From stomach bugs to swear words, your kid can bring a lot of stuff home from school that you’d rather not deal with. Now a study recently published by the American Psychological Association suggests that they could also be catching positive personalities from other children as well. So not everything they bring home is cause for inoculation.
Researchers followed 2 preschool classrooms and focused on 3 key aspects of temperament: Positive emotionality (a type of extraversion), negative emotionality (a predictor of anxiousness), and effortful control (an indicator of the willingness to work hard). Over the course of a year, preschoolers’ levels of positive emotionality and effortful control changed to match their playmates.
It must be noted that the sample size was relatively small (52 participants) and the kids were more prone to playing with kids who had similar temperaments. Still, negative emotionality was not seen as similarly contagious, and that’s great news if your kid is already hanging out with goths. If anything, your youngster’s sunny disposition will rub off on them.
As Emily Durbin, psychology professor and co-author of the study, explained, parents spend a lot of time trying to teach their kids positive personality traits like patience and how to be a good listener. But the research points out that children aren’t looking for these cues from adults, perhaps because they’re getting them from their peers instead. “It turns out that 3- and 4-year-olds are being change-agents,” Durbin said.
[H/T] Eureka Alert