by Zeelaf Majeed Friday December 27, 2013

We have done so many interesting things on TVOParents this year, but one project I am particularly proud of is our Temperament Quiz. Created with our partners at Infant Mental Health Promotion at Sick Kids Hospital, the quiz is a tool that helps parents learn how well their temperaments "fit" with their kids. It’s based on the 9 traits of temperament, which include traits like our ability to pay attention, focus, and self-regulate.

You are born with your temperament, which is basically your personality, and you can’t change it - neither can your child. But through this quiz, you can learn where you and your child are similar, where you are different, when it might be smooth sailing, and when you might clash.

The experts we worked with, including Chaya Kulkarni at Infant Mental Health, Greg Lubimiv at the Phoenix Centre for Children and Families, and Mary Rella of the Reach Out Centre for Kids, came up with the coping strategies for parents, so they can minimize conflicts with their kids and maximize their child's healthy development.

I will share that creating this quiz was a lot of hard work on the parts of a lot of people both within TVO and without. There is actually no other tool like this online, that allows people to compare their temperaments, so we had to build it from scratch. We had to figure out the questions - nine based on the nine traits of temperament, and then we decided to add a tenth fun bonus question - which Winnie the Pooh character are you? That's because the Pooh characters exhibit many of the temperament traits, so if you're a cautious Rabbit and your child is a risk-taking Tigger, you know there's potential for conflict. We had to figure out the logic - with so many possible combinations, which ones would we focus on and create useful responses for?

Somehow we did figure it all out, and if I do say so myself, I think it's pretty great. It's a unique tool that can be used by all families, and it provides important information to parents on how well their personalities match with their kids, where the potential areas of conflict may be, and how to handle the frustrations, disappointments, anger, and tears that may arise as a result.

I, of course, have completed the quiz, comparing myself with my 11-year-old son, and I discovered that while we are quite alike in some ways, that is not always a good thing. For example, we both love movies so it's easy to convince each other to spend a lazy afternoon on the couch watching films rather than heading outdoors for some exercise. Hence, being active enough is sometimes a struggle for both of us.  On the other hand we are quite different when it comes to mood. I can let the worries of the world weigh me down, but my son is nearly always in a good mood, and that is more contagious, so before long I am in a good mood too.

Take some time over this holiday season to take the quiz and find out how you and your child compare. You might be surprised to discover how similar or different the two of you are, and no matter what you learn, there'll be strategies to help resolve potential problems. Tell us what you think of the quiz, and feel free to share some of your results - even if it's only to let us know which Winnie the Pooh character you are!