When my daughter was seven years old her favorite book was The Baby Blue Cat Who Said No, written by Anislie Pryor.
The story is about a Mama Cat and her three kittens. Mama Cat loves her children, and all of them cooperate except Baby Blue Cat who always says, “No!”.
I bought this book for my daughter, because I was hoping she would see the similarity between Baby Blue Cat’s behavior and her own. What I never expected was that she would bring it up herself.
“The Baby Blue Cat is funny isn’t he Mami?” she said to me one night.
“Yes, this is a funny book. But the mama cat in the story doesn’t think so.”
“Mama Cat gets sad.”
“Yes, she does.” I said.
“Baby Blue Cat always says no, and he doesn’t listen.”
“That’s right. Mommies get frustrated when their children say no all the time.”
“Mami, I am going to cover my mouth with both hands and think really hard before I say no to you.”
“That’s a great idea!” I said giving her a hug.
“I know, Mami; I’m smart about ideas.” She answered.
It’s important that parents understand their children, so that they can guide them, but also let them figure things out on their own.
Every child has a different temperament and deals with the world according to his or her traits.
Researchers use to think that children were all born the same, but turned out differently because of how they were raised. They thought that what mattered most was how their parents treated them. However, now we know that children are born with different temperament traits, and that they remain different no matter how they are parented.
Ask any parent who has more than one child and they will tell you that although their children might have some things in common, each child is very different.
There is no such thing as a “good” or “bad” kid in terms of temperament. Parents just need to understand each child and then learn skills to help them manage their children.
If you are interested in understanding more about temperament traits I suggest you read Temperament Tools, by Helen Neville and Diane Clark Johnson.