Emotional and Psychological Factors
We are often asked whether a child's stammer could have been caused by a crisis or an upset in the family. Even though there is no research evidence that unfortunate events in a family cause stammering, parents often worry that one experience may have triggered the problem. For example, parents may worry that it was the arrival of a new baby, starting a new school or nursery, an illness or an accident etc. While these incidents are obviously important, they are also events that occur in the lives of many families, with no consequences for a child's fluency. It seems more likely that these important experiences may have happened at around the same time as the stammering started to emerge. However, they could be a source of additional stress for a family.
It is often assumed that people who stammer are shy or nervous. In actual fact this is not true. Children and adults who stammer have exactly the same range of personality types as everyone else. However, stammering can affect a person's self-esteem and confidence in some situations - and shyness or reticence may be the result of the stammering.
Many parents also describe their child as being overly sensitive, or a worrier or that he sets himself high standards. Although these traits do not cause the stammer, a child who is more sensitive to their stammering and more anxious about making mistakes may become upset when they can't say what they want to say. Conversely, a child who is more laid-back and relaxed about life may not be so affected by moments of hesitancy or "bumpy talking".