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How Relationship Develops Personality?

Science describes personality in different ways and how different relationships influence the development of personality. One of the most accepted definitions is “a pattern of unique traits that give individuality to a person’s behavior”. These characteristics influence our behavior and set us apart from other individuals. You can observe entirely different personalities around you, some are uptight while others are fun and delightful, and it all comes back to your childhood. Depending on the household you grew up in as some of you may cringe at the thought while others may look starry-eyed as they grow nostalgic. Different factors influence those behaviors; among them one is relationships. 

You can’t avoid some relationships like your parents and siblings as they are your blood relations. So the relationship with family is very important as it influences how the child has been brought up along with the family background and its traditions, the environment at home, etc. Different relationships predominate in different phases of an individual’s life and have an impact on personality development accordingly. In childhood relationships with the parents and siblings have the strongest influence, then in adolescence, it shifts towards peers, and then in young adults’ relationships with romantic partners have a great influence on personality development. 

According to studies personality development through different stages of life comprise of continuous ongoing interaction of 

  • Temperament: 

It is the individual’s approach towards the world i.e., how he sees the world either in a positive or in a negative way

  • Character

It is the set of emotional and cognitive patterns that an individual learns from experiences. It continues to evolve throughout life as it greatly depends on early experiences and depends on a person’s moral development. 

  • Environment 

It depends on adaptive patterns related to a specific environment that includes the norms, traditions, society, or relationships with family and peers.

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Stages of Personality Development

Personality development is not a simple process, in fact it a complicated process that keeps on changing in different phases of your life according to life events and circumstances. Every relationship has a particular life span in an individual’s life during which it affects his personality utmost.

  • Infancy 

Studies show that the first two years of an infant are very important in personality development. Well nurtured and loved infant develops to have confident personality while mishandled infant becomes insecure 

  • Toddlerhood

This is the age between 18 months to 3 years and this part brings tantrums, stubbornness, and negativism so it is important to deal with children patiently and try to build a very friendly relationship with them.

  • Preschool 

It is between three years of age to the formal entry into school and at this stage, the child depends excessively on adults as they start learning processes.

  • School-age 

It’s the age up to high school and it is influenced not only by relationship with family but also by peers thus peers in this age play an important role in personality development.

  • Adolescence 

The age where maturity starts developing and the person acquires self-certainty. Other than family and peers, a relationship with a romantic partner also has an impact on personality development at this stage.

Influence of Relationship on Personality 

One of the most influential aspects is the social context i.e., your relationship with others that influence personality development. Most important is the relationship with family, peers, and romantic partners that are considered as quantitative and qualitative characteristics of society that influence personality development. 

Here are a few examples of how different relationships influence personality development

Relationship with parents

One of the most important relationships is between parents and children. If the parents are sensitive towards their children, they will develop confidence in them, and on the other hand, in case of inconsistency and neglectful care, children become insecure. If your parents are highly strict you may grow up to be codependent. In some cases, mothers are overbearing like they used to pick out every outfit for you or an inflexible father who made you practice more sports than hanging out with your friends. Even if they mean well, helicopter parenting has some harmful effects on your personality. One of the worst side effects is you become codependent and rely on your partner to take care of the chores and have trouble adapting to work life. 

If your parents micromanage you, you are more likely to develop depression thus depression is also a damaging side effect of authoritarian parenting. Instead of listening to you or nurturing you to learn from your mistakes, they often force decisions onto you, even ones that make you unhappy. This can lead to feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem which you in adulthood manifesting into depression. 

Different studies show the impact of your relationship with your parents on your personality. If you were spanked as a child, you may become a sneaker as an adult. In many countries, spanking your child is now illegal as it seems to be physical abuse. Depending upon the severity of spanking it has harmful side effects ranging from academic problems to health-related. When a child has parents who are alcoholics or drug addicts, they never had the opportunity to let loose in how fun. Instead they had to grow faster than the other children and take care of household responsibilities. On the other hand, some children may adopt the habit of their parents which can manifest into depression, anxiety, and feelings of worthlessness. 

If you have a close relationship with your father, you are more likely to enter healthier relationships. When you can feel the love of your parents and learn to be patient with them you are more likely to do the same for your partners and family. 

Relationship with Siblings 

You can’t choose your brothers and sisters but you can learn from them. Your relationship with them influences your personality as they are your first friendships, your first fights, and your first makeups. A healthy relationship with siblings’ can have a very positive impact on one’s personality while on the other hand, an unhealthy relationship can ruin the personality. There are different types of sibling relationships like in the case of the healthy sibling relationship in which siblings are treated equally by the parents and they share the bond of mutual understanding and comfort. 

Golden child and scapegoat are the type of siblings that grow up with a parent who is a narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath. The golden child is the parent’s favorite because they mirror their values, beliefs, and habits. Since the parents lack empathy themselves the golden child does too. They were never yelled at or punished for treating others with the same cruelty so they assume it’s correct behavior and it affects their personality. Unlike the golden child, the scapegoat learns to question the parents’ black and white thinking, refusing to follow their illusions. He becomes rebellious and seeks perspectives other than what their parents enforce. He learns to be empathetic because whenever they challenge the parents’ thinking, they are reprimanded and told to be more understanding. 

  • Peer relationship 

Social interactions with age fellows having similar skills and interests provoke the development of many social skills like managing conflict that proves to be very valuable in the future. It is important as at this phase children learn to initiate and maintain social interactions. But it is also a very critical phase of life as you can’t differentiate very well between the good or bad company so this relationship can be very challenging or supportive. 

Many children don’t get peer acceptance and that rejection can lead to aggressive personality with many behavioral problems while on the other hand peer acceptance is an important source of affirmation and self-esteem. With growing age, there is evidence of increased cases of bullying and peer victimization.  So your relationship with peers can either give you self confidence or behavioral problems thus has a great impact on the personality development 

  • Relationship with Partner 

A relationship with a romantic partner also influences your personality development greatly. As most of the main events like finding the special one, moving in together and marrying occur in early adulthood thus it leaves an impact on the way the person feels, behaves, and thinks.  On the other hand, the struggle of finding a stable relationship remains up to midlife so it is a continuous process that starts from young adulthood to middle age. Romantic relationships are linked with personality maturation leading to more emotionally stable individuals. 

Social relationships can influence a person’s stable patterns of feeling, thinking, and behaving. Normal or healthy relationships have proved to trigger personality maturation and the quality of relationships like family and romantic partners have a more lasting impact on the individual. Quantitative changes like the addition of some friends, romantic partners and the birth of the child also influence stability, conscientiousness as well as self-esteem. On the other hand, spoiled or unhealthy relationships have a very negative impact on personality. 

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