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Nature Or Nurture


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Hi again,now i have found this website there will be no stopping me now.What do any of you think about what influences childhood development.Is it nature or nurture or perhaps both.I myself think that although environment obviously plays a part it is nuture that enables a child to help reach it's potential.Love to hear your views.

louise

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Isn't environment nurture too? I thought nature was the genes side i.e. is it how you are made or how you are brought up.

I know someone who adopted 3 chn. - 2 were from v. difficult backgrounds - violence, prison etc., the other from a couple who just weren't ready for chn. They have all been brought up in the same way (nuture), but the 2 from difficult backrounds seem to be following that trend wheras the other child is angelic!

This is obviouly just 1 case, and I'm sure the influences of nuture made some differences, but it seems that they were genetically made up to be that way.

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Loved this topic at uni and did my main research on early brain development - there is so much research on it!

 

I remember one good explanation of this was talking about how we 'wire our brains' (i.e. learn and understand) and that babies have the potential to mould their brain through everthing they sense and learn (a good read is 'How Babies Think - Gopnik et al'.) However as we get older it gets harder to wire as we miss the 'window of opportunity (which is why it is difficult for adults for example to learn a language as a child does)

 

Giving children a nurturing and stimulating environment was also seen as being really important and fits with the importance which is placed on play.

 

I remember a really good explanation from somebody being - rather than nature versus nurture we should look at it more like seeing nature through nurture as both work together to create the brain and mind we possess.

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I personnaly think nurture is the greatest influence. Children who have been bereft of human contact (remember the orphanages in Romania?) can blossom once the contact is introduced. Nature I think gives children traits, my oldest son curls his toes when he's relaxed, like my hubby does. (strange pair) :D

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Sorry,

 

this is not topic related, just perverse interest.......which way do they curl their toes?

 

In (towards their feet) - Aaaah! Happy cosy stuff :):):)

 

Out(away from their feet) - Aaargh! 'Omen' stuff !!!!!

 

 

Sue :o

(in need of therapy?)

('Therapy?')

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I think it's an amazing subject. When I was younger and without children, I was convinced that nurture (the environment and the experience of the child) was the major influencing factor of their character.

 

Since the children came along I've had to learn (amongst other things) humility and an appreciation of the fact that the world doesn't always work the way it really should do! :o

 

My daughter likes pink and purple and dressing up, and my son likes playing wargames. I assure you that this has nothing to do with what we exposed them to when they were babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers...

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And I have 2 sons, who are both very different. Yet thay have genes from the same gene pool (nature) and have the same home experiences (nuture).

 

How they react in their own worlds is very unique. One is non conformist, and a bit like a bull in a china shop, charging in regardlessand rather ego centric: the other is much more reflective, seeing problems where they dont exist and much more likely to respond to the demands of the society in which he finds himself. One eats well, the other doesnt. One is sport mad, the other isnt. One plays computer games and wont read a novel, the other reads avidly especially computer books and Harry Potter and uses his computer compulsively in a different way!

 

Both are intelligent and sensitive in their own ways and I wouldnt change either of them!!

 

What is really interesting is that even in pregnancy, they were too very different babies. Morning sickness that lasted all 9 months was the only common factor but even different foods triggered sickness and abated it! As babies one screamed all day and rarely slept, the other was a text book baby by day and dreadful at night!

 

Nature or nuture?

I think if I had to choose I'd have to say nature, although nuture must modify things?! :o

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I love this topic too. Obviously nurture has a role to play in ensuring that children learn good social behaviour/right and wrong etc. However, I would say that each of my childrens characters were determined the moment they were conceived and theres nothing I can do to change that. :D

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My two children are very different-one every confident, anti establishment and carefree the other more of a conformist, not so confident and a worrier! As with all the other members I have treated them no differently although one is a boy and the other a girl. But, the worrier is the first of the two and the confident one the second. So could this be a contributing factor, that we were more confident with the second one?? They both have very sensitive natures and are caring of other people.

I babysit for a couple who have adopted both of their children and they are very different. So nature does have a big role to play.

Linda

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Following this with interest!

 

I think it has to be a combination of nature and nurture. My four sons were born very close together, the fourth arrived when the eldest was just four and a half.

 

I treated them all the same, gave them the same opportunities over the years but they are sooo different! One is so laid back that he is almost horizontal, another is somewhat impulsive and his motto from a tiny boy seems to have been "Why walk when you can run!" and at 24 everything he does seems to be at great speed. Two are sport fanatics with football taking up all weekends and training two nights a week. They all have their own friends but also many mutual ones and the house is rarely empty.

 

Of course they have their disagreements but they rarely last for long and overall they are protetive of each other. They are happy well adjusted adults now and as someone as already said, "I wouldnt have them any other way!"

 

So often I hear the comment "Children are what you make them" and whenever youngsters are in the media for some misdemeanour there is a tendancy to blame the parents - another interesting topic!

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I remember having this discussion at college, and there was a Television Programme (Equinox) all about Natural Born Genius. I taped this programme and wrote a short peice about the programme. (This was in 1997!!)

 

Basically it was about a man Robert Plomin who had been being trying to isolate a gene (Chromosone 6). He discovered that this chromosone appeared constantly in the DNA samples of highly intelligent children (IQs of 160+) Lots of people were against this type of research as the effects could have profound effects on pre natal screening, with parents wanting to know how intelligent their child could or would be.

 

one man Marcus Howe studied musically gifted children, and he found that it was through parental encouragement and practice that the children developed rather than through genetics and genes. Robert Plomin counterd this argument by syaing that although parents can influence the child's learning through encouragement, the parents also pass on their genes.

 

Sandra Scarr (sorry don't remember who she was!!!) agrees with Plomin she carried out a study on adopted children who were raised by people that were in no way genetically linked. At aged 18 the children were tested, and the children showed no resemblence to their adopted parents in their IQs.

 

many people argue that if this is the case, why are siblings so very different from each other? Plomin says that siblings are all dealt genes from both parents, but some siblings are dealt better combinations of genes.

 

I think it is a combination of nature and nurture that ultimately shapes our children's lives.

 

All three of my boys are different!!!! :o

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This is such an interesting discussion. I remember being asked exactly this question at an interview once, and the interviewer really wasnt happy that I suggested that it was both, she wanted to commit me to one side of the fence or the other, and eventually I jumped into the nurture side. I didnt get the job!

 

But I'll add my thoughts anyway.

I think its impossible for us to say that we treat our children the same, however hard we try to, and therefore argue that nature plays the biggest part. Our first child comes into the world as exactly that, our first child. Few of us would deny, I'm sure, how our first baby turned our lives upside down, and our parenting skills were at their rawest. When child 2 comes along, we are not only more experienced parents, and quite different people oursleves, but that child already has another child in the home, making the family dynamics completely different. Add to that, any changes in job, health, house, child care arrangements, financial status etc etc, and its virutally impossible to say that the first 2 years of our first childs life will be the same as the first 2 years of any of our other children's lives.

So nurture here is, I believe a huge influence.

 

In addition, if we believed that nature played the biggest part, how could we argue that as early years professionals, that we can make a difference? What would be the point? We have to think surely, that our part in the 'nurture' of young children impacts on their development and their future lives, (this is well researched and well documented), otherwise we may as well all pack up and go home.

 

Even though I didnt get that job all those years ago, I still think its both, and there is sufficient documented evidence to support either view, but I have to believe nurture has a huge role to play otherwise I couldn't function in my job.

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hi Mundia,

:D Great minds think alike and you've beaten me to it on this one! :D

 

I've been thinking about this for several hours, of and on, and of course we cant give our children exactly the same experience, however hard we try. Experiences will always be shared wont they, because the child will take from the experience something different due to their own particular circumstances? Age, position in family etc will always predetermine those circumstances.

 

For example, I stayed at home for 9 years with my children but my younger son was only 6 when I went back to work. In fact he horrified me the other day by asking about childcare when he had been small-he has no memory of my time at home as a full time mum, whereas my older son does. I knew at the time that I could never be at home for the same amount of time with them both if I was going to return at all. Indeed, I had 2 years with the older one on his own and now he is thinking about university and perhaps leaving home, I may have 2 yeras with the younger one but it wont be the same will it? It cant possibly be because of the nature of the circumstances of the experience!

 

I know also that there were things that I did that were different with baby number 1 and 2 and yet I would like to think that I was the same mother but I too learnt by experience and modified my actions accordingly!

 

Also, although the same gene pool was in existence for my two children! they obviously took from it different combinations!!

 

However, in essence I think we are all in agreement that nature and nuture must both play their part and perhaps it is fair to say that it is the influence of nuture on our nature that makes us the people that we are? :o

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Hi

 

My husband was reunited with his half sister 15 years ago. His mum had been forced to put her baby up for adoption as she was unmarried (1950's) and the child managed to trace her nearly forty years later.

 

The baby was brought up in a loving adoptive family but she says she never felt quite right, her dreams and fantasies were so different from everyone around her. When she met her biological mother not only were the physical similarities uncanny but her attitude to life was so like my mother in law it was spooky.

 

What was even stranger was my husband has 2 other brothers who he does not look like or seem to have any shared characteristics, but his half sister whom he had never met before not only shares characteristics but even mannerisms such as stance and hand gestures.

 

Does this answer the nature / nurture question, no, but I have to say nature is an amazing thing. Those little genes that make us who we are can be powerful things.

 

Sue

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