How Your Childhood Shapes Your Personality

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Personality

Childhood is a defining time in the life of every individual. From our experiences to how our parents raised us to what we were taught and more, every little aspect makes us into the person we are today. Believe it or not, your childhood can even influence your personality. Whether you’re aware of the impact of your younger years or not can make a huge difference. Those who understand where they came from and how they were shaped as kids usually have more success in deciding how they’d like to move forward in life. The more self-aware you are, the better chance you can have at living the life you desire. 

Personality 

Personality refers to the thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and feelings that make a person who they are. It includes an individual’s moods, opinions, attitudes, and how they interact with others. In many instances, once you know someone’s personality, you can often predict how they’ll respond to a certain situation. Human personalities are complex, and they become even more so when someone has a personality disorder. For those who are curious about their personality, there are many online tests available. While these are fun to take and can give you some insight into your life, they shouldn’t be relied on for advice, especially when it comes to mental health. Always leave that up to a professional. 

Personality Formation

Everyone is unique, which makes meeting new people so exciting. Usually, it is someone’s personality that is most memorable about them. An individual’s personality starts forming from the time they are born and can be affected by many different factors. Some of these include:

  • Genetics: Some traits are inherited. According to psychologists, five of these traits are extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, agreeableness, and neuroticism. If a parent is more extraverted, for example, the child might also be more prone to extraversion. 
  • Environment: The environment a child grows up in greatly affects their personality. That being said, even if two children appear to have had a similar home life, it doesn’t mean they’ll turn out the same. Even siblings raised in the same home can be polar opposites. A happy home may create a child who is confident and funny, while a neglectful home might produce a child who is timid and unsure of themselves. One’s environment also includes things like school. Was the child bullied or did they have an amazing educational experience? The environment is perhaps the most influential aspect of someone’s personality.
  • Family: Researchers have found that one’s birth order can affect their personality. Firstborns tend to be more extraverted, emotionally stable, tolerant, and willing to be leaders, as an example. How much time a family spends together, the family dynamic, and communication styles can also influence a child’s personality.
  • Relationships: An individual’s friends play role in how they develop. As a rule, you’re most similar to the five people you’re closest with. As kids grow up, they pick and choose their friends for a variety of reasons, and these individuals tend to impact their thoughts, feelings, and characteristic behaviors for years to come. 
  • Social media: Kids are using social media and the internet at younger and younger ages. While there are some benefits of being online, such as staying connected to friends and family, there are also drawbacks. Comparison can lead a child to imitate celebrities, friends, or other people they see on TV or online. It can also influence their behavior and make them less likely to be comfortable with being different from their peers. 
  • Culture: The culture of the society one grows up in can have a profound effect on personality. That’s because culture often dictates what is and isn’t acceptable, even if it’s through unspoken rules. Collectivist cultures often produce individuals who are more socially oriented while individual cultures create people who have a more personally oriented personality type. 

Children are already highly impressionable as they grow up, and their experiences during those formative years are bound to have an impact on their persona as an adult. Many people don’t take the time to consider how their childhood has affected their life overall, but doing so can be incredibly helpful, especially in areas of confusion or hurt. It’s hard to say which factors influence one’s personality most, but it’s clear that every little experience has the potential to have an impact. 

Childhood Adversity

In general, kids who go through trauma or other adverse events when they’re young have a higher chance of developing problems later in life because of it. These issues might include:

  • Personality disorders 
  • Anxiety
  • Increased loneliness 
  • Dissatisfaction with life
  • Financial struggles
  • Depression
  • Getting into trouble with the law 
  • Other mental health conditions

Any of these issues can affect an individual’s personality. If a child experienced trauma, they may be shyer, less trusting, or more aggressive than kids who did not. They might be more impulsive as well and care less about maintaining healthy relationships. However, every person will be different. 

Personality Disorders

Usually, personality disorders start in the teen years or once someone reaches early adulthood. Paranoid, borderline, antisocial, histrionic, avoidant, obsessive-compulsive, and narcissistic are just some examples of the kinds of personality disorders one might develop. Genes and environment both play a role in their development. Certain personalities may be inclined to disorders, while specific life events could also help cause them. 

Personality is complex but can also be fun to explore. Although personality disorders can interfere greatly with one’s life, there are treatments available to help manage the symptoms associated with them. If you’re concerned you may have a personality disorder or just want to explore how your childhood has affected you today, consider reaching out to a qualified mental health professional. Many therapists even specialize in personalities and can work with you to understand yourself better. Becoming more self-aware is the key to making positive changes in your life that you can be proud of. 

Marie Miguel Biography

Marie Miguel

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

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