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john65pennington's avatar

Is your child's personality set for life at the first grade?

Asked by john65pennington (29192points) August 8th, 2010

A forty year study has reveiled that a children’s personality is established at the 1st through the 4th grades. that children that talk excessively are more intelligent, than other children. this study took place in Hawaii. i have doubts about this study, since i started talking excessively, in the first grade and my IQ is only 136. and, my wife states i have not stopped talking, yet. so, what’s your opinion? Question: do you believe a child’s personality is “set for life” at the first grade of school as reported by this study?

Source: Yahoo News!

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9 Answers

MissAusten's avatar

It always seemed to me that personalities don’t change much even from birth. A child’s habits and behaviors are, of course, strongly influenced by what he or she experiences, but I can’t think of any child (or person) I’ve known whose personality has changed. If you have a shy, fearful two year old, odds are you’ll have a shy, fearful third grader. Maybe a bit less so, as he or she learns to adapt to situations or learns ways to deal with shyness and fears, but it’s highly unlikely (in my opinion) that a child who has been shy and quiet from birth will, by early childhood, transform into a child who is outgoing and adventurous.

As for the talking, there will always be exceptions to studies like the one you described. It’s the difference between anecdotal evidence and a larger sampling. For example, many studies have shown that breastfed babies are significantly less likely than formula fed babies to die of SIDS. That doesn’t mean breastfed babies never die from SIDS. So while in general kids who talk a lot tend to have higher IQs, that won’t be true in all cases. My daughter has been a nonstop talker since before her first birthday. Her IQ just falls into the gifted range. There’s an anecdote that agrees with the study you mentioned.

john65pennington's avatar

MissAusten. i agree with everything you stated in your answer. john

NormanL's avatar

I read that and find it hard to believe. I know for a fact that I do not fit this mold.

Aster's avatar

Some things may be set but your personality changes throughout life, does it not?

Coloma's avatar

It’s hard to say, always exceptions with everything.

My daughter has changed little from her early childhood.

She has inherited my artisitc and verbal abilities but is also more emotionally reserved like her father.

A perfect computerized blend I think. lol

I would say though, that personally, those I know that are very talkative, humorous, animated, analytically inclined, with strong verbal mastery do seem to have an intellectual, intelligence edge, myself included.

I have read that that these traits often do fall into the more gifted catagories.

But, all intelligence is subjective, I have great expression, strong verbal ability, artistc, creative energies but…I am woefully bereft in advanced math concepts and comprehension. lol

I might be able to zing the witticisms and decorate a house creatively, but…don’t ask me to be your book keeper! haha


I have a sister that was a non stop talker, very outgoing, and friendly. She is and has been about as smart as a brick wall most of her life. I was very shy, and fearful as a child. I spent most of my time reading, drawing, and hanging around my mom, valedictorian of her graduating class. My personality has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. I am quite outgoing and communicative now. A total 180 turn around.

DominicX's avatar

Only 136? You do realize that an IQ of 140 or above is considered a genius and only about 2% of the population has an IQ over 130.

Although this is nice to hear, because the way my parents tell it, I wouldn’t shut up as a little kid. :)

Buttonstc's avatar

Yeah John, what’s up with the only 136 stuff. You very likely could qualify for Mensa :)

But the essence of your Q is hard to define precisely. This is the old ” Nature vs. Nurture” debate.

I know from experience teaching third grade that not everything is set by first grade by a long shot.

There is also a difference between personality and behavior. A fearful child definitely can be taught better skills to overcome their natural tendency and will most likely be better at coping with life than a child whose parents did not focus on that type of training. It is not going to reverse their basic tendency but rather modify it.

Anyone with sufficient motivation can change their behavior patterns at any age. That doesn’t mean it happens easily but it is certainly possible.

There have been some interesting studies done on people with an extreme need to participate in daredevil type of activities.

This becomes especially problematic in the teen years when they begin aping stunts on YouTube emulating the Jackass TV programs.

Some have been permanently crippled or died as a result. And there are some who are drawn like a magnet to that stuff and it seems to have a lot to do with brain chemistry.

Parents of kids like that are at their wit’s end trying to deal with it. The best advice seems to be to first recognize it as an integral part of their personality. It won’t go away, but can be managed with better judgement and appropriate skills.

Helping them find an activity or sport that fulfills this need, while channeling it with some training and boundaries works better than simply banning them and hoping they aren’t sneaking behind your back.

They may even end up becoming an X-games champion or a race car driver or test pilot.

The main point being that this seems to be a genuine need they have for the adrenaline high of risky behavior that will carry into adulthood. Best to acknowledge it and find a channel for it. There will still be above average risk to their choice but at least they will learn some skills to minimize the risk.

So, behavior and personality are separate issues. Behavior can always be modified.

downtide's avatar

Aside from traumatic experiences, mental illness and head injuries, yes I believe that the majority of personality traits are fixed by this age.

And I wish my IQ was as high as 136.

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