He is the first child of Son Goku. Named after Goku's adopted grandfather, his tremendous talent and power was readily apparent in his childhood. In the battle against Raditz, Gohan's horrifying power substantially injured him, assisting both Piccolo and Goku.
As Piccolo said, he was too pampered by his parents in the early ages to even realize his talent. Piccolo decided to start training him by leaving him in an island for six months to learn independence before teaching him anything at all. After one year of training, Gohan became a much more independent and strong in character.
Even though Gohan became more independent, he still lacked the kind of confidence that his father had, which was evident when he fled from where he was supposed to attack Nappa in his first battle against the Saiyajins. His lack of confidence persisted even after he became the most powerful warrior (Super Gohan) in the epic battle against Cell. During the "Kame Hame Ha" final confrontation between the two of them, Gohan was about to give up the battle. During that time, his father had more confidence in him then he did himself as Goku motivated Gohan to unleash his full potential to completely destroy Cell.
Because his mother had always wanted him to be a scholar, Gohan has a dilemma between fighting and studying, even though he is equally assiduous in both. Because of the constant invasion of "evil," Gohan focused on fighting. However, he finally got the opportunity to become a scholar after Buu was defeated and realized his mother's wishes.