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Nurturing Your Baby's Unique Personality

by Allison Hutton |
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Many people may wonder if babies really do have a personality of their own, and if so, when it can be identified.

To those who don't spend regular time with your baby, his or her personality my not be evident at first. But, as mom or dad can assure you, the little one does have a personality, and it can be seen from birth. I firmly believe that you can even get a sense of your baby's personality while he or she is still in the womb. Of course, I will use my daughter for many examples. After all, she is my favorite subject, and the experiences with her are still fresh in my mind. When I was pregnant with Hannah, I knew she was going to be handful of sassiness, and I was right on the money! With the baby I am carrying now, I feel that he is going to be mellow and contentI guess we'll see if I am "2 for 2" in a week or so!

From the moment Hannah was born, she was stubborn, and knew exactly what she did or didn't want. And she made it quite clear to whomever was around her. She did not want a pacifier, under any circumstances, and she didn't care for sleeping in her bassinet. This carried over to the bassinet at home, as well as her crib. Everyone had advice on how to get her to sleep in her crib, and nothing worked. My mother was sure she could do it (as all Grandmother's are), and failed miserably. Hannah wanted to be in bed with me, and that's where she was (and still is) content. I have every intention of getting our new arrival to sleep in a crib, but we must wait and see.

Even though these tiny creatures seem so helpless, they do have charm, charisma, a mind of their own, and more. To sit back and watch how babies interact with the world around them is an amazing thing. They are like little sponges, taking in everything around them. So, how do we help them express their personality? Do they need help doing this? Maybe your little one has some personality traits that need "tweaking." For instance, Hannah is a social butterfly. She loves people, and craves being wherever there are large groups of them. But recently, when we took a tour of the hospital, where I will be delivering our son, she was so obnoxious I nearly cried from embarrassment. There were other couples there with small children, and they all behaved. Hannah screamed like the end of the world was coming. My husband had to take her away from the rest of the group, so we were able to hear what the guide was telling us. However, no matter how far Dan took her away, her shrieks and squeals could be heard. I don't believe she was being "bad" per se, but rather expressing her discontent with having to be still and quiet-two traits that my daughter does not possess. So, is it our fault for taking her to the tour with us? Or is it her fault for not knowing how to behave? I believe there is no fault. After all, Hannah is only 21 months old, and just learning how to express herself verbally, and physically interact with the world and people around her.

The last thing I want to do is change the personality my daughter was born with. Although she can be quite a handful and difficult to keep up with, I wouldn't change her for the world. All of the characteristics and traits she possesses make her the little person that she is. Yes, I will continue to teach her what she may and may not do. But, I will not try to break her spirit. The "undesirable" (for lack of a better word) qualities she possesses now will, with the right nurturing, become assets to her in the future. What some may consider "aggressive" now may become "assertive" later. Stubborn may become self-assured. The key is to identify these traits, see them in a positive way, and learn how to nurture them. An overly energetic child, for example, should not be told to sit in a chair, when all s/he longs for is active play. If keeping up with your child is an overwhelming task, take the little one to a playgroup, or to the park, where s/he can interact with other little people who are just as energetic.

I truly believe that you will begin to notice the traits your child possesses from very early on. By identifying them early, you will have time to prepare ways to nurture them, once your tiny person becomes better able to express themselves.

Allison is a contributing writer for Baby Corner as well Editor of Pregnancy after Miscarriage at Suite 101.
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