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I took a copy of "The Difficult Child" by Dr. Stanley Turecki to our child's psychologist. ....
Temperament and Parenting
A Newsletter About Caring for the High Maintenance Child by Kate Andersen, M.Ed.
The Child Outside the Home Toliet Training.
Volume 22, Number 6, February, 2020
Letter to Kate
I took a copy of "The Difficult Child" by Dr. Stanley Turecki to our child's psychologist. He liked the suggestions in it but said that the temperament traits listed in the front of the book were 'overinclusive'. He said that the difficult child in research did not have all of those traits. I am confused. My child does have all of the traits. Does this mean he is not really a 'difficult' child but has something else wrong with him? The psychologist would not really answer my question when I asked him this because he is still evaluating my child.
Your psychologist is correct that the original 'difficult child' characteristics developed by researchers Drs. Stella Chess and Alexander Thomas included only five traits: negative mood, high intensity, irregularity, high withdrawal and poor adaptability. However, research and clinical experience have found other NORMAL traits to challenge parents, too. Research has also shown them to be function as risk factors in specific environments.
As a result, the term 'temperament risk factors' (TRF) is now replacing the concept of 'the difficult child'. I asked Dr. Sean McDevitt, one of the developers of the concept of TRF, if a child can have all nine of Dr. Turecki's 'difficult traits' and still be normal or if Dr. Turecki's list is 'overinclusive'. This is what he told me: "A child can have all nine difficult traits and still be quite normal. The key is the interaction between these traits and the environment. When there is constant conflict present, it may create a behavioral or emotional problem later on (possibly a severe one) but the temperament itself is still normal. If the interaction remains positive, no conflicts will arise and no disorder will be created. As a practical matter, difficult children tend to require a lot of 'maintenance' so it usually isn't easy to cope with a really difficult child. After all, that's why we need newsletters about this!"
I hope this helps.
Best wishes and thanks for writing,
to some common questions about behavioral style.
Origins, impact on parenting, risk for behavioral issues, relationship to ADHD, and other topics.
Goodness of Fit
How temperament is assessed.
Poor fit can lead to stress and possibly emotional or behavioral problems
When professional help is needed
There are qualified individuals from several disciplines who counsel parents and children.