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How the environment affects child development

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

How the environment affects child development

Adults are no more than grown up children. The way a child's personality is developed affects his entire life and that's why the best way to understand an adult is to know more about his childhood. (see How childhood experiences affect adulthood)

Now the question is, how the personality of a child is developed?
In my previous article do genes affect personality i said that genes have a slight impact on the development of the personality.

No one can deny the effect of genes on the development of a child's personality but on the other hand studies of the personalities of twins, who develop different personalities in most cases, have provided clues that there are other factors that are more important than the environment the child grows in that directly affects the development of his personality.

External environment, the child's inner logic and personality development

So is the external environment the major factor that affects the development of personality?

Again the answer is no, if the answer was yes then all siblings who were raised in the same environment would have developed the same personality. (see also How birth order affects the personality)

So what really affects the child's personality?
Its how his inner logic and creativity interacts with the external environment and his genes.

Two children could believe that they are not getting enough attention from their parents because of a new born sibling in the family who took the attention from them.

The difference between their private logic is what's going to determine the way their personality will develop. One of them might start to become an achiever in order to get attention in a positive way while the other might start to become a problem child for the same exact purpose.

The way a child sees reality and evaluates it according to his private logic has the greatest impact on the development of his personality.

How environmental factors constrain personality development

While environmental factors are not the only factor that shapes the personality of a child still they constrain the way he develops his personality to a big extent.

The child has to find the best way that can help him adapt with the changes in the environment he is living in so that he becomes mentally healthy.

Some children adapt in a positive way by doing useful things while others adapt in a negative way by achieving the same goals in a harmful method. Both a cop and a criminal can have the same goal of feeling superior and in control but the first achieves that goal in a way that helps the society while the second achieves that goal in a destructive way. (see also The psychology of criminals)

So the final answer to the question is: The child deals creatively with his environment in order to come up with the best personality that will help him achieve psychological balance.

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Want to know more?

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How psychological problems develop

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