Sep 172018
How big is your Personality?

Teenage years are a challenging time not only for parents but also teenagers. The extensively long 7 years of your life, is nothing like childhood, where you are your parents’ pet. But neither is it like adulthood, where you take life by the girdle.

It’s different and can be difficult on many. Sometimes you are applauded for your independence and sometimes you’re not. The awkward beard and hair growth alongside your trivial arguments with your parents may make teenage life seem dreadful, but that’s just one part of it.

There’s a whole different side to teen years that we tend to overlook. All of a sudden there’s this rapid maturational and psychological change that occurs. You start to set your own individual societal expectations. Manage your conflicting role, as well as the complex relations with the opposite sex. And what not. And these are absolutely nothing but they still help you express, learn and experiment with the opportunities around you.

According to several longitudinal pieces of research, meaningful changes occur in our personality during this prime stage of our lives. Our personality becomes a culmination of our innate characteristics(nature) as well as the influence of surroundings(nurture).

This natural separation or the constant need for independence is not a unique process that started recently. In fact, it’s been embedded in our biological system and passed down through generations. These turning points of individualism impact teenagers to build their self-esteem and work on building a more independent thought process and belief system.

But little do people know, that what happens in our teenage life stabilizes our personality into 5 core aspects.

Researchers have explored the medium of OCEAN among teenagers and have discovered that although personality is dynamic among individuals and can change over a period, these five personality traits are relatively stable over the course of our adulthood.

The Big 5 personality trait or OCEAN describes that our personality is broken down into Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.

  • Openness

Features characteristics where an individual exhibits creativity and insight. Some individuals tend to be adventurous and focus on tackling challenges. Whilst, on the other hand, some struggle with abstract thinking and are quite traditional with their behavior.

  • Conscientiousness

Includes high levels of thoughtfulness and being goal-directed. And on the other hand, there are those who tend to procrastinate with their tasks.

  • Extraversion

This category is an informal characteristic of being a social animal. Individuals are either outgoing and assertive. Whereas, on the other pole of the stick is introversion where people are more reserved and are careful with what they speak.

  • Agreeableness

Includes attributes such as trust, altruism and other prosocial behaviors. And those on the other end of the pole are competitive and maybe manipulative.

  • Neuroticism

Individuals can be characterized by moodiness and emotional instability. Individuals who are high in this trait tend to face mood swings and worry easily about different things. Whereas those low in this trait are emotionally stable and can deal with stress easily.

Hence, these five aspects are not only universal but are also attached to our biological origins. It makes up to how one will behave at a social gathering or to what extend they are willing to trust someone.

The relationships that teenagers build with their friends and siblings may not affect their personality. Teenagers choose their own traits to follow. Thus breaking the social stigma of being completely swayed by the personality shifts in their friends.

For instance, a teenager may be peer pressured into smoking, but that doesn’t make that his ultimate habit.

Elders need to focus on embedding the belief systems of the teenagers rather than their own beliefs. Family also play an important role in enhancing a teenager’s experiences.

Constant support and positive reinforcement may drive the child to be willing to experiment with different roles, later in life.

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