What to Know If You Think Your Child Has a Difficult Temperament

Children with challenging dispositions may be more difficult to calm down and more easily enraged. It's crucial to resist adopting a bad parenting style in response to this.

Being a parent can be gratifying, but it can also be challenging. There may be days when you feel worn out and overburdened, particularly if you have a child with a challenging temperament. If you feel that your child is often screaming or having tantrums, it can be simple to slip into a habit of bad parenting.

You can experience fewer difficulties if you establish a schedule and teach your child to name their feelings. That being said, you might want to discuss your concerns with your child's physician or other healthcare provider if you're concerned that your child's behaviour could have a medical explanation. If your child's behaviour is being impacted by a medical problem, they can assist you in figuring it out.

What does it mean if a child has a difficult temperament?

A child with a challenging temperament has been characterised as intense or gloomy, prone to rapid rage, and resistant to change, however, other descriptions may apply. The phrase has no "official" definition. To regard a child's temperament more positively, many refer to it as a demanding temperament.

A baby with a challenging temperament may cry out more easily, be more difficult to calm down, and have trouble falling asleep.

An older child with a demanding temperament may frequently argue in the playground and the classroom. They could find it difficult to adapt when their routine changes.

Why do some kids have a difficult temperament?

Difficult temperaments are believed to be caused by a multitude of genetic and environmental variables.

Many characteristics of a child's temperament are preprogrammed into their DNA from birth. Research suggests that genetics may account for as much as 75% of the variance in challenging temperament.

However, a child's temperament can change as they become older and larger depending on how their carers react. According to research, when a child has a challenging temperament, parents are more prone to employ negative parenting tactics, such as:
  • totalitarian management
  • being emotionally aloof or remote
  • conflict
  • coercion
These parenting techniques may exacerbate a child's challenging disposition by making them feel more agitated, fearful, or angry.

How can you help a child with a difficult temperament?

You have options for supporting your child if they have a difficult temperament.

Particularly in the early years, it's critical to:
  • make sure all of their demands are satisfied
  • create and adhere to routines
  • Take the time to get to know your child and their reactions to various circumstances.
When your child gets older, you might find it useful to:
  • model appropriate behaviours
  • label and discuss emotions
  • choose your battles
  • Ensure they are consuming wholesome meals and getting adequate rest.
  • Seek methods to help your child develop their self-esteem and highlight their abilities.
Accepting your child for who they are is vital, even though it might be challenging at times. It can make them feel more secure to know they are loved and appreciated.

Even if you try to support your child, they could still act out. It's critical to keep in mind that this does not represent you or your fault. Setting up opportunities for breaks and adult socialisation can be beneficial if you see that your stress levels are growing.

Getting assistance if your child has a difficult disposition

If your child has a challenging temperament, you could get assistance from:
  • parenting support groups, whether local or virtual
  • a family or paediatric therapist
  • books about disciplined parenting
  • The carer or teachers of your child
  • parenting classes


Why is one of my children so difficult?

Their lives, as well as their parents, are slightly more complicated due to certain features they acquired. This kind of kidis frequently described as demanding, spirited, or difficult. They may be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, depression, oppositional defiant disorder, or ADHD.

What is a difficult temperament baby?

Babies with challenging dispositions move around practically nonstop. This temperament type typically exhibits restlessness and is easily distracted. Babies that are difficult react strongly to hunger and other discomforts. They frequently cry out and quite loudly.

Do sensitive babies cry more?

There seems to be a benefit to this sensitivity as well: these kids eventually grow to be more sympathetic. They are fast to recognise and react to the feelings of both animals and other kids. They laugh more and cry more than their peers when they interact with others.


Children who have a tough or challenging temperament may become angry more quickly and be harder to settle down. Make sure all other potential causes of your child's behaviour, such as chronic illnesses, are ruled out before concluding that your child has a difficult temperament.

Maintaining a routine may be beneficial if you're raising a child with a demanding or difficult disposition. It's critical to attend to their needs and steer clear of a bad parenting style. If you believe your child may have a challenging temperament, there are options available.

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