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How to Understand and Support Your Child’s Core Personality

Updated on May 22, 2008
Photo: destinelee,Flickr
Photo: destinelee,Flickr

As parents we are in a unique position to help our children answer the basic human question who am I? I've recently learned about yet another parenting style, or philosophy. It's called Nurture the Nature - and it draws on developments in brain, genetic, and personality sciences to help parents guide their children to feeling connected to who they are and their core nature.

This approach helps parents (as well as teachers and other caregivers) guide childrens to develop gifts, skills, talents, as well as to survive and even thrive despite their failures. The whole philosophy is based on an ever-chaning understanding of who the child is, in other words - what is the child's core personality.

Personality and Genetics

According to Michael Gurian, family therapist, New York Times bestselling author, and co-founder of the Gurian Institute, brain research proves that we are born with at least seven aspects of our unique selves:

  • personality traits
  • gender traits
  • talent areas
  • learning styles
  • mood and behavior patterns
  • stress responses
  • emotional and relational styles

That sure takes the pressure off us parents! He's saying that children are not blank slates at birth. This is contrary to the research of thirty, twenty, even ten years ago when researchers assumed that nurture and socialization were 90 percent of what makes children into the adults they become. Today's research reveals that at least 50 percent of the child's future is inborn. This outlook changes the fundamental parenting from a perspective of molding the child into what the world requires, to one of nurturing the nature of the child to be successful in the world.

Ways to Discover Your Child's Core Personality

While parents are in the best position to observe their own children, they many in fact be too close. It doesn't hurt to embark on a plan of gathering data from others in your child's life to help you specifically identify your child's key interests and strengths. Come up with a list of questions like the ones listed below and start to gather answers. You could also begin to keep a journal, noting the things that especially interest or invigorate your child.

  • What do you see as [child]'s strongest personality traits?
  • Is he or she more extroverted or introverted?
  • What are his or her natural gifts?
  • How do you notice that he or she relates to people?
  • What are the strengths of his or her personality?

It can be helpful to work with a list of personality traits so that you can be as specific as possible.


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