The nine traits of temperament: Persistence
Understanding your child’s persistence can help you understand and support your child.
Temperament refers to personality traits that determine how someone reacts to the world. Are they quiet or rambunctious? Easygoing or apprehensive? The traits of temperament are mostly innate traits that we are born with, although they can be influenced by an individual’s family, culture or their experiences. A person’s temperament style plays a role in how they behave and how they interact with other people and within their world.
There are nine different traits of temperament. In this article, we will explore the trait of persistence.
Persistence refers to how long you are able and willing to stick to a task, even when it is challenging. Some individuals are willing to keep working at something, even when they run into roadblocks along the way. Other people may be more willing to drop a task that is difficult and move on to something else.
Children who are persistent will work hard to figure out exactly how that puzzle piece fits in, even if it is challenging. They will work very hard to finish something they have started and are likely to practice something they want master, like riding a bike.
Children with low persistence are more likely to move onto something else when they find something difficult. It is common for them to be overwhelmed when they struggle with something that is challenging for them. They may become very frustrated or ask for an adult to do it for them.
Parenting and persistence
Children with high persistence may be able to independently work through problems without much adult assistance and may be more inclined to work on tasks alone. Parents may want to check in with persistent children to see how they are doing when they are working through a problem and offer support if the child wants it. Children with low persistence may give up quickly or be overwhelmed with frustration when they find a task tough.
Help children learn to work through the emotions that go along with feeling overwhelmed. Teaching them stress management techniques like taking deep breaths or walking away for a few minutes can help encourage them to work through problems on difficult tasks.
Letting your daily schedule and your expectations vary to meet your child’s persistence can prevent conflict and stress, and allow your child to have their needs met in a way that plays to their strengths and builds upon their natural temperament.
Letting your daily schedule and your expectations vary to meet your child’s approach/withdrawal can prevent conflict and stress, and allow your child to have their needs met in a way that plays to their strengths and builds upon their natural temperament.
For more information about children and temperament, check out the other articles in this series:
- The nine traits of temperament
- The nine traits of temperament: Activity level
- The nine traits of temperament: Biological rhythms
- The nine traits of temperament: Sensitivity
- The nine traits of temperament: Intensity of reaction
- The nine traits of temperament: Adaptability
- The nine traits of temperament: Approach/withdrawal
- The nine traits of temperament: Distractibility
- The nine traits of temperament: Mood
For more articles on child development, academic success, parenting and life skill development, please visit the Michigan State University Extension website.
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