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Temperament: First Reaction

by Nancy and Nanci
Posted February 18 2012 10:04pm
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Temperament - First ReactionOne of our temperament traits, our innate reaction to the world, is First Reaction. Some people love novelty and change while others react with caution to new situations. Note that First Reaction is a separate trait from adaptability, which is the reaction to change over the long term.

In your parenting role, you'll probably face many surprises. Predicting how you – and your partner – will react will help you weather these challenges.


Are you adventurous or cautious?

Scenario One
You and your partner had a well-rehearsed birth plan. The midwife or doctor attending the birth tells you the plan can't be followed.

  • Cautious: You need time to absorb this news. After the birth, you're still feeling sad that the plan had to be abandoned.

  • Adventurous: You start asking what the process will be and what decisions you can make now.

Scenario two
The ultrasound suggested you were having a girl. The nursery has been painted pink and the layette is pink and ruffled. The baby in your arms is a boy.

  • Cautious: Your thoughts are swirling and you're trying to figure out how gender affects identity.

  • Adventurous: You're thinking what shade of blue you will paint the nursery. You're thinking you can return the girl clothes and go shopping all over again.

Scenario three
The baby needs medical intervention or other support.

  • Cautious: You need to hear the news, step by step, and reflect on what this means.

  • Adventurous: You are upset but you immediately ask your partner to research the resources your baby will need and to recruit the support you will need.

Both a cautious and an adventurous First Reaction can be positive, depending on the situation. Knowing this aspect of temperament, you can predict how you’ll react to the unexpected and to the changes your family will experience as your baby changes into a toddler, a preschooler, a "big Kid," a young adult. Parenting means adjusting to endless changes, changes that touch your heart.



This article was written by Parents2Parents experts,
Nanci Burns and Nancy Rubenstein
, co-authors of Take Your Temperament!

We all know that every child is unique. The Take Your Temperament! work-book is designed to help you put that reality into action in an engaging and meaningful way. It invites parents and children to explore how they react to the world—and do so without guilt or shame. Find out more at www.takeyourtemperament.ca.

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