Mothers value outgoing personalities in their children above intelligence, new research finds.
Apparently, Mom prefers a little show-off to a smarty-pants!
Dr Sophie von Stumm, study co-author, said:
“Given that higher levels of intelligence and conscientiousness are both linked to positive life outcomes such as success at school, at work, and in relationships, it’s surprising that only 1 in 10 mothers valued them as the most important characteristics for their child.”
The results come from a survey of 142 mothers of young babies in the UK.
Over half chose extraversion as the top trait they desired in their children.
Dr von Stumm said:
“While extraversion can have many benefits it is also associated with negative behaviours in adulthood, such as higher alcohol consumption and illegal drug use.
Understanding how mothers view personality is vital as their values influence their parenting and, through this, how their child’s personality traits develop.”
Agreeableness was the second most-desired personality trait for their children, followed by openness to experience, intelligence and conscientiousness.
Unsurprisingly, no mother wanted a neurotic baby.
Dr Rachel Latham, the study’s first author, said:
“We focused on the views of mothers, as they typically spend more time with their children than fathers, but it would be useful to examine the personality values of fathers too.
It would also be interesting to examine if mothers’ preference for extraversion changes over time as children grow older and enter formal education.
“In the long run we hope studies such as these can help us to understand how parents’ values shape a child’s personality and how this impacts on how children develop and learn and their future health, happiness, and success.”
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The study was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences (Latham & von Stumm, 2017).