Only a generation ago, newborns were widely regarded as “blank slates” neutral little bundles of life whose personalities would be shaped solely by the way their parents raised them. It is true that the way you nurture your child has a major impact on his personality, but doctors now acknowledge what experienced mothers have known all along – that nature also plays an undeniable role. Children are born with many personal traits already in place- some no doubt inherited, others possibly caused by experiences in the womb or during child birth. While it is not known exactly how these inborn characteristics come about, it is clear that they produce a surprising variety of infant behavior. Even identical twins, like the pair at right, can be physically indistinguishable and yet reveal distinctly different behavioral patterns and responses to the world. Fussy or calm, jumpy or cuddly, alert or aloof- such variations are quite normal and no cause for alarm.
At the same time, a child’s individual nature should not simply be ignored. Babies with different personalities have different sets of infant may bring woe to another. Some babies, for example, like to sit propped up amid the social bustle of the kitchen or the family room, while others need more sedate surroundings and far less stimulation. By recognizing and understand your child’s individual traits you can provide the kind of care that will help him to thrive.