B.F Skinner one of the most influential psychologists of this century stated, ‘‘Give me any child and I will shape him or her into anything; a doctor, a business man, a pastor or even a thief.’’ This may sound unbelievable but it points to the fact that parents, teachers and government play a very important role in the development of children.
Apart from basic instincts like crying, feeding and movement, a child is literally born with a blank mind which you may call a blank page. It is the environment that writes on this page either good or bad things which make up the personality of the individual.
The foundation for personality is laid between the ages of 2 and 5 years. This period is called the critical period and after this, a lot of effort will be needed to change the behavior of an individual since behavior involves changes in the brain. Parents should therefore understand that it is the foundations that they lay that teachers build upon. It is therefore obvious that if foundation is weak, “the house will collapse” and to blame the school for the behavior of your child is like expecting a very strong foundation, which may of course require breaking the old foundation, something which is impossible because you cannot reform a child like a flash disk. Let me take you through the personality position adopted by children based on their upbringing;
Am worthless, you are worthless. Here a child feels that he is not good and no other person is good either. It is developed by children who are ignored, neglected and abandoned by their parents. The parents show little interest in them, do not criticize or praise them so the children start feeling they are unwanted, undesirable and useless. They start to develop a poor self-image about themselves and other children also adopt this position when they are criticized for almost everything whether good or bad.
Am worthless, you are priceless. Here a child feels I am not good, others are good. It is developed by children who get negative remarks, critics, ridicule and punishment from their parents during childhood. They develop inferiority complex and always seek approval from others. They feel helpless and try to run away from people, problems and responsibilities. They consider themselves unlucky and adopt complaining with withdrawing, avoiding procrastination and sulking behavior.
I have a price; you have a price. Here a child feels I am good and others are good. This attitude is developed by children who are encouraged, praised and appreciated by their parents. Such children understand their capabilities and limitations and those of others. They believe in interdependence and not in dependence or independence. They believe in win-win position. They love responsibilities and rights and can say yes or no to others with equal ease. This is the best personality one can adopt.