The environment influences personality development in individuals so it is important that we take care to choose the positive aspects and avoid the negatives. From the time when a child is born into the world, the environment in which he or she is raised influences their personality and this continues all through life. The culture and traditions of the immediate environment has a way of affecting the choices and lifestyles of individuals. The decision lies with the individual to choose what they allow into their lives.
It is said that an individual's behaviour is directly related to the type of environment that he or she is. An environment where things are done right will most likely produce good behaviour and lifestyle in a person while one where things are done carelessly will produce abnormal or in appropriate behaviour.
Several researches carried out have shown that the environment affects us in no small measure. Let us take some examples here. The first one was published in the journal Science in October 2008 and involved hot and cold cups of coffee. Some students were asked to hold a cup of coffee in their hands for a few seconds before reading an information pack about a hypothetical person and then assess the character of the person. The students who held a hot cup of coffee were significantly more likely to describe the hypothetical individual as warm and friendly that the other students who had held an iced cup of coffee. The immediate
environment of their hands had affected their subconscious mind and even though they had all read the same information about the imaginary individual, their responses were influenced by the suggestion from the 'environment.'
Another study in which students were exposed to certain environmental triggers that planted in their minds the pattern for 'old' and 'frail' such as sitting with a professor in an office surrounded by pictures of very old people with words like gray, infirm, weak, old, slow, tired being used by the professor and written on posters and leaflets scattered all around the room. It was observed that when allowed to leave the room, they tended to walk out of the office at a slower rate than when they arrived. Those who were exposed to patterns of 'youth', 'vitality' and 'energy' walked out of the office faster than they arrived.
This makes it clear that the environment affects and forms our behaviour and personality development.
Environmental Influences from ChildhoodWhen I mention the environment, it includes both internal and external environmental influences. Right from the time a baby is in the mother's womb, there are several influences exist that affect its nature, behaviour, growth and development. At the various stages of its development, the child is exposed to different environments in the womb which all have some effect on it, and this can be positive or negative. For example, defects such as hormonal over or under-secretion may cause congenital deformities in the child. As the embryo grows, it is surrounded by what is called amniotic fluid and this creates a new environment. This fluid provides the fetus with warmth and protection against danger. The mother is connected to the baby through the umbilical cord through which the baby receives nourishment. So, you can see that we are all affected in one way or the other by the environment where we are.
After a period of 9 months, the baby is born into the world and is introduced into an entirely new environment. In this new environment, there is an entirely different set of culture and values that the child would be introduced to. The family in which the child is born has a lot to do in terms of how the personality of that child will develop.
The genes or biological nature of the family also
has some effect on some aspects of an individual's personality.
Social Environmental InfluencesParents, siblings, peers and and teachers all have roles to play in shaping the personality of the child.
Parents influence: The type of environment our parents create for us affects personality development. The right parenting style would help build confidence in the child and a determination to excel in life. Parents who are critical of their children impact on them negatively. It is necessary for parents to show love and care to their children regularly as this would have a very positive impact on their emotional stability and life in general. They should adopt an appropriate method of instilling discipline in their children and this should be done in a way that the child takes correction and does not grow to become rebellious. The environment in the home should be regulated by parents. The home should be an enjoyable place for children and time should be created for the family to discuss and have fun together. Children should also not be allowed too much time watching television or playing video games as this can have a negative effect on their lives.
Siblings Influence: A child who has siblings in the family will also be affected by the relationship that exists between them. If they have developed a friendship with each other, each child would naturally grow up with a good disposition to other people and would find it easy making friends. Competition sometimes exists between siblings but this can have a positive effect if parents are able to guide them properly. In this way, sibling rivalry does not pose a problem.
Peer Influence: The type of friends a child keeps in his early years and the ones they make as they grow older ultimately affects the personality that they eventually end up with. Parents should ensure that the children move with the right crowd because this is a major factor which causes individuals miss their way in life. Peer influence can have a terribly negative effect in later life.
Religious Influence: The type of religion the family embraces also has its influences on the child. This may be positive or negative. Religion is a personal matter so as the child grows, he is free to choose what religion he wants to follow.