Stages of Personality development

 Definition of Personality

Personality refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. The study of personality focuses on two broad areas: One is understanding individual differences in particular personality characteristics, such as sociability or irritability. The other is understanding how the various parts of a person come together as a whole (APA).

Personality is combination of behaviors and attitudes that make a person a distinctive and unique person from others, and a behavior, attitudes of a person Personality is recognizable soon after the birth. A person personality has composed of several components: environment, behavior and character. Temperament is the set of genetically determined traits of person personality that determine his approach to the world and how that person learns. In humans the genes do not specify personality traits, although some genes control the development process of the nervous system, which controls some behaviors.
The second component that contributes to personality of a person comes from specific environment. Most of the psychologists agreed on two factors that play a vital role in personality development are: temperament and environment, these two factors influence the development of a person's personality. Temperament dependence is on genetic factors, it is referred to as "nature," while the environmental is called "nurture."
The controversy is still there that what affect the personality development more, but majority experts agree that good parenting plays an important role in the development of a child's personality. With good parenting approach to a particular temperament of a child, with best provided guidance and they can ensure the successful development of their child's personality.
The third important component of personality development is character which is a set of emotional, cognitive, and behavioral patterns learned from experiences which determines the personality of a person. How a person thinks, behaves and feels. The character of a person’s continuously evolved throughout his life. Character is also dependent on a person's moral development.
Multiple Theories in Psychology
There are multiple theories that exist on the personality development in psychology. But the three main theories that influence personality development are heredity, environment, and situation.
Heredity refers to the influences on a personality that person born with it. It is in the genes of a person and no one can bring much change to these traits. They could be included in the temperament, which determine how a person reacts to situations. In child it may affect how well they get along with others children. Genetics also determines someone looks.
environment is the most influential and nurturing aspect of a person life. It is the type of environment which determined most of the personality traits. Environment of a person include home, school, playgrounds, community, work, or other places that he spend his time. Environmental factors also include languages, religion, etc.
 The experiences that an individual person faces in his life. The various experiences that person confront will leave imprints on his personality and helps him in the development of his personality.  The "situations" includes everything from happiness, sorrow, divorce, and trauma fits into the categories shaping one's personality.
People are the "product of their environment." means that their personality has been greatly influenced by the environment in which they live, born with particular traits and situation they.
In the first two years the infant learning include Basic Trust or Mistrust.  Loved ones and well-nurtured infant develops trust and badly handled infant develops "basic mistrust."
This is the second stage occurs in early childhood, between 18 months to four years of age. This is the stage of Learning Autonomy or Shame. Good environment and parenting help the child and he emerges from this stage with self-confidence and control. There may be some stubbornness, and negativism, depending on the child's temperament.
The third stage occurs from about three to entry into formal school. In this stage the developing child goes through Learning Initiative or Guilt. The child use to learn through imagination and broaden his skills through play games and fantasy, to cooperate with others. The child depends excessively on adults.
School age
In the fourth stage, the learning occurs during school age. The child learns and develops more formal skills:
  • Learn to obey rules
  • Learns to play by rules and which requires teamwork
  • learning reading, arithmetic and basic intellectual skills
At this stage, the child learns self-discipline and became trusting, autonomous, and learns to be industrious. However, the mistrusting child will feel inferior and doubtful about the future.
The fifth stage, starts from the age 13 or 14, this the time of maturity; the young person acquires self-confidence as opposed to self-doubt. The well-adjusted adolescent looks for achievement at this age.
Common problems
Infants show different behaviors after few weeks from each other, some are more active, some are more responsive, and some are more irritable. Some infants will cry constantly while some seem happy and stay quiet. Temperamental traits;
  • The level of activity in child
  • distractibility ; the child do not  pay attention when he not interested
  • intensity of the child, he is loud
  • sensory threshold; the child is too sensitive to physical stimuli: smell, touch, light taste and sound or not
  • approach /withdrawal: the responses of a child to a new situation, it is approach or withdrawal from the situation
  • adaptability: the child adapts new to the environment  or new activity
  • persistence: the child is persistence or give up easily

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AACAP and David Pruitt. Your Adolescent: Emotional, Behavioral, and Cognitive Development from Early Adolescence through the Teen Years. New York: Harper Collins, 1999.
Allen, Bem P. Personality Theories: Development, Growth, and Diversity. Harlow, UK: Allyn & Bacon, 2002.
Berger, Elizabeth. Raising Children With Character: Parents, Trust, and the Development of Personal Integrity. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1999.
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