The organism, existing independently of the external environment, seeks to establish equilibrium with it. It is possible only through the performance of certain actions by the organism. Performing these actions, the individual thereby finds ways – schemes – of these actions that allow him to restore the disturbed balance.
The process of cognitive adaptation also consists of two oppositely directed processes – assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation and accommodation are oppositely directed, but inextricably linked and complementary tendencies in behavior, but both require schemes to be executed. Assimilation is comparable to the digestion of food: the solution to a problem situation occurs with the help of existing schemes of action or cognitive schemes. For example, using the general “grasping pattern”, the child can pick up a variety of objects. Accommodation, on the other hand, is a change in schemes in relation to a new situation, to a new task; it provides variability and development of new schemes. The child learns to prepare its hands and fingers in different ways, depending on whether a piece of paper or a ball is being held out to him.
The three major types of temperament are difficult, slow-to-warm-up, and easy. Children with difficult temperament are usually persistent, active, assertive, have intense reactions and are slow to adapt to new situations. Easy temperament refer to such traits as high adaptive abilities, moderate reactions, adherence to regular routines, as well as generally good mood in children. Finally, slow-to-warm-up children are usually perceived as shy and timid, as they adapt slowly to changes, and display overall negative mood and reactions.
Bidirectional parenting has a close connection with child’s temperament. In the process of parenting, a parent and a child influence each other differently. Children with easy temperament usually do not require much emotional direction from parents, as they have good adaptive mechanisms, and are able to adjust their reactions based on the parent’s behavior. Meanwhile, both difficult and slow-to-warm-up children need additional attention from their parents, as their adaptation occurs slowly and with complications. te Brinke et al.’s (2017) study results showed that “decreases in aggressive child behavior were related to increases in perceived positive parenting and decreases in perceived overreactivity” (p. 921). Parents should have control of their own temperaments in order to properly guide children of all temperaments. However, with difficult and slow-to-warm-up children, they might need to reign in their reactions more, especially the negative ones.
te Brinke, L. W., Deković, M., Stoltz, S. E., & Cillessen, A. H. (2017). Bidirectional effects between parenting and aggressive child behavior in the context of a preventive intervention. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 45(5), 921–934.