Solr Search

Child Temperament: How We Start to Become Ourselves | David C Rettew

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
LinkedIn icon
Pinterest icon
e-mail icon

This talk will start with a very brief description of what child temperament is and how it develops over time. Particular attention will be given to how a child’s temperament can pull from the environment certain qualities that often serve to accentuate traits and propel them to become more extreme. The role of a parent will then be discussed, including issues of labelling children and the important task of being able to “override” natural but sometimes suboptimal parental responses. Finally, there will be a short investigation into what we know about the boundaries between what are called temperament or personality traits and what are called psychiatric symptoms or disorders.

David Rettew is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He is the Training Director of the UVM Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship and the Director of the Pediatric Psychiatry Clinic at the UVM Medical Center. He completed his adult and child psychiatry training at Harvard Medical School within the Massachusetts General and McLean Hospital program. Dr. Rettew joined the UVM faculty in 2002 where he divides his time between clinical, teaching and research activities. His main research interest is the role of temperament and personality factors in childhood psychiatric disorders. Dr. Rettew has over 100 published journal articles, chapters, and scientific abstracts on a variety of child mental health topics, including a recent book entitled Child Temperament: New Thinking About the Boundary Between Traits and Illness. He also writes a blog for Psychology Today called the “ABCs of Child Psychiatry.”

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at


Shows In This Series