7 personality differences between people who were read to as children and those who weren’t

by Tina Fey | December 29, 2023, 11:28 pm

Did you know that the act of reading to a child can subtly shape various aspects of personality development?

Growing up, one of my most cherished memories is of being nestled beside my parents as they read stories to me.

The sound of their voices, the turn of each page, and the vivid worlds that unfolded before my eyes – these moments were more than just bedtime rituals.

They were the building blocks of my imagination and personality.

Not everyone, however, had this experience.

Below I’ve highlighted seven personality differences between people who were read to as children and those who weren’t.

1) Heightened emotional intelligence

Consider your childhood experiences right now.

The stories your parents read to you weren’t merely tales. They were emotional journeys, expressed through the nuances of language.

Each character, each twist and turn, subtly teaching you about empathy, resilience, love, and loss.

All by yourself, you were developing emotional intelligence.

For those who were read to, these narrative experiences often translate into a heightened emotional intelligence in adulthood.

This early exposure to a range of emotions through stories helps them better recognize and respond to these emotions in real life.

In contrast, individuals who weren’t given these narrative experiences might not have had the same opportunity.

Growing up with stories can, therefore, be seen as an early exercise in emotional intelligence:

One that equips individuals with the ability to empathize, understand, and connect on a deeper level with the world and people around them.

2) Increased creativity

Let’s think about this for a moment:

Is heightened creativity always a positive outcome?

For those who were immersed in a world of stories and imagination as children, their creativity is often off the charts.

They’ve been exposed to diverse worlds, scenarios, and characters, sparking a vivid imagination that can think outside the box.

However, here’s the catch.

Sometimes, this boundless creativity isn’t always practical in the structured confines of everyday life or certain career paths.

It can lead to a feeling of being misunderstood or out of place when creative ideas don’t align with conventional norms.

On the flip side, individuals who weren’t read to might find it easier to adapt to structured, less creative environments.

They may approach problems more linearly, which, in certain contexts, can be more advantageous.

It’s a fascinating paradox – the very trait that can make one person feel alive and inspired can be the same trait that makes another feel isolated or constrained.

3) Greater appreciation of solitude

This was an interesting one for me to grasp.

“Being alone” often carries a negative connotation in our society, right?

But the reality is that solitude can be a source of peace and personal growth.

Believe it or not, this understanding often stems from experiences in childhood.

Let’s delve into this.

Reflect on your own moments of solitude as a child.

Maybe it was sitting alone in your room, engrossed in an enchanting storybook.

The characters become your companions, the plot twists your adventures.

As a result, you were learning to appreciate solitude.

If you’re going to be an emotionally balanced adult, it’s crucial to accept that solitude isn’t scary or pitiful.

You’re simply enjoying your own company.

It’s important to discard the societal stigma that equates solitude with loneliness.

It doesn’t.

Your experiences define your perception of solitude, and they are most impactful when they occur without conscious realization.

4) Stronger connection with the natural world

This one is a little bit more personal to me.

As a child, my parents read countless books about animals, forests, and adventures in the great outdoors to me.

My mother’s voice echoed with the rustling of trees as she narrated stories of brave animals and enchanted woods.

When I grew up, I’ve noticed this has had a profound impact on my connection with nature.

In fact, today I find myself seeking solace in the serenity of forests or the rhythmic crashing of waves against the shore.

Sounds like you?

Then you probably realize that it’s not just about finding peace.

Reading those stories as a child also instilled a deep respect for nature within me.

I understood from a tender age that we’re all part of this incredible ecosystem, and we need to protect it.

I know that being read nature-focused stories as a child might seem trivial to some.

But for me, it was a defining aspect of my upbringing that continues to shape my actions today.

5) A deeper understanding of cultural diversity

Did you know that the stories read to children often serve as their first window into cultures beyond their own?

Children who were read to often get an early peek into different cultures through stories.

These books introduce them to various traditions, lifestyles, and perspectives from around the world.

This early exposure can lead to a deeper appreciation for cultural diversity as they grow up.

For example, a child who has listened to stories set in different countries may grow up with a broader understanding and curiosity about the world.

They’re likely to be more open to new experiences and different ways of life.

On the other hand, those who weren’t exposed to such stories might not have this early insight into diverse cultures.

While they can learn about cultural diversity later in life, children who were read to often have a head start in understanding and valuing the rich variety of the world’s cultures.

6) Enhanced communication skills

It’s generally accepted that being read to as a child bolsters communication skills.

The exposure to rich language, varied sentence structures, and expressive dialogue certainly sharpens linguistic abilities.

But here’s something less acknowledged:

Sometimes, enhanced communication skills can lead to feelings of isolation.

People who were read to as children often develop a deep appreciation for articulate conversation and meaningful interaction.

They tend to value depth and substance in their exchanges.

But guess what?

Sometimes this makes it hard for them to find peace in a world that often values brevity and speed over quality of communication.

This isn’t to suggest that having strong communication skills is disadvantageous.

Quite the opposite.

But it does highlight the importance of adapting these skills to various situations

Understanding this allows us to navigate our interpersonal relationships more effectively.

7) Struggling with practicality

Here’s something you might not expect:

Children who were frequently read to might develop a tendency to prioritize imagination and creativity over practicality.

Immersed in worlds where solutions often come from magical or unconventional means, these children can grow up believing that there’s always a creative way out of any situation.

This imaginative approach, while valuable, can sometimes clash with the practical demands of the real world.

How so?

Well, these individuals might find themselves dreaming big and thinking outside the box.

But at times, they struggle with mundane, everyday tasks that require a more straightforward, practical approach.

In contrast, those who weren’t regularly read to as children might develop a more pragmatic view of the world.

It’s an intriguing balance – the magic of imagination versus the grounding of practicality.

Both are essential in their own right, but the scales might tip differently depending on those early childhood experiences with books and stories.

Unlocking the pages of personality

As we close this chapter, it’s clear that the tales and stories read to us in childhood do more than just lull us to sleep — they weave intricate patterns in the tapestry of our personalities.

To further enhance our understanding, here’s a small list of additional traits often influenced by childhood reading experiences:

  • Exposure to different story scenarios can enhance one’s ability to adapt to new situations.
  • Being read to develops attentive listening, a skill that translates into better communication in adulthood.
  • Stories often present problems and solutions, helping develop critical thinking skills.

Whether you were whisked away on literary adventures as a child or not, the stories we encounter play a pivotal role in shaping various facets of our personalities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *