Most parents are unaware consciously and unconsciously that they create children who are like themselves or their spouses. They are also unaware that their children are as unbalanced in their personalities as they, the parents, are.
Each child’s personality is set by age two to three. So, how can parents alter their children’s personalities when they become set so early in life? It can only come about if parents can actually see and understand consciously what is not conscious. For this they will need the help of a good psychotherapist.
The first job is to help parents understand their own and their child’s personalities and how they are skewed one way or another. The aggressive three-year-old who bites everyone when he gets angry is very different from the three-year-old who is shy and restrained behaviorally and emotionally, sitting on the sidelines in preschool, reluctant to participate in circle time or even to say what he needs.
The next task is to undo the way the child behaves. Expect and enforce the aggressive child’s not behaving with biting. This requires parental effort and tenacity because at first their child will be very unruly.
Welcome the shy, restrained child into the daily program at preschool and encourage spontaneity, and his saying what he wants. Data must be gathered about how the parents are relating to the child at home because this is where the child learns to relate with and behave toward others.
No doubt at home some subtle or overt permission is given to the aggressive child to be the way he is. One of the parents may be verbally or physically aggressive at home. Likewise, the shy child has learned to be shy in the home environment. One parent may be reticent because the other parent is a bully. So the child may be like the shy parent.
All of the family will have to change their ways of relating to successfully induce balance in the children. Assertiveness and reticence must be tempered by the knowledge of the appropriate time and place for expressing each behavior and emotion.
Are your children well-balanced? When you were a child how balanced were you with your behaviors and emotions?