Parents may spend a lot of time trying to guess how your kid's traits will translate to adulthood later on. Is your life-of-the-party toddler guaranteed to grow into an outgoing, personable adult? In many cases, having certain personality traits as a child seems to predict someone's personality as an adult. For some people, those traits appear to show up early and never leave.
And for the most part, child care experts can back up this idea. "Children's personality traits are often strong predictors of future adult behaviors," says Alix Strickland Frénoy, autism expert and parenting coach, who runs the website and membership community for autism parents, Special Learning House. It does seem like some kids are just born with their personality intact from day one.
That said, an individual's personality is not necessarily set in stone, even in adulthood. "It is important to note though that environment can also have an impact on behaviors and there is always room for personal growth," says Frénoy. So if you're concerned about certain personality traits in your kids (or even yourself), there's still plenty of time to grow and change. But for the most part, personality traits like the ones listed below do seem to show up very early in a person's life.
If your kid is a natural Chatty Cathy, then this may mean something positive for their future personality. "We know that children who are talkative and verbally expressive tend to be more confident as adults," says Frénoy. It's (almost) worth listening to your kid rattle on about Baby Shark for hours on end.
Kids who are able to go with the flow from a young age may also find that this trait leads to positive things later in life. "Those children who are adaptable as kids tends to be better adjusted, happier adults," says Frénoy. It looks like that ability to be flexible starts at an early age for many people.
Maybe some people really are born leaders. "It is fascinating to observe how in a group of toddlers there are children who take on more leadership type roles in the group, whereas others tend to follow more naturally. This is likely to continue into adulthood," says Frénoy.
4. Introversion Or Extroversion
A person's tendency toward introversion or extroversion may also show up at a very young age. "These traits are in our personality structures and they do not change in adulthood," says Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist, author of The Self-Aware Parent, and regular expert child psychologist on The Doctors and CBS TV.
Granted, most kids are at least a little bit impulsive. But some show this tendency more than others, and it isn't necessarily a bad thing. "A child who is impulsive will often display this as an adult through being generally talkative and partaking in a wide range of interests and hobbies," says Adina Mahalli (MSW), a certified mental health professional writing on behalf of Maple Holistics. Your super spontaneous toddler may grow up to be a super interesting adult.
Kids who are pretty humble may carry some of these traits into adulthood as well. "Children that have a tendency to self-minimize are more likely to express guilt as adults and have a general sense of insecurity about themselves," says Mahalli. If you're concerned, there are plenty of ways to help your child become more confident, as explained in Romper. Although some personality traits are more likely to continue into adulthood, there's always a chance to grow and develop as well.