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Train the Trainer Thriving with Your Spirited Child. Presented by:. University of Wisconsin-Extension. Faden Fulleylove-Krause and Donna Doll-Yogerst UWEX Family Living Educators Oconto and Calumet Counties. Theory, Research and Application. Developed by

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Train the Trainer

Thriving with Your Spirited Child

presented by

Presented by:

University of Wisconsin-Extension

Faden Fulleylove-Krause and

Donna Doll-Yogerst

UWEX Family Living Educators

Oconto and Calumet Counties

theory research and application
Theory, Research and Application

Developed by

  • Faden Fulleylove-Krause, Professor, Family Development, UWEX
  • Carol Ostergren, Ph.d., Outreach Specialist, UWEX

University of Wisconsin-Extension

an overview
An Overview
  • Temperament theory
  • Goodness of fit model
  • Family Systems theory
  • Research supporting application
  • Temperament programs
temperament family systems theory research and application
Temperament & Family Systems: Theory, Research and Application
  • Temperament IS
  • Childs temperament is only one aspect of the child
  • Situation and environment, two aspects that parents can influence

University of Wisconsin-Extension

temperament theory a brief historical overview
Temperament Theory:A brief historical overview

The Ancient Greeks

  • Blood – cheerfulness
  • Phlegm – sluggishness or apathy
  • Black bile – gloominess
  • Yellow bile - anger
temperament theory a brief historical overview1
Temperament Theory:A brief historical overview
  • 17th century – individual differences in behavior no longer due to inborn nature, individual as a “blank slate”
  • 19th century – continued emphasis on external forces to explain temperament (Freud’s psychoanalytic theory)
  • early 20th century – behaviorist theory also focused on the role of environment
temperament theory a brief historical overview2
Temperament Theory:A brief historical overview

Mid 20th century researchers began to question this extreme environmentalism:

  • Bell & Sameroff recognized that infants’ behavior influenced parent-child interactions (not a one-way street from parent to child)
  • Chess & Thomas noticed that some children with behavior problems had received “good parenting”, while some well adjusted children had received “bad parenting”.
temperament theory a brief historical overview3
Temperament Theory:A brief historical overview
  • These events suggested that both nature (inborn individual differences) and nurture (parenting) influence development
  • Temperament reemerged as an influence on child development
temperament theory common ground
Temperament Theory:Common ground

Various theoretical approaches agree temperament:

  • is biologically based
  • refers to individual differences
  • is modifiable by environment
  • exhibits a relative degree of stability over time
temperament theory chess thomas
Temperament Theory:Chess & Thomas
  • Environment can influence the behavioral expression of temperament, as well as its underlying nature (Kagan’s research)
  • Pioneering NYLS interviewed 133 parents of 3-month-olds, followed them for over 30 years
  • Identified 9 temperament traits by analyzing contents of interviews (clinical significance)
nine temperament traits
Nine temperament traits
  • Sensitivity
  • Intensity
  • Activity
  • Biological rhythmicity
  • Adaptability
  • Approach/withdrawal
  • Persistence
  • Distractibility
  • Mood
chess thomas difficultness concept
Chess & ThomasDifficultness concept

These traits were labeled the “difficult” cluster:

- high intensity

- withdrawal from novelty

- slow adaptability

- low regularity

- negative mood

isabel briggs myers
Isabel Briggs Myers

Energy Source

Introversion Extroversion

Gather Information

Intuitive Sensing

Make Decisions

Feeling Thinking

Organize Life

Perceptive Judgmental

david kiersey marilyn bates
David Kiersey, Marilyn Bates
  • Please Understand Me, 1984

Character and Temperament

  • Advisor Team, corporate world

4 Temperment types

Artisan Guardians

Rationals Idealist


linda budd
  • Active Alert


mary sheedy kurcinka
Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

Raising your Spirited Child, 1991

  • Intense
  • Persistent
  • Sensitive
  • Low adaptability
  • Perceptive
preventive ounce temperament program
Preventive Ounce Temperament Program
  • Parents complete temperament questionnaire (infant, toddler, preschool-age child)
  • Website:
  • Parents receive:

- a profile of their child’s temperament

- a forecast of “likely to occur” behaviors

- strategies for managing “likely to occur” behaviors that are individualized to their child’s temperament

evaluation of preventive ounce program
Evaluation of Preventive Ounce Program
  • Research in Wisconsin, with both the infant & preschool program replicated findings of:

- clinical effectiveness

- differential utility

  • parents with less education or more difficult temperament children found the program significantly more useful
evaluation of preventive ounce program1
Evaluation of Preventive Ounce Program

About 3/4 of parents in Carol Ostergren’s study reported that the temperament advice helped them:

  • “anticipate my child’s behavior”
  • “improve my relationship with my child”
  • “be more accepting of my child’s behavior”
  • “understand my child’s behavior”
goodness of fit a family system view
Goodness of Fit – a Family System view
  • Good fit leads to healthy development
  • Poor fit puts children at risk for developing behavior problems
family systems theory
Family Systems Theory
  • The “ family” is viewed as a system
  • A change in a family member affects the entire family system
  • Temperament education lends itself to family education.
  • Parents, siblings – everyone has a temperament style.
family systems theory1
assumes that individuals behavior is intricately inter-connected to the other members and forces within the family

A systems approach to human development considers the way relationships within the family and between the family and social environment influence individual development and family functioning.

Family Systems Theory
thriving with your spirited child

Thriving with Your Spirited Child

has parent and child education components

application concerns
Application: Concerns
  • Reliability of temperament measures (potential subjective bias in parent reports)
  • Validity of temperament measures
  • Potential “self-fulfilling” prophesy effects of labeling as difficult
arguments supporting application
Arguments supporting application
  • First, parents look for child-rearing guidance
  • Second, difficult temperament is associated with development of behavior problems, especially when parenting behaviors & attitudes are also considered (Morris, Cameron)
  • Third, difficult child temperament has negative effect on parenting behaviors & attitudes, p-c interactions and families
research supporting practical application
Research supporting practical application
  • Difficult child temperament associated with increased stress, risk of depression & lower self-efficacy (Sirignano & Lachman, Cutrona & Troutman)
  • Mothers of difficult infants were less involved & less responsive than mothers of easy infants (van den Boom, Susman-Stillman)
  • Temperament can facilitate or impede the developing attachment relationship.
research supporting practical application1
Research supporting practical application
  • Mothers of difficult toddlers/preschoolers were less positive & affectionate, less supportive or involved, more punitive & less attached
  • Parent-child interactions (with a difficult child) were more negative & deteriorated in quality over time (Pettit & Bates)
  • Having a difficult child is associated with poor family functioning & increased levels of family disruption (Sheeber & Johnson)
current temperament based guidance programs
Current temperament-based guidance programs
  • Help parents increase “goodness of fit” and prevent behavior problems
  • Based on theory of temperament
  • Based on Family System theory
intervention research
Intervention research
  • Van den Boom evaluated the effectiveness of an intervention designed to improve goodness of fit between mothers and their irritable infants.
  • Random assignment to intervention or control
  • Intervention consisted of individual skill training sessions – three 2-hour sessions held monthly between 6 and 9 months
intervention research1
Intervention research

Intervention group mothers (at 9 months) were:

  • More responsive & visually attentive
  • More appropriately controlling of their infant’s behavior

Their infants, in turn, were:

  • More sociable
  • More able to soothe themselves
  • Less emotionally negative
  • More engaged in exploratory behavior
  • More likely to be securely attached at 12 months
thriving with your spirited child1

Thriving with your Spirited Child

The powerpoint to accompany the curriculumn

Thriving with








Spirited Child

presented by1

Presented by:

Donna Doll-Yogerst and

Faden Fulleylove-Krause

UWEX Family Living Agents

Oconto and Calumet Counties

ground rules
Ground Rules
  • Start on time, stay on time, and close on time.
  • Everyone has a chance to talk. Share the opportunity.
  • No one HAS to talk. It is OK to pass at any time.
ground rules cont
Ground Rules, cont.
  • All caregivers must decide what fits or would work for them. There is no one right way.
  • Advice is given only when asked for.
  • All that is shared is confidential – It stays here.
ground rules the end
Ground Rules……the end
  • This program shares what science and research tells us works for most kids.
  • But, as the parent, you know your child better than any expert.
  • Select and try the ideas you think might work best.
basis for program
Basis for Program

You are the expert on YOUR child.

An Agriculture expert can share the amount of fertilizer recommended for an entire field of corn.

It is much more challenging to determine how much is needed for a single stalk of corn.

