My mum is forever saying ‘You’re just like your father’ to me. Sometimes it’s complementary, referring to my super organisational skills, and sometimes it’s not, meaning that I’m sensitive and a little bit fussy. Okay, a lot fussy!
I’ve often wondered if my own kids take personality characteristics from my husband and me. It’s very odd because they are so different from each other.
My daughter has similar character traits to both of us; she’s kind, generous, loving, emotionally intelligent and cautious. We have no idea where she gets her anxiety from (my husband’s mother we’re guessing) but we can clearly see that she’s quite similar in her thoughts and behaviour to ether one or both of us.
My son however, is a bit of a hedonist. If there’s no benefit or gain for him in completing a task or doing something, he just won’t want to do it. He will argue until he’s blue in the face and can be quite defiant. We have both been a little surprised by his behaviour in the past, and I’m not going to lie, I’ve sometimes found it very challenging – and sometimes very upsetting.
But he can be very loving and thoughtful and, when he’s ‘in the right mood’, it’s a real pleasure being in his company.
So my husband and I have often wondered how we have raised two kids exactly the same, but yet they are so different from each other. Are these personality traits inherited? Is it in their genes? Or are they influenced by other external factors beyond our control?
The proof is in the pudding
Interestingly, I came across a new study by Red Bull TV which claims to unveil the personality traits you inherit from mum and dad. According to the research, virtues such as honesty, integrity and tolerance are most likely to come from mothers while courage, laziness and a good sense of direction come from fathers.
And while mothers are most likely to be responsible for passing down traits including kindness, reliability and good organisational skills, fathers are likely to be behind your temper, wit and potty mouth.
It also emerged that more than half of the 2,000 adults polled share the same interests and hobbies as at least one of their parents, and 22% said that, as a child, they wanted to follow in their parents’ footsteps.
Well that’s true with my daughter; she likes writing, is creative and aspires to be an author (I’m a journalist), while my son as it turns out has a bit of a flair for languages (my husband is a language teacher). However, he doesn’t aspire to be a teacher; he wants to be a famous YouTuber apparently, even though he never uploads any videos.
One in four of those surveyed also said they have used their parents’ success as a benchmark for their own success, with 42% saying they consider their mother or father to be their hero.
Mmmh, I don’t think we’ll ever be ‘heroes’ in the eyes of our kids, but we do our best in raising them with manners, working hard and encouraging them to have other interests rather than just staring at screens, the latter of which is probably the most challenging for my generation.
Another interesting insight from the study revealed that people’s reaction to comments about the likeness varies with age, with people becoming prouder and less embarrassed by the comparisons as they get older – 32% of 18-24-year-olds say comments about being like their parents leave them feeling proud compared to 36% of over 55s.
And while 16% of under 25s feel embarrassment, just 6% of over 55s feel the same. But 41% wish they had more traits from their parents, with women more likely to be told they are like a parent than men.
Traits most likely to come from Fathers
A love of sport
Sense of adventure
Sense of direction
Sense of humour
Your favourite football team
Traits most likely to come from Mothers
A love of music
Tastes for food
Tendency to worry
Your musical taste
Zest for life
What do you think of the research? Do you see echoes of your own personality traits in your kids?