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4 ways in which childhood influences your personality

4 ways in which childhood influences your personality

July 12, 2024

Our minds are not rigid like stone, but they are defined by constantly evolving. But this process does not simply depend on our age (the fact of accumulating years of life) but on the experiences we went through, what we experienced in the first person. In psychology, the separation between the person and the environment in which he lives, in psychology, is something artificial, a differentiation that exists in theory because it helps to understand things, but in reality it is not there.

This is especially noticeable in the influence that our childhoods have on the personality that defines us when we reach adulthood. As much as we tend to believe that what we do we do it because "we are like this" and that's it, the truth is that both the habits and the ways of interpreting the reality that we adopted in our childhood will have an important effect on our way of thinking and feel once past adolescence.


  • Related article: "Differences between personality, temperament and character"

This is how our childhood influences the development of personality

The personality of a human being is that which summarizes their behavior patterns when interpreting reality, analyzing their feelings and making their own some habits and not others. That is, what makes us behave in a certain way, easy to distinguish from others.

But the personality does not emerge from our minds without , as if its existence had nothing to do with what surrounds us. On the contrary, the personality of each one of us is a combination of genes and experiences learned (most of them not in a classroom of school or university, of course). And childhood is, precisely, the vital stage in which we learn the most and in which each of these lessons is more important.


Thus, what we experience during the first years leaves an imprint on us, a mark that will not necessarily always remain with the same form, but which will have a determining importance in the development of our way of being and relating. In what way does this happen? Fundamentally, through the processes that you can see below.

1. The importance of attachment

From the first months of life, the way in which we experience attachment or not with a mother or father It is something that marks us.

In fact, one of the most important discoveries in the area of ‚Äč‚ÄčEvolutionary Psychology is that without moments of caresses, direct physical contact and visual contact, children grow up with serious cognitive, affective and behavioral problems. We not only need food, security and shelter; we also need love at all costs. And that is why what we might call "toxic families" are such harmful environments in which to grow.


Of course, the degree to which we receive or not experiences related to attachment is a matter of degrees. Between the total absence of physical contact and pampering and the optimal amount of these elements there is a wide scale of grays, which makes possible psychological problems that may appear are milder or more severe, depending on each case.

Thus, the most serious cases can generate serious mental delays or even death (if there is constant sensory and cognitive deprivation), while milder problems in the relationship with parents, mothers or caregivers can cause that, in childhood and in adulthood, we become rude, afraid to relate .

  • Related article: "The Theory of Attachment and the bond between parents and children"

2. Attribution styles

The way in which others teach us to judge ourselves during childhood also greatly influences the self-esteem and self-concept that we internalize in adulthood. For example, fathers or mothers with tendency to judge us cruelly they will make us believe that all the good that happens to us is the cause of luck or the behavior of others, while the bad happens because of our insufficient abilities.

  • Perhaps you are interested: "Theories of causal attribution: definition and authors"

3. The theory of the just world

From small we are taught to believe in the idea that good is rewarded and evil is punished. This principle is useful to guide us in our development of morality and teach us some basic patterns of behavior, but it is dangerous if we literally believe in this, that is, if we assume that it is a kind of real karma, a logic that governs the cosmos itself regardless of what we create or what we do.

If we believe fervently in this earthly karma, this can lead us to think that unfortunate people are because they did something to deserve it, or that the luckiest are also because they have made merit for it. It is a bias that predisposes us towards individualism and lack of solidarity , as well as to deny the collective causes of phenomena such as poverty and to believe in "mentalities that make us rich".

Thus, the theory of the just world, paradoxical as it may seem, predisposes us towards a personality based on cognitive rigidity , the tendency to reject what goes beyond the norms that must be applied individually.

  • Related article: "Fair World Theory: do we have what we deserve?"

4. Personal relationships with strangers

In childhood everything is very delicate: in a second, everything can go wrong, due to our ignorance about the world, and our public image can suffer from all kinds of mistakes. Bearing in mind that in a school class the difference in months of age among the students makes them have much more experience than others, this can create inequalities and clear asymmetries.

As a consequence, if for some reason we become accustomed to fearing interactions with others, our lack of social skills can cause us to start to fear relationships with strangers, leading us to a personality type based on avoidance and the preference for experiences linked to what is already known, which is not new.


How Your Childhood Affects Your Love Styles (July 2024).


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