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The Role of Temperament in the Mother-Daughter Relationship

Building Blocks

According to The Motherhood Report, temperament is "an innate blueprint that determines how a baby, and later a child, will react to his or her environment."

A child's temperament affects how a mother reacts to him or her! Experts used to believe that the mother acted and the child reacted to her. But that belief has been changed. The new mode of thought decrees that mother and child, from infancy on, are interactive. That's a big difference.

Temperament is a significant factor that sets up reactions that can affect the future of the mother-daughter relationship, so remember this important point. In other words, facets of temperament—such as whether a baby is easily frightened, gets excited by noise, is generally happy, distressed, or quickly soothed—affect how Mom reacts.

This all starts in infancy. Here are some observations that The Motherhood Report made:

  1. A more pleasing baby evokes a more positive view from the mother.
  2. The baby with a negatively perceived temperament elicits a more overall negative response from the mother that can put a lasting strain on the relationship.
  3. The early connection between mother and daughter can potentially set the tone of a lifelong relationship. In other words, a relationship that starts out well, ends well. However, a relationship that starts out poorly may also end up poorly.
  4. The researchers studied relationships that started out on the wrong foot and never set a more positive course.
  5. Children whose temperament compliments (but is not identical) to that of his or her mother, brings out the best in their nurturer.
  6. However, this doesn't mean that opposites have the best track record. On the contrary, the personality must be different and complimentary.

The secret in all of this is how Mom perceives her child's temperamental traits. Does she perceive them as positive or negative? The answer is strictly in the eye of the beholder!

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Mothers and Daughters © 2001 by Rosanne Rosen. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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