Your ‘more’ child is that stalk of corn and you ARE the expert.

introductory activity
Introductory Activity

State Your Name.

Age of the “more” child who brought you here.

Hello. My name is


earth quake activity
Earth Quake Activity

Does it ever feel like this at your house with your ‘more’ child?

definition of spirited child
Definition of “spirited child”
  • Normal children who are MORE intense, persistent, sensitive, perceptive and uncomfortable with change than other children.
          • Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, Raising Your Spirited Child, page 7.
label activity
Label Activity

Write one word that describes your ‘more’ child on their ‘earth quake’ days.

label activity cont
Label Activity cont.
  • How easy is it for a child to develop a positive sense of self when these words are used to describe him?
  • How do you feel as a parent/caregiver of this child?
label activity cont1
Label Activity cont.
  • Unfortunately, words like these can become self-fulfilling prophecies, filling our minds and draining our energy.

Fortunately, each of these words has a potential strength as we will soon explore.

understanding temperament
Understanding Temperament
  • Kids are born with a biological make up that is the basis for their temperament.
  • Temperament is the child’s most natural way to react to people in the environment.
understanding temperament1
Understanding Temperament
  • Each child’s style is unique.
  • It is a behavioral style.
  • Life experiences effect temperament, but the child’s basic temperament or style stays the same.
understanding temperament2
Understanding Temperament
  • Temperament is one of many factors that make up a person’s personality.
  • Other factors that help us understand each child include:
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Birth order
  • Learning modality, etc.
things you cannot change
Things you cannot change
  • Qualities we have to accept because they cannot be fundamentally changed:
  • Male or Female Skin Color
  • Facial Features Hair Color
  • Intelligence Height
  • Temperament Maturation Rate
  • Talent Incurable or chronic disease
  • The way children Body Type
  • think atdifferent What the child enjoys
  • ages

Source: Kansas State University, Charles Smith, Ph.D.

understanding temperament can help us know
Understanding Temperamentcan help us know:
  • What behaviors to expect
  • How the child will react in situations.


  • How to respond in an effective way.
  • It provides us with effective techniques for working with all children in various settings.
temperament background
Temperament Background
  • There are 9 temperament traits identified in the original study done by Chess, Thomas and Birch, who say:

“Personality is shaped by the constant interplay of temperament and environment”.

temperament background1
Temperament Background
  • Each of these traits can be placed on a continuum from very mild to very strong.
  • We are born with each of these temperament characteristics in varying degrees of intensity.
temperament pie
Temperament Pie

Temperament Pie

Each of us has a unique, special temperament. The same is true for our children. Each temperamental trait your child exhibits is like a slice of the child. Understanding these traits gives us insights into how to parent our child.

Modified and Adapted by Nan Baumgartner from: Basic Parenting, Foundation Resources, Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service

temperament characteristics activity part i
Temperament Characteristics Activity – Part I
  • Distribute Temperament Characteristics Continuum
  • Complete continuum
  • What have you learned?
  • Any a-ha-s?
  • Dr. Stanley Turecki, author of “The Difficult Child” suggests the use of the following management skills:
  • DEFINE – recognize how the trait affects the child’s behavior.
  • AVOID - the incorrect labels that demean the child and pass judgment.
  • Stick to our kids like burrs
  • Positive or Negative (desirable or undesirable)
  • Affect how we see ourselves
  • And potentially how we act
social mirror
Social Mirror

Metaphor for the way we see ourselves because others reflect their:

  • Perceptions
  • Opinions
  • Beliefs
          • Through words or behaviors
social mirror1
Social Mirror

Used to form images and

judgments of ourselves:

  • I’m Obstinate
  • I’m Stubborn
  • I’m Difficult

Often inaccurate and thereby limiting.

self fulfilling prophecy
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Our perception influences the way we treat our child

self fulfilling prophecy1
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

What we believe about others or ourselves can become true, because we tend to act in accordance with what we believe.

self fulfilling prophecy2
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Our expectation may HELP or HINDER the child by influencing his or her


Kids are apt to live up to or down to what they believe/perceive to be expected of them

self fulfilling prophecy3
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

We communicate through:

  • Our words (7%)
  • Our tone of voice (38%)
  • Our non-verbal (55%)
    • facial expressions
    • Touch
    • Posture
label activity part b
Label Activity – Part B
  • Write one word that describes your child on the good days?
  • What do you enjoy most about your ‘more’ child?
a new perspective
A New Perspective
  • Positive
  • Assertive
  • Expressive
  • Creative
  • Dramatic
  • Honest
  • Curious
  • Careful
  • Persistent
  • Selective


  • Aggressive
  • Loud
  • Manipulative
  • Wild
  • Mouthy
  • Nosy
  • Anxious
  • Demanding
  • Picky
a new perspective cont
A New Perspective cont.

