Parents don’t influence just our looks and beliefs, they also play a role in shaping our personality. Everything from paying us too little attention to being overly protective can all impact the people we become.
Mothers typically get the blame for the insecurities and character flaws of their children, but a 2012 study suggested that fathers actually shape their children’s personality more than mothers. According to the research, children are likely to pay more attention to the parent in their lives which they perceive as having higher interpersonal power or prestige. In most cases, the parent who holds the most power is the father, not the mother.
Rejection by parents, especially the “high power parent” is linked to anxious, insecure, and hostile personalities, and increases the likeliness for the individual to show aggression towards others. In addition, early parental rejection could permanently stunt an individual's ability to form secure relationships with others.
"The great emphasis on mothers and mothering in America has led to an inappropriate tendency to blame mothers for children's behavior problems and maladjustment when, in fact, fathers are often more implicated than mothers in the development of problems such as these," co-author Ronald Rohner of the University of Connecticut said in a statement.
Mother May I?
While a mother’s role in shaping our personality may be smaller than a fathers, it’s still important. For example, mothers may have a significant effect on their daughters' self esteem. A 2015 study suggested that the way mothers talk about personal weight concerns with teen daughters can promote an unhealthy drive for thinness which could last a lifetime. In addition, mothers who encourage daughters to diet without talking about their own weight concerns might make daughters feel more isolated and in turn worse about their bodies.
"Direct maternal encouragement of daughters to lose weight is linked to daughters' development of bulimic symptoms, and additional findings indicate that daughters whose mothers merely talk about dieting and body dissatisfaction are more likely to be diagnosed with an eating disorder," explained study author Erin. E Hillard, a developmental psychology doctoral student at the University of Notre Dame, in a statement.
Of course, our parents do not only negatively shape our personalities, they can also shape them for the better. For example, simply spending time with your parents can help individuals develop better social skills and higher confidence. This positive effect on a child’s personality was especially strong if this they spent time with their father, as opposed to their mother.
On the other hand, too much praise and attention is linked to the development of narcissistic personalities. According to Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University, who recently studied the effect of praise on children, in a statement: "Children believe it when their parents tell them that they are more special than others. That may not be good for them or for society. Rather than raising self-esteem, overvaluing practices may inadvertently raise levels of narcissism."
In addition, overprotective parents can inadvertently cause their children to develop anxious neurotic personality qualities , so it’s best to find a middle ground between being attentive and suffocating.
Fathers, More than Mothers, Shape a Child's Personality: Read Here
Spending Time With Parents Boosts Social Skills and Confidence in Teens: Read Here