chapter  Four
8 Pages

Temperament and resilience

WithQuentin Spender, Niki Salt, Judith Dawkins, Tony Kendrick, Peter Hill, David Hall, Jackie Carnell

The concept of temperament suggests qualities that endure over time. In fact, styles of behaviour tend to be stable from early childhood into adolescence in both sexes, although behavioural style may be less stable in infancy. Temperamental differences affect the child's environment, including the way in which others respond to that child or adolescent. Parents of a child with a difficult temperament may be enormously helped by professional recognition of this as a constitutional problem rather than the consequence of inadequate parenting. Professional labelling of the child as 'difficult to manage' in his own right by virtue of nature rather than personal motive can be very helpful. The most helpful initial intervention for the general practitioner or health visitor in these circumstances may be to sympathies about how difficult the child is to manage. Several different agencies may provide opportunities for promoting children's resilience. Primary care initiatives may often be a matter of common sense.