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Is the person you were in the first grade the person you are today? To some degree, yes. A new study shows that personality traits are set as early as the first grade. The study looked at four personality traits: talkativeness, adaptability, impulsiveness and humility. Many subjects who were interviewed as children and again 40 years later retained the characteristics they had four decades prior.
As a mom of two, there’s something scary about this finding. My son is sensitive and sweet, yet cursed with "selective hearing." And my daughter, who is 5 going on 13, has an attitude that could give any Hollywood diva a run for her money. She’s strong-willed, fickle and talk-to-the-hand stubborn (seriously, at 5). I dread that I might have to deal with melodrama for decades to come. On the other hand, her quick wit, intense creativity and bubbliness are enviable qualities that I hope stay with her forever.
And hey, I might not even have until the first grade until some of these traits are set in stone. “Many psychologists believe that personality traits are formed as early as age three," says behavioral therapist Alison Astair. If a child is trustful and self assured, he/she will continue to take more opportunities than a child who is distrustful and cautious.”
Of course, nurture will always play a role in our children’s development. “Childhood experiences continue to affect personality development as our children grow, so there is always an element of change," Astair says. "But the core personality may be set early on.” As parents, we can’t pick the personalities our children will have any more than we can pick their eye color, but we can raise them in an environment that’s conducive to positive qualities and instill strong values as we go. I guess we simply need to embrace the results and the individuals our little ones become.
What traits do you hope your kid keeps -- and what do you hope she grows out of? Chime in below!
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