W. B. Carey
Ciba Foundation symposium
Temperament data can aid the clinician in fostering parent-child relationships on three levels. First, general educational discussions about temperament between the clinician and parents provide background information, which increases parents' awareness and understanding of individual differences. Second, identification of the temperament profile of the particular child provides the parents with a more organized picture of the child's behavioural style and of possible distortions in their perceptions of its. This is primarily useful to the clinician when the child is rather difficult or when, for example the mother's perception of the child makes the child seem more difficult than her own ratings suggest. This clarification process may provide parents with enough insight for them to make their own shifts in interaction patterns. Third, the clinician may attempt to influence the temperament-environment interaction, when its dissonance is leading to reactive symptoms, by suggesting alternative methods of parental management. If this is successful, the stress of the interaction should diminish and the reactive symptoms disappear. At the same time parents the teachers must learn to live in a more tolerant and flexible manner with the child's relatively less changeable temperament.