All parents dwell on the future if their offspring as soon as the child starts walking. The kids are not even able to speak yet. They are slowly recognizing the world around and learning the basics of life. It will be a long process before they start choosing hobbies or even a future job. However, most parents are already sure of it. So what is he or she going to become?
Your little one starts clapping hands and shuffling to the rhythm of the sound of music; of course there are no doubts that it has a musical ear. It has a sense of rhythm and a fantastic sense of music so it would most certainly become a composer. A why not even a new Mozart?
It keeps singing? It could become a singer one day. A four year old clever preschool little boy, very agile and able to move well “He’ll be good at sports, he has a talent for it.“ a parent draws attention of a friend who came to visit and they also add “what sport should be good for him, what sport would he be good at..?”
If the friend lightly suggests if it isn’t too early to recognize a big talent; parents readily shake their heads saying convinced „it’s obvious”. But can you really recognize it? Are we able to guess if our child, who is not even at school yet, has talent for a specific thing? Where is the certainty that parents would be right?
‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s….’
It is not just a question of the future job. Parents are ready, on the bases of child’s behavior, to judge its personal characteristics. A little girl likes her reflection in the mirror; she keeps trying on mummy’s’ clothes, puts secretly mums lipstick on? She’d be very fancy. She refuses to put on the clothes that you’ve prepared; she has to pick her own? I hope she won’t be so vain and stubborn.
A boy looks in the mirror rather too often? Hopefully he won’t be too feminine; it’s a hope of many parents. Is he defiant, aggressive or keeps breaking his toys? He could become abusive…parent don’t even want to hear that that is possible, they quickly turn and say “he just have a wild temper he is hyperactive (commonly used term nowadays) – he’ll grow out of it and will calm down. Sometimes this privy judgment is laughable.
About a year ago we were talking with one of my friends about kids in general and Caroline, the mother of four-year-old Valentine, started to describe excitedly how her young daughter has a big interest in cosmetic, she spins her body in front of the mirror, and when they get to the shops she darts towards the combs and the hair pins section… I need to add that Caroline has a degree in art history and even though her relationship to fashion isn’t too bad, it is not the drive of her life. So the interest of her daughter is hard to grasp and she also suggested that she is slightly worried about it.
A football player or an architect…..?
“If she were to play with my lipstick only sometimes it’ll be ok, I suppose” she explained “but it is actually her favorite activity to put make up on her dolls then wash them and start again” “What will become of her!”; “She’ll be a cosmetician” said another friend. “A cosmetician? I have nothing against that but I was hoping for her to have other hobbies and to study, I really hope she’ll go to university…” with a sigh, Caroline ended the thought. “I am also hoping my son will go to university” Lilly, a mother of five year-old David, mouthed. “Of course I leave it up to him, but to study architecture would be great for him. He draws lovely pictures, he might like it. Even his art teacher told me so, he has a talent. But my husband keeps saying that he is very good a kicking a ball about, well I haven’t noticed; god knows what plans does he have with him?” Lilly adds with a smile. “He doesn’t even hit it sometimes and I haven’t noticed that he actually enjoys it. I think he’ll be the quiet type, less noticeable than most boys.” And she closed the discussion with “he might even surprise us all”.
Actually it can easily happen. “Although something can be read from the behavior patterns of a small child the majority is many a time interpreted wrongly by the adults on fallacious conclusion” Says a psychologist Serge Ciccotti.
One of the reasons why parents see their children more or less distortedly are their own ambitions. Their own dreams, desires and activities are reflected in the plans for their children and if they are not able to recognize this they will push their kids towards something that the child cannot comprehend.
It is more common in parents who are very ambitious and tend to see their offspring more talented than it possibly is. If the child doesn’t progress according to its parent expectancy the parent becomes disappointed and shows his or her disappointment to it or that it should work harder or that it is too weak to carry on doing it.
I can simply explain it by the following: Parents will find the talent which they want to find. It does not depend on the possibility that the child may not have any inclination in that direction.
I can reach for Lilly’s example, whose husband found a big football talent in their five year-old David: About a year later she said:” It took some doing to convince my husband that our son doesn’t really like football. He kept telling me that he’ll get used to it. But finally he agreed with me that we cannot make him to be happy among lively little football players.”
Of course this is the more positive result. However some parents are not able to come to the conclusion that they could have made a mistake in judging and that they are the only people who can see it even if others cannot. Another reason why we see our kids a little distortedly is little knowledge.
Even if we don’t put our ambition onto a child we take absolutely natural expressions like the signs of future character. Surely you have heard a sentence similar to this one “If he is this naughty already, how will he behave when he grows up?” or “So little and she keeps smiling at men, she might become a flirt. She’ll have every one wrapped round her finger…”
The genes and the environment
Can we actually tell how will our child turn out? Partly, yes. Although we come to this world not fully equipped we all have particular genetic picture which forms us somehow. Scientists suggest that some psychological characteristics develop almost the same not depending on positive or less positive environment. It is mostly relevant to temper.
From a meditative, calm, closed little observer will never become a choleric that needs to be seen and ‘uses its elbows’ to show its mark. Of course the environmental influence, such as family, friends, school peers, is also very strong. We are born with a particular temper but how we’ll react to life’s issues forms throughout our life.
Dean Hammer and Peter Copeland, the authors of ‘Living with our genes’ book, are adamant that although the environment co-form our personality it is predominantly our genetic code that is decisive in our future, where or what environment we are going be comfortable in. For example a calm and thoughtful child who likes drawing or reading will not be looking for a noisy company.
He or she will be looking for an environment where he finds similar interests in others which at the end will affect his attitude. A very active, lively child will certainly be looking for energetic environment where he can lose some of its energy and it will also eventually form its personality. The environment where we feel comfortable in can give us some positive but also negative experience and those experiences are forming us as we progress in our life.
Many types of characters
“The temper is not fully formed at birth” the authors of Living with our genes explain. “Newborn develops its particular temper like a reflection to its environment, The genes predetermine not only the type of character they also affect our choice of future environment, they manipulate our thought towards picking up the right ‘place’ which will then affect us certain way to behave according to our experience.
Newborn does not come to this world with a complete set of human emotions; throughout our life only the chosen one will have the benefits of being able to express all kind of emotions. We also learn to control our temper while constantly learning but not like a phone number but on the bases of feeling.
The origins of these reactions lie in the chemical processes of our brain in the evolutionally oldest part – the limbic system. This system is responsible for the emotional behavior, how people feel, for the spontaneous reactions, fight and flight mechanism and feelings which are far beyond our consciousness.
Deep within the limbic system lies the roots of fear, aggression, last or happiness. If everybody would have the same genes making up the profile of limbic system they would experience the same things or would have the same characteristics. Each limbic system is different, similarly to our genes.
The experiences we live through vary because we are in a world of many possibilities. No two people, even identical twins brought up in the same environment, cannot share the same experience. This is the particular reason for the character to have its own dimension and an infinitive image.
David Hammer adds: “It isn’t just the nature or just the up-bringing, it is the nature and the up-bringing combined.” What kind of experience your child is going to have, at least up to the school age, depends heavily on you. If you would like your child to have an interest in something particular, and develop in that area, the best way is to be an example and give it those experiences in which its interest will rise and not the opposite. Forget your own ambitions. Let your child have its own journey through its life. It is especially up to him/her what is he/she going to become…