects of the environment through family, neighborhood, education, life events and culture. Personality also includes abilities, interests and motivations.


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