Your newborn’s birth weight may tell you what kind of person he or she will be later in life.
A new study out of the United Kingdom found that one’s birth weight may be associated with certain personality types. In fact, underweight babies in general were at risk of having “socially withdrawn personalities,” according to The Independent.
Those babies who were born very underweight or prematurely were also more likely to have autistic features or be more anxious and shy, according to The Independent. Adults who were born at 3.3 pounds at birth were more likely to be neurotic and introverted, according to The Independent.
“Pre-term adults showed significantly higher signs of being neurotic, easily worried, less socially engaged and having lower levels of conscientiousness and closeness to others,” The Independent reported.
To find this, researchers surveyed 200 people in Germany who were born underweight or very small. The researchers then compared those numbers with 197 people who were at normal weight during birth or were carried for the full length of a pregnancy, The Independent reported.
These findings, the researchers noted, could be because of childhood experiences and environmental factors, too. But the research fits with previous findings from 2008 that found those who were born with extremely low weights were more likely to avoid risk, be timid and act shy, according to Modern Medicine.
Still, as the researchers of the 2015 study noted, findings about one’s weight and personality can help parents understand why their child may have career and educational difficulties, according to Medical Daily.
The researchers “suggest parents work with their children as soon as possible to encourage them to develop social skills and so compensate for potentially negative personality characteristics,” Medical Daily reported.
Luckily for parents, there’s research out there on how to help their child become more social. One method, as I wrote about earlier this week, requires parents (mostly mothers) to talk to their child through regular conversation.
Parents may also want to plan for the long-term when looking to make their child more social by outlining certain social milestones — like when the child starts making friends or playing with groups — to keep their child on track with true social behavior, according to the Child Development Institute (CDI).
Similarly, parents should reach out to other parents to set up playdates for their child, according to the CDI. And if things continue to progress, parents should set up an overnight stay at a friend’s house. Keeping track will help children stay on the proper course for normal social behavior, the CDI reported.
While planning these occasions, it’s also important for parents to remind their children of proper social behavior and etiquette, according to LifeHacker, which suggests parents inspire their children to learn how to listen to other people, follow the rules of an institution or parent and to ask for help when he or she faces trouble in school.
Parents should also encourage their children to be responsible for their behavior and to act nice towards others, according to LifeHacker.
“It seems like some kids (or people of any age) are more naturally socially adept than others,” LifeHacker reported. “Don’t worry if your children don’t fit that mold or aren’t winning any popularity contests. Like any other skill, social skills can be learned, and, besides that, ‘being social’ or outgoing isn’t the end goal in itself. What is important, however, is that kids are able to form meaningful bonds with others, can empathize and interact with others appropriately, and have the skills to adapt in uncomfortable situations.”