Monthly Article Archives: June 2000

Differences from Birth – Part VRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

This is the last of my five-part series about the inborn temperament of children. In my last two columns I described several strategies for adopting a proactive or crisis prevention approach when interacting with our temperamentally difficult children. I noted that a proactive parent consistently asks, “What can I do in advance to create an environment that will minimize my child’’s difficulties and help my child learn more adaptive ways of handling problems?” In last month’’s column I outlined several important components of a proactive approach that included: (a) reflecting upon your child’’s temperament and making a list of the behaviors that you would like to see changed, (b) prioritizing the list in terms of what behaviors need immediate attention, (c) practicing empathy and seeing the world through the eyes of your temperamentally difficult child so that you can respond more effectively to her/his behaviors, and (d) articulating clearly what you see as the problem and asking your child if she/he also sees it as a problem since agreement that a problem exists is an important step towards solving it. Please refer to my April and May columns for a more in-depth discussion of these and other points. In this

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