When we hold a vision of the potential it gives us HOPE!

It gives us enough energy to

teach and practice the skills

needed to turn

– behaviors into + strengths.

a new perspective cont1
A New Perspective cont.

Our responsibility, as parents/caregivers is to:

Guide and teach

appropriate and socially

acceptable ways of dealing

with intense emotions.

practice practice practice
  • ID a recent situation when child was whiny.
  • Work with person next to you.
  • What words could be used to help them understand what they are experiencing?
  • To give them and you a new perspective.
a new perspective1
A New Perspective
  • Does re-labeling your ‘more’ child’s behavior make the behavior acceptable?
  • NO!
  • Re-labeling helps us develop a + picture of our child that reminds us of their value and potential.
basic change model
Basic Change Model

How our perceptions influence our behavior and attitudes and the results we get with children

change model




Basic Change Model

Change Model
change model1




Basic Change Model

Change Model
  • Think about your own child and the change model.
  • What have you learned about how yourperception of your child might be affecting your relationship?

Talk to your neighbor about this.

  • DEFINE – recognize how the trait effects the child’s behavior.
  • AVOID - the incorrect labels that demean the child and pass judgment

3. SAY THIS - label the true behavior for the child. Be consistent so the child understands what is happening to him/her.

  • Finally, DO THIS – take action. Do what needs to be done in a + manner.
  • Remember your child is not doing this ‘on purpose’.
general strategies summary
General Strategies Summary:
  • Accept child as they are.
  • Have reasonable expectations.
  • Realize what triggers the behavior and change the environment to eliminate or reduce the trigger.
general strategies continued
General Strategies continued:
  • Identify (name) what is happening and teach your child how to handle difficult situations.
  • Make eye contact
  • Use images, action and words to communicate your message.
temperament characteristics activity part ii
Temperament Characteristics Activity – Part II
  • Place your three dots on three different characteristics of your child that challenge you.
  • Select the 1 that is your ‘most’ challenging characteristic.
  • Stand by it.
temperament characteristics continuum activity cont
Temperament Characteristics Continuum activity cont.
  • Where you are standing now is your new discussion group.
  • Review your information, add your own strategies.
  • Use the strategy board to help you.
  • Select a reporter to report back which strategies you will try and why.
going further on your own
Going Further –On Your Own
  • On the Temperament Characteristics Continuum, using a different symbol, plot other significant adults or siblings in the child’s life.
  • What a-ha’s did you get?
going further on your own1
Going Further – On Your Own
  • Check out other resources on thriving with your spirited child.
  • Start with the reference list on the front of the Temperament Traits Parent Reference Packet.
closing activity
Closing Activity

Distribute the ABC’s sheet

Using the ABC’s sheet find the letters of your ‘more’ child’s name and create a new picture of your child

i have an
I have an






Child. . . and I’m glad for it!

  • They’re not out to get you
  • They’re not plotting at night
  • It’s feelings and needs, that lead them to fight.
  • And now that you know it, you can pause and stay cool.
  • Then teach them to name it and what they can do.
  • Please help us make this program better.
  • Please leave your evaluations on your table

Your input is appreciated!

thank you

Thank You



this program made possible through
This Program Made Possible Through:

A University of Wisconsin Extension ‘Strengthening Individuals, Families, and Communities’ program initiative team mini grant.

University of Wisconsin-Extension, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Wisconsin counties cooperating.

UW-Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming, including Title IX and ADA.

power point program developed by
Power Point Program Developed By:

Original Power Point Program Developed by Donna Doll-Yogerst, Professor and Family Living Agent, Oconto County University Extension, October 2002

Modified by Nan A. Baumgartner, Professor and Family Living Agent, Fond du Lac County University Extension, August 2003

program was provided by
Program was provided by:

University of Wisconsin-Extension

Cooperative Extension

Visit the UWEX website: