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Understanding Children’s Behaviour

Through the Lens of Temperament Video Series

with Founder and President Mary Gordon

To help parents and educators understand children's behaviour through the lens of temperament.


In this series introduction, Mary Gordon unpacks your child’s temperament traits and describes how your own temperament traits impact the way you relate to your child, giving you another lens on parenting.

First Reaction

Mary Gordon explains the temperament trait of first reaction, which is the degree of caution or adventure that a child approaches new things such as food, clothes, people, or situations.


Mary Gordon explains how our bodies have a natural rhythmicity that is different from person to person, and how parents can understand and respond to their children’s rhythmicity.


Mary Gordon explains the continuum of intensity levels. If we understand our children’s temperament traits, including intensity, we can help them know themselves and navigate their world.

Activity Level

Mary Gordon explains that if you know your child’s activity level, and your own, and consider the blend of the two, you can figure out how to have the happiest connections with your child.


Mary Gordon discusses the temperament trait of persistence: how easily we give up or how easily we persist with a challenging activity. She provides strategies and advice on how to help children who have different levels of persistence.


Mary Gordon discusses the temperament trait of adaptability.


Mary Gordon explains the temperament trait of “mood”.


Mary Gordon tells us about “distractibility” – the temperament trait that refers to how easily a person can be pulled away from an activity.


Mary Gordon describes “sensitivity” – the temperament trait that determines how sensitive we are to the world around us through smell, hearing, and other senses and feelings.

Roots of Empathy acknowledges the generous support of the Government of Ontario.