Temperament and Personality in Childhood

Authored by: Rebecca L. Shiner

Handbook of Personality Development

Print publication date:  April  2006
Online publication date:  February  2014

Print ISBN: 9780805847161
eBook ISBN: 9781315805610
Adobe ISBN: 9781317778073

10.4324/9781315805610.ch11

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Abstract

Children are remarkably different from one another from the earliest months of life, Some infants cry loudly and often, whereas others peer at the world in a state of contentment. Some infants laugh with delight at a new, noisy toy; others shrink in fear from new experiences. Even in the womb, some children appear to be more active than others. Over time, as children mature, they display an increasingly differentiated, complex range of individual differences. Older children vary in their capacities to control their impulses, exert leadership among peers, approach new situations creatively, and inhibit aggression when provoked. Parents, educators, physicians, mental health workers, and policymakers all ask important questions about these early emerging differences in children: Do early traits forecast children's later personalities and life outcomes? To what extent do children's personalities change and through what processes? Do parents, schools, and the broader community make a difference in the formation of children's personalities? During the last several decades, research on early personality development has begun to yield answers to these questions.

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