Temperament Tools: Working with Your Child’s Inborn Traits by Helen Neville and Diane Clark Johnson

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Stars: ***1/2

Summary: Research shows that many challenging behaviours are connected to a child’s inborn temperament. When you understand what makes your child tick, you can adapt your parenting style to the individual needs of your son or daughter. Temperament Tools describes many types of children and offers you strategies to help life go more smoothly.

I picked this book up on my own at the library to try and understand my children better. It has you rate your child on a scale for eight different traits: Activity, Adaptability, Approach to New Things, Frustration Reaction, Intensity, Mood, Regularity and Sensitivity.

After rating your child and rating yourself (to compare) the book offers lots of tips and hints. The relationship between where you rate and where your child rates will determine some of your difficulties with your children. For example I always thought that since I’m highly emotional I’d understand my emotional child more and be sympathetic That’s not how it is though. When one of us gets frustrated or upset the other gets annoyed and frustrated as well because we pick up on each other’s emotions so we get frustrated with each other because they’re being upset is making us upset.

After seeing how you and your child rate you can look at the traits your child is highest or lowest in and figure out what temperament your child fits in to. Some children are harder to place than others. The book labels each temperament as an animal, such as Tarita Turtle, Walocka Whale, BeiLing Bluebird and more. My younger child is a Tiganda Tiger for sure but my elder child only sort of fits into the BeiLing Bluebird. It all depends on how much they are at the extremes (high or low) for each trait.

The book was helpful in that I saw how similar or dissimilar my children are with me when it comes to certain traits and I was reminded that I need to keep my cool with my children because they aren’t trying to annoy me on purpose, they’re just being themselves. This book isn’t the be all and end all of figuring out your child’s temperament and how to work with it but it’s a start.

Links of Interest: Temperament Tools Website,

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.