Thoughts on Record: Podcast of the Ottawa Institute of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Dr. Danielle Dick: The Child Code
October 25, 2021
Dr. Pete Kelly
While many parenting books and websites emphasize the critical role of the parent in influencing a child's behaviour, it is frequently overlooked that all children possess a genetically driven temperament which exerts a powerful influence not only on the child's behaviour, but on the behaviour of their parents. Dr. Danielle Dick, joins us for a discussion of some of the core ideas contained in her new book The Child Code: Understanding Your Child's Unique Nature for Happier, More Effective Parenting. In this discussion we consider:
- Dr. Dick's motivation for writing The Child Code despite the current wealth of parenting books available
- a definitive description of the influence of genes on our behaviour, along with a consideration of the actual ability of parents to influence life outcomes
- how the heritability of the traits actually goes up over the lifespan owing to self-selection into environments that resonate with our traits.
- introduction to the "Big Three" dimensions of temperament: Extraversion, Emotionality & Effortful Control
- examples of how to leverage understanding of a child's temperament to optimize the parenting approach to promote "goodness of fit"
- the surprising consequences of parent and child being "over matched" on certain dimensions of temperament
- tips for parents to manage guilt & distress arising from challenges around fit with one's child, despite an abundance of unconditional love
- the difference between temperament and disorder and when parents should consult a mental health professional
- Dr. Dick's suggestions for managing the complex task of parenting across independent households in the wake of a separation or divorce - especially where different parenting styles are present
- strategies for helping parents to understand the impact of their own temperament on perceptions of their child
Danielle M. Dick, Ph.D., is the distinguished Commonwealth Professor of Psychology and Human and Molecular Genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she directs a research institute on behavioral and emotional health. She is an internationally recognized and award-winning expert on genetic and environmental influences on human behavior. Dr. Dick has received grant funding totaling in excess of $25 million from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and private foundations. She has more than 300 peer-reviewed publications, and has won numerous national and international awards for her work.