Understanding Our Personality Through Childhood

Our behaviors as children show our unique personality

Photo Credit : Scott Higdon on Unsplash

Growing up, we could all be categorized as inhibited or uninhibited children–but does that mean that children should be treated differently? Not necessarily, and being inhibited or uninhibited isn’t right or wrong. There are pros and cons to both, and whether we are inhibited or uninhibited can affect our personality.

Someone’s level of inhibition can be a standard indicator that someone if someone is more introverted or extroverted.

Will that child be more likely to engage in the activities at the museum or cower in fear at the dinosaur displays? Whatever that child naturally feels towards a new situation, their unique personality shows through.

On the other hand, uninhibited children will behave in a manner that is the exact opposite of a child who is inhibited. Uninhibited children will be more likely to engage in new stimuli (interaction with new friends, unfamiliar aspects of their environment, new situations, etc.)

It’s important to understand that whether a child is inhibited or uninhibited will significantly influence how they interact with the world around them. A child’s inhibition can heavily dictate whether they are introverted or extroverted. These characteristics fall under what is commonly referred to as a person’s personality.

Inhibited children will show more anxiety, fear, and potentially distressing behavior when faced with unfamiliar situations. Inhibited children aren’t likely to engage in conversation with a new classmate or may fear interacting with their environment in places they are not familiar with.

From a child’s perspective, many new experiences may seem scary for them — an unfamiliar place like going to the museum on a school field trip or a scary and exhilarating experience like going on a rollercoaster for the first time. Whatever the case may be, a child will have a reaction to these events.


As our brain and body develop throughout childhood, so does our personality. Personality is integral to how we define ourselves and how it influences our behavior. As demonstrated through numerous twin and adoption studies, research has estimated that around 30–60% of our personality is inherited through our genetics.

But, as we go through life, our personality is also molded by our experiences. The nature vs. nurture debate can come into play regarding how our personality is developed throughout life.

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What really shapes our personality to become who we are? Are we born with a set personality, or does the world shape us? The truth is our personalities can both be shaped by our environment and influenced by genetics.

Personality can be defined as traits, likes/dislikes, values, ambition, self-perception, and patterns of behavior and emotions. Our personality can be understood in many ways. Still, the most common term you may have heard for how our personality manifests is whether someone is an introvert or extrovert.

Introverts are more likely to focus on their internal feelings. At the same time, extroverts are likely to focus on external sources of stimulation Whether someone is an inhibited child or an uninhibited child can help determine whether they will be an introvert or extrovert.

Inhibition boils down to someone’s degree of approach motivation (also known as fearlessness) to new people, places, objects, or situations. Someone that is uninhibited would be more likely to engage in novel situations. In fact, uninhibited children can be observed to spontaneously engage with new stimuli in their world.

The experience of being either introverted or extroverted or falling somewhere in between helps shape the traits that define our personality.

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