Temperament is the “personal characteristics that are biologically based, are evident from birth onwards, are consistent across situations and have some degree of stability” (Schaffer, 2006, p. 70). Within this article we are given a recount of Hayden’s difficult temperament as an infant. Hayden’s difficult temperament was evident in the first two days since her birth. Some examples of the difficult temperament associated with Hayden’s behaviour started from when she was as young as a day old, it was very noticeable that breastfeeding was not only a source of food but also a source of comfort. Anything else but her mother breastfeeding her was not accepted. She was only content if she were constantly held by either parent. If she wasn’t held by either of her parents, she wasn’t content; if she wasn’t content she would cry, with her being a persistent infant, her cries only intensified if she didn’t get comforted. Same thing goes for her fussing, if she was let to fuss, it only led her fuss harder. At 6 month old, she rejected her crib, as soon as she was put to sleep she would awaken and cry until someone came for her, her mother made it a routine to wake up every hour and nurse her to sleep on a rocking chair (Sattler, Kramer, Shabatay, and Bernstein, 2000).
The temperament of an infant has been found to be a great influence on the quality of parenting (Putnam, Sanson, and Rothbart, 2002). How a child is at infancy usually affects the parenting style of the parents and in turn the attachment that the parent has to the child. The infant’s characteristics, social behaviours, cognitive ability and temperament have a great effect on the parent’s parenthood. The experience of parenthood could either be one that enhances the attachment between parents and the child or one that could potentially damage it. Infants who have a difficult temperament and easily distressed are more likely to have a negative effect on parents mainly contributing to a more stressful parenting environment. Parents of the difficult temperamental infant may take the situation differently and instead of creating stress, learn to work as a team effectively to cope with the stress. It all really depends on how the parents react to how their child is, to create a good attachment or a bad one. (Burney and Leerkes, 2010)
In this recount of Hayden’s infancy, the Father largely discusses about how having a difficult child allowed both him and his wife to grow as parents. They re-evaluated their job description as parents, having a difficult temperament child taught them that they could not control the child but rather manage the child and teach her how to control herself. They learnt to accept that they could not change how Hayden behaved but they could widen their expectation as parents and accept her for the way she is. Apart from growing as parents they also grew as people, they learnt to be the adults in their relationship with Hayden. When she lost her self-control, they learnt to keep there’s, they kept the positive mood so that their daughter could calm down and pick up the mood they were setting (Sattler, Kramer, Shabatay, and Bernstein, 2000).
Relationship between temperament and eating behaviours in young children
This study was conducted to examine the effect of temperament on eating behaviours amongst young children. The data collected provided some support that children with more difficult temperament were more prone to food avoidant eating behaviours, significantly amongst children with more emotional temperament.
The research was conducted by surveying an initial of 282 parents. The parents were given a questionnaire to complete. From the 282 parents participating, 41 parents were excluded due to incomplete information and guardians that was not the biological mother of the child. This due to statistics that prove that mothers eat with their child more often and therefore provide more accurate data.