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April 16, 2005
How Temperament Affects Emotional Learning
Tip—If your child is having extra difficulty learning to cope with her feelings, it’s worth exploring her temperament for answers.
Parent educator Elizabeth Crary asserts that children need to understand their own feelings, respect the feelings of others, be able to solve the problems that precede or give rise to their strong emotions and seek alternatives where everyone’s needs are met. These are big, important skills and much of childhood is devoted to learning and then practicing them. Some children pick up such skills readily. Others have more trouble identifying their own feelings, noticing others’ feelings, or solving problems. What makes the difference? Crary notes that a child’s temperament, age, experiences, and parental modeling all contribute to the ease and speed with which a child learns to deal with feelings.
Tools—Temperament is an area that directly affects the expression of emotions. If your child is having trouble coping with feelings, it is a logical place to look for answers. Crary offers the following thoughts, drawn from her book Dealing with Disappointment: Helping Kids Cope When Things Don’t Go Their Way, on how specific, in-born temperament traits can affect a child’s learning about feelings.
You’ll find more practical tips you can use right now in Dealing with Disappointment: Helping Kids Cope When Things Don’t Go Their Way by Elizabeth Crary, M.S.
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