Personality Formation in Action:An Observation of a Toddler Who Wants to Interact with Othersbut is Ignored
Jane F. Gilgun, Ph.D., LICSW
We often wonder why we are the way we are. This article gives some hints. So much of what forms our personalities happens when we are very young and our brains have not matured enough to store memories. Furthermore, we don’t have the wisdom to interpret life events until we are older.This article reports on an observation I made in a public park of a toddler boy who persistently tried to interact with others and was rebuffed almost every time. No one had time for him. I don’t know how multiple rejections will affect him, but his experiences on this sunny summer day are now encoded in his brain circuits and will affect his expectations about howother people view him.
IT WAS A BRIGHT SUNNY DAY
in a county park. A large group of people, rangingin age from 91 years to 23 months, had gathered for a family reunion. The women and the older family members sat at tables in the shade of a pavilion with cold drinks in front of them, whileabout 11 children, nine boys and two girls, played games with their parents, almost all fathers,with one grandmother. The children ranged in age from 23 months to about eight.I noticed Liam [not his real name] right away because he was the youngest. He had blonde hair with straight bangs, chunky legs, baggy blue denim shorts that hung below his knees, blue plastic sandals, and a read tee shirt with
in navy blue letters across his chest.