The Trickiest Traits of All
So, which trait is hardest to deal with in a child? "The intense, slow to adapt child is likely to be the most challenging," says Neville. "Then if you add high energy to that, it makes it harder."
Kurcinka agrees that intensity is a difficult trait. "This is partly because intense children tend to have intense parents," she says. "When a child becomes intense and moves to the 'red zone' or bubbling-over phase, our natural inclination is to go with them." She says the challenge then becomes how a parent chooses to deal with the intense situation. Kurcinka recommends that the parent take a deep breath and know that while she is equally upset by the situation, she doesn't have to go to that tantrum mode where the child already resides. After this, the key is to recognize and modify for each trait's inherent "triggers"—things that happen throughout our day that make us feel out of control or send us into that "red zone."