Tuesday, June 3

Q & A #8

Mike posed this question yesterday. How do you feel about the whole nature vs. nurture debate? Do you feel a child's environment influences him more or his genetics?

I agree with many of you, that nature plays a smaller part than nurture. Looking at Leah, she goes right up to kids on the playground that she has never seen before and HUGS them. No one taught her that. That is just her personality. On the other hand, she is throwing less temper tantrums and uses her words much more. That is learned from us. As time passes, we will see many more of her behaviors that she has learned.

I think inherent qualities like shyness are predetermined, but how you deal with your shyness depends on how you are taught to deal with it. Over time you can alter your personality by learning ways to cope. I bet most of you wouldn't believe that Mike was more of an introvert as a kid and preteen. He changed his behavior when he moved to FL and was able to alter his true personality. Now hanging out in groups and being active are part of who he is. Strange, but true!


Nikki said...

Interesting question! So much of a person's personality is inheritant by nature. Which becomes obvious when you have multiple kids and they all have their very distinct personalities.

But I definitely think nuture plays a stronger societal role. Which I bet is obvious from a teacher's perspective. I bet you can tell right away if a kid gets attention and love and support at home and how that affects their social skills, their desire to learn, their respect for authority.

I've also seen birth order have a huge effect on a person's personality. The youngest child tends to be more spoiled because the parents tend to ease up on the discipline. The youngest child (in a family with three or more kids) also tends to be the most outgoing, not because they're born that way but because their environment molds them. So yeah, my answer is that nuture plays a bigger role. A more impactful role, anyway.

Tiffanyrose said...

I am going to have to say nurture. I know that nature definetly plays a big role but I believe that how a child is raised and the values that they are taught ultimatly is what helps define who they are. The examples they see at home and the lessons that their family teaches them set the tone on how they in turn will raise their family and how they will handle situations that life throws at them.

Mandy said...

I say 30% nature and 70% nurture. Prime example - I can't STAND it when people say, "oh, my kid's not a good sleeper". I want to say, "WELL THEN MAKE HIM GET OUT OF YOUR HUSBAND AND YOUR BED AND MAKE HIM CRY A MINUTE!" Pass your "not a good sleeper" kid to me for 3 nights straight and he'll be sleeping through the night. I say for the sleeping thing it's 100% nurture - NO nature... Personality? more nature than that but I think a LOT is how you react to your children, what environment you create, etc. Autism research? Nature and environment (genetics + environment linked). There's my soapbox. Have I ever told you that Healthy Sleep Habits is my favorite baby book of all time??? :) Great post - can't wait to hear your response!

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone else! I'm a children and family therapist so I have seen a lot of "different" families. I think kids are born with their own personalities and traits (stubborn, easy going, out going etc). I firmly feel it's how the parents react to their kids personalities and how the parents teach their children to use their strengths and work on their weaknesses. Modeling plays a HUGE role in parenting! I know my 2 kids are completely different and I have to approach disapline slightly different with each of them.
With that being said, I also know that severe mental illnesses(and obviously medical conditions) are definitely hereditary. Just because a person has Bipolar Disorder, doesn't mean they had terrible parents. In fact, they may have had the best parents. I have seen a lot of parents who are judged by others because their child has behavior problems that are caused by mental illness. It is very sad, and our society is quick to blame parents.

In most cases, nuture is the true winner! But... stop next time you are about to judge a parent whose child has behavior problems...they might not be as lucky as you.


Rhiannon said...

I will definitely say nurture. Being a teacher to students with behavior problems I have seen proof! As soon as you meet those kids parents and hear what they have to say you can totally see why their kids have issues! Most of the time when the kids are in a structured environment with set rules and expectations, you don't see any of the behaviors the parents complain about at home.

Jacqueline said...

I have to agree with Rhiannon. Nurture does play a huge role. It is important, as parents, to teach children how to deal with everyday situations.
Also, I think about how my son is having sensory integration processing issues which can be related to nature. But with nurture, he can overcome these obstacles.