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Personality Development - Introduction


Personality development is the development of the organized pattern of behaviors and attitudes that makes a person distinctive. Personality development occurs by the ongoing interaction of temperament, character, and environment.


Personality is what makes a person a unique person, and it is recognizable soon after birth. A child's personality has several components: temperament, environment, and character. Temperament is the set of genetically determined traits that determine the child's approach to the world and how the child learns about the world. There are no genes that specify personality traits, but some genes do control the development of the nervous system, which in turn controls behavior.

A second component of personality comes from adaptive patterns related to a child's specific environment. Most psychologists agree that these two factors—temperament and environment—influence the development of a person's personality the most. Temperament, with its dependence on genetic factors, is sometimes referred to as "nature," while the environmental factors are called "nurture."

While there is still controversy as to which factor ranks higher in affecting personality development, all experts agree that high-quality parenting plays a critical role in the development of a child's personality. When parents understand how their child responds to certain situations, they can anticipate issues that might be problematic for their child. They can prepare the child for the situation or in some cases they may avoid a potentially difficult situation altogether. Parents who know how to adapt their parenting approach to the particular temperament of their child can best provide guidance and ensure the successful development of their child's personality.

Finally, the third component of personality is character—the set of emotional, cognitive, and behavioral patterns learned from experience that determines how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. A person's character continues to evolve throughout life, although much depends on inborn traits and early experiences. Character is also dependent on a person's moral development.

In 1956, psychiatrist Erik Erikson provided an insightful description as to how personality develops based on his extensive experience in psychotherapy with children and adolescents from low, upper, and middle-class backgrounds. According to Erikson, the socialization process of an individual consists of eight phases, each one accompanied by a "psychosocial crisis" that must be solved if the person is to manage the next and subsequent phases satisfactorily. The stages significantly influence personality development, with five of them occurring during infancy, childhood, and adolescence.


During the first two years of life, an infant goes through the first stage: Learning Basic Trust or Mistrust (Hope). Well-nurtured and loved, the infant develops trust and security and a basic optimism. Badly handled, the infant becomes insecure and learns "basic mistrust."


The second stage occurs during early childhood, between about 18 months to two years and three to four years of age. It deals with Learning Autonomy or Shame (Will). Well-parented, the child emerges from this stage with self-confidence, elated with his or her newly found control. The early part of this stage can also include stormy tantrums, stubbornness, and negativism, depending on the child's temperament.


The third stage occurs during the "play age," or the later preschool years from about three to entry into formal school. The developing child goes through Learning Initiative or Guilt (Purpose). The child learns to use imagination; to broaden skills through active play and fantasy; to cooperate with others; and to lead as well as to follow. If unsuccessful, the child becomes fearful, is unable to join groups, and harbors guilty feelings. The child depends excessively on adults and is restricted both in the development of play skills and in imagination.

School Age

The fourth stage, Learning Industry or Inferiority (Competence), occurs during school age, up to and possibly including junior high school. The child learns to master more formal skills:

At this stage, the need for self-discipline increases every year. The child who, because of his or her successful passage through earlier stages, is trusting, autonomous, and full of initiative, will quickly learn to be industrious. However, the mistrusting child will doubt the future and will feel inferior.


The fifth stage, Learning Identity or Identity Diffusion (Fidelity), occurs during adolescence from age 13 or 14. Maturity starts developing during this time; the young person acquires self-certainty as opposed to self-doubt and experiments with different constructive roles rather than adopting a negative identity, such as delinquency. The well-adjusted adolescent actually looks forward to achievement, and, in later adolescence, clear sexual identity is established. The adolescent seeks leadership (someone to inspire him or her), and gradually develops a set of ideals to live by.

The Child Development Institute (CDI) rightfully points out that very little knowledge is available on the type of specific environment that will result, for example, in traits of trust being more developed in a person's personality. Helping the child through the various stages of emotional and personality development is a complex and difficult task. Searching for the best ways of accomplishing this task accounts for most of the research carried out in the field of child development today.

Renowned psychologist Carl Rogers emphasized how childhood experiences affect personality development. Many psychologists believe that there are certain critical periods in personality development—periods when the child will be more sensitive to certain environmental factors. Most experts believe that a child's experiences in the family are important for his or her personality development, although not exactly as described by Erikson's stages, but in good agreement with the importance of how a child's needs should to be met in the family environment. For example, children who are toilet trained too early or have their toilet training carried out too strictly may become rebellious. Another example is shown by children who learn appropriate behavior to their sex lives when there is a good relationship with their same-sex parent.

Another environmental factor of importance is culture. Researchers comparing cultural groups for specific personality types have found some important differences. For example, Northern European countries and the United States have individualistic cultures that put more emphasis on individual needs and accomplishments. In contrast, Asian, African, Central American, and South American countries are characterized more by community-centered cultures that focus on belonging to a larger group, such as a family, or nation. In these cultures, cooperation is considered a more important value than competitiveness, which will necessarily affect personality development.

Common Problems

Infants who are just a few weeks old display differences between each other in how active they are, how responsive they are to change, and how irritable they are. Some infants cry constantly while others seem happy and stay fairly quiet. Child development research conducted by the CDI has identified nine temperamental traits that may contribute to a child's personality development being challenging or difficult:

Temperamental traits are enduring personality characteristics that are neither "good" nor "bad." Early on, parents can work with the child's temperamental traits rather than oppose them. Later, as the child grows up, parents can help the child to adapt to his or her own world in spite of inborn temperament.

Parental Concerns

Most children experience healthy personality development. However, some parents worry as to whether their infant, child, or teenager has a personality disorder. Parents are usually the first to recognize that their child has a problem with emotions or behaviors that may point to a personality disorder.

Children with personality disorders have great difficulty dealing with other people. They tend to be inflexible, rigid, and unable to respond to the changes and normal stresses of life and find it very difficult to participate in social activities. When these characteristics are present in a child to an extreme, when they are persistent and when they interfere with healthy development, a diagnostic evaluation with a licensed physician or mental health professional is recommended.

When to Call the Doctor

Parents who suspect that their child has a personality disorder should seek professional help. It is a very important first step in knowing for sure whether there is a disorder, and if so, what treatment can best help the child. Child and adolescent psychiatrists are trained to help parents sort out whether their child's personality development is normal.

See also Bonding; Cognitive development; Temperament.

(Article by: Monique Laberge, Ph.D. from

Personality means characteristics and appearance of a person - pattern of thought, feeling , behaviour, communication ability and physical features . A child inherits many personality traits from its parents. Personality of a person takes its basic formation in the beginning period of childhood. Its experiences in the family and the society are very crucial. Friends, teachers and the environment of school have their own positive or negative impact. Adults need to be very careful while rearing a child because deep scars on the psychology of a child may have permanent marks. To develop positive thinking in the child parents must relate to each other in a positive way.

With the help of good training a child or an adult can learn communication skills, different subjects, driving or computer operating. Similarly a training in personality development enhances the general as well as unique traits (characteristics which differentiate one from others) of a person. A teacher of personality development helps a person to get positive thought pattern, gain confidence, improve behaviour, learn better communication and develop a healthy physique.


Everyone is influenced by an attractive personality. And without influencing others you can’t get success in today’s competitive world. Therefore the importance of personality development has risen very much. These days every good public school is careful about the personality development of its students.

Some years ago nobody gave any importance to personality development in India. Emphasis was given only on physical appearance and expertise in work. But now the time has changed. It is an age of competition and economic revolution. Although opportunities of progress are everywhere yet a student has to work very hard to climb the stairs of a brilliant career. The person having a good personality can move through the difficulties with more confidence.

Many people still think that personality is related to physical appearance of a person. If a person is well-built and wearing a good dress it is said that he/she is having a good personality. But it is not a rational approach. In case the inner personality of a person is weak he/she will lose impact as soon as he/she speaks or behaves. Such a person fails to create a lasting impression on others. Rising in career graph becomes a very difficult task. Therefore both inner and outer personality of a person should be strengthened.


In their best-selling publication ‘Born to Win’ well-known psychologists Muriel & Dorothy have written that a man is basically born to win. But due to negligence our winning potential doesn’t grow to the best of its capacity. Mostly people develop their personality according to the expectation of others therefore they are unable to shine their unique traits. Therefore we need to break the barrier and rise bravely with our originality and uniqueness. Only then one can transform an ordinary personality into an impressive one.

Previously it was thought that every person lived his or her whole life according to the personality script written in childhood. To change it was almost impossible. But after years of research and practical applications the man has progressed in the science of personality transformation. With the help of simple methods now anybody can develop a winning personality and change his or her future. Here are seven simple ways to give a dynamic touch to your personality:-


If you sit in the boat of life without knowing your destination you will become the slave of circumstances and other people. Your progress or development will totally depend on your luck. The wind of circumstances will push the boat to any direction - you won’t have any control on anything. And you will rarely be able to make things happen. You may even be crushed by the competition forced upon you by other people. To change this scenario you need to set an aim for your life. It is true that a person has several aims in life but to decide about chief aim is essential to make good progress. When you have an aim it is like a destination - you can chart your route, plan your action and formulate strategies to reach their at a speed. The personality of such a person automatically get a sort of charisma - developed by his driving force.


Knowledge is power. Nobody is impressed with a person who doesn’t even know what is happening around or in the world. He is considered a fool whom no wise man or woman would like to befriend or follow. Therefore it is necessary to enrich your general knowledge. And you should be the master of the field in which you are working. To update your general knowledge: a) read newspaper, b) watch informative programs on TV, c) read good & popular books, d) interact (interrelate, communicate) with intelligent persons.


A look of confidence on your face impresses everybody. If you walk with a feeling of failure and frustration on your face people will shun away from you. Even if you are facing difficulties and worries in your life you must know how to think and look positive. Shake hands with others firmly. While shaking hands or talking make an eye contact with others. Speak less and with conviction. Such simple actions will maintain your confidence. Your self-confidence can not only conquer the mountains of difficulties but also the interview boards.


Most of the successful persons maintain a unique style in speaking. They speak clearly and forcefully. Be careful that you have a good command on the language you speak. Don’t make grammatical mistakes else you may become a laughing stock. If necessary take training from a good teacher. Give extra care to your pronunciation. Speaking power is an essential trait of any good personality.


A smartly dressed-up person is admired everywhere. By observing successful people in any field, marketing, business, movies, media etc., you will come to the conclusion that most of the successful persons in almost every field have a keen taste for good dresses. Good dresses also prove a stimulus for the wearer. He feels more confident and relaxed. There is a joyful glow on his face. His handshake is more confident. A bad dress always invokes inferiority complex. No good company hires a shabbily dressed person today.


A body burdened with this or that disease may win pity of others but it is very difficulty for that person to maintain attraction in his personality for a long time. A healthy and smart look is absolutely essential to attract others. And if you work on it you can easily attain it. Take exercise regularly, play games or go for a morning walk - whatever suits your body and psychology. Eat balanced diet. It will strengthen the immune system of your body - keeping you healthy and fit for action.


A man is generally a creature of his habits. With bad habits you may become a sheer nuisance for others. Then how will you impress them? Cleanliness, punctuality, completing your works on time, fulfilling your promises, having sincerity and dedication to work, listening others properly, keeping yourself away from smoking and drinking - are the habits which add sparkle and dynamism to your personality. They endear you to the people.

You should also be friendly and polite while dealing with others. You won’t be able to impress the people with an attitude of arrogance. If people feel uncomfortable in your presence it is a sign that you need to improve your behaviour. Others must feel easy while approaching or talking to you.

CEO: News of India Network
Director: LSE-India (for Communication
Skills and Personality Development)

Trained thousands of persons to get great jobs, improve personality and achieve goals in business.



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American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). 3615 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Washington, DC. 20016–3007. (202) 966–7300. Web site:

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). 141 Northwest Point Boulevard, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007–1098. (847) 434–4000. Web site:

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Web Sites

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