What is temperament?

In the same situation, one child may react intensely while the next is quiet. One may be shy, another bold. Rooted largely in the individual's physical constitution, temperament is reflected in the consistency of an individual's reactions across similar situations.

Temperament is different from personality. Personality reflects motivations, interests, drives. Temperament and personality are related, however. A child's temperament may shape certain aspects of personality. The sensitive child who withdraws from the chaos of life may later develop a love of solitary walks, quiet countrysides, reflective reading.

Temperament also differs from ability. Two children of the same age may be equally active. One may be able to express that energy through a variety of skills, learning to play tennis, basketball, skiing, etc. The other may be able to express the same energy level only through running.

For a description of the different concepts used to describe temperament, see the question: What are the major areas of temperament?


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