Personality development in children starts with understanding what personality is.
Personality is defined as a characteristic set of behaviours, cognitions, and emotional patterns that evolve from biological and environmental factors. However, in layman’s language personality of a person can be defined as the way a person reacts in a particular situation.
The personality of a person is inherited as well as acquired. The inherited traits are, generally, a part of evolution such as humans exhibit different personality traits than monkeys in terms of locomotion. Moreover, the acquired personality traits include humans learning languages for communication.
Personality development is the relatively enduring pattern of the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that distinguish individuals from each other. The dominant viewpoint in personality psychology indicates that personality emerges early and continues to develop across one’s lifespan.
Personality Development in Children
In order to shape a child into a successful human being, it is important to develop their personality skills right from the toddler’s age.
Just like a parent holds a child’s hand when he/she takes his first step, similarly, parents should take the charge of a child’s personality development in a healthy manner.
Personality Development Stages
Infancy (0–18 months)
This is the age of trust versus mistrust. An infant’s basic need is nourishment. A parent/caregiver anticipating and fulfilling the baby’s needs promptly helps infants in learning to trust others. Also, it helps the infant blossom into a happy toddler.
Early Childhood (1.5–3 years)
The second stage of socio-emotional development is autonomy versus doubt or shame. At this stage, the child should be observed and guided as needed. Allowing a child to have a say in making decisions related to them will shape their confidence and mould independent thinking abilities.
Mid-Childhood (3–5 years)
The third stage is “initiative versus guilt.” During this time, a child learns to function independently. It becomes more assertive and is eager to explore more and try out new things. Curiosity about everything is the fuel in this age and it must be channelled in the right direction.
Late Childhood (5–12 years)
Industry versus inferiority is the fourth stage of development. As the child’s attention span and strength increases, children want to acquire new skills. They begin comparing themselves with others to understand where they stand. But, if industriousness is not encouraged, the child may begin to develop inferiority complex and self-doubt. This can, thus, prevent them from realizing their true potential.
Adolescence (12–18 yrs)
The fifth stage is identity vs confusion. During this phase, teens try to find their place in society as well as their personal identity. They seek greater independence and develop their respective outlook towards life. They try to find the role they would play in the family, in the professional arena, and in the society. To successfully pass through this stage, teens need the support and encouragement of their parents and peers.
Therefore, if a child is raised in a righteous environment and treated with considerate behaviour, it would consequently, positively impact personality development in children.
What a person is preached as child; he practices in later life.
Poor Personality Development
Personality is a factor of the utmost importance that shapes human nature and a person’s identity. However, low personality development is both a threat as well as a drawback to the identity of a person as an individual.
Moreover, it will not only affect the person but also the society. Thus holistically they will later turn into a liability and burden.
Causes of Poor Personality Development
Lack of Proper Education
Education is the most potent factor in personality development and its lack or denial can, thus, lead to a weak personality.
Generally, people learn their lessons from their families. Also, every child tends to follow the footsteps of their parents. And this is the initiating point of growth of the human personality. Since the upbringing of children by parents is the most important part of personality development. Undoubtedly, the family environment is one of the most important factors that affect the same.
Culture: Culture has a great impact on a person’s personality. Consequently, we see stark personality contrasts in the different parts of the world.
Religion: Religion can play a vital role in developing a person’s personality because since childhood a human grows up with their religious beliefs. How intensely this factor is present in a person is quite subjective.
These are some of the major factors that affect personality. However, according to research by W.H.O, there are a total of 16 factors affecting personality.
According to statistics, amongst all the children communities the ones belonging to illiterate and poor families are more prone to violence and abuse. Moreover, the girls are amongst the most to suffer due to gender inequality deep-rooted in society.
Violence and Abuse (mental, physical or substance) is one of the most highlighted factors responsible for the cause of poor personality development in kids.
The following are stats obtained from UNICEF site for the children undergoing violence or abuse out of every 1000 surveyed.
Ways to Prevent Child Abuse and Violence
Recognize the Signs
It’s important to recognize that a child is undergoing some kind of abuse or harassment. In most cases it is difficult but when in doubt, always observe keenly.
It is important to teach parents about personality development skills.
The children who have experienced some kind of violence or abuse are more likely to repeat this in future when they grow up to be adults. Thus, counselling and talking to them may help to break the chain.
Organize your Community
Faith-based organizations, civic groups, schools, community leaders, and local and state legislatures can all come together to fight against child abuse. Keep in touch with such organizations.
if you see any such violence case report immediately to local police or authorities in charge.
Things are going to take time. However, it is important to have faith in authorities and organizations working for improvement. Also, it is our duty to be a part of movements which are on a mission to end violence against children.
Edited by : Prapti Kakkar