Your child may be growing faster than you can keep
track of, but his personality? That's pretty much set.
A new study published in the journal Social Psychological and
Personality Science has found that we tend to remain recognizably
the same person from childhood to adulthood. "Our personality does
seem to stay with us," says lead author Christopher Nave, a
doctoral candidate at the University of California Riverside.
Nave and his colleagues used data collected on
schoolchildren in the 1960s, where teachers had provided feedback
about the personalities of their students. More than 40 years
later, the researchers tracked down a large number of the original
participants to bring them in for a personality interview. "We saw
that the way teachers perceived their students predicted how they
were behaving decades later," Nave says.
And these findings may mean you can get a sneak peak into
your child's future. Children who were rated "verbally fluent,"
defined as unrestrained talkativeness, grew up to be dominant and
socially adept by the time they were middle-aged. "Adaptable"
students tended to become cheerful and curious, while "impulsive"
kids were later talkative and loud. And humble kids-those whom
teachers said had a tendency to "self-minimize"-were linked with
feelings of insecurity and humility as adults.
The findings, Nave says, mean that while people's
personalities can change over time, it may take more work than
previously thought. He suggests promoting a blend of different
behaviors in your children, as well as asking teachers for
feedback. While parents tend to promote being humble, for instance,
you may want to step in if the teacher says it's happening to an
extreme degree. On the other hand, talkative children-even to the
point of almost disturbing the class-tended to find appropriate
outlets and succeed in the long run.
See more of Laura's stories here.
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