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Children: A Product Of
Nature and Nurture

by Teresa, The CuteKid™ Staff


 

Some child experts claim that children are born with a personality determined by genetics. Others feel that the childís environment determines it all. I believe children are a product of their genes and their environment. Of course there is evidence to support both arguments.

I believe that there are some traits that children are naturally predisposed too. Traits that they would possess no matter what environment they grow up in. I have two
daughters, that although only nineteen months apart in age, are very different. Even as a baby my youngest daughter was curious about everything. She crawled early and walked early. She was and is constantly getting into everything and exploring her environment.
She approaches everything head on. The other day I noticed that she rarely walks
anywhere, instead she runs, bounces, or skips. On the other hand my oldest daughter is
very cautious. She approaches things slowly and takes her time. She isnít as confident
in her physical abilities as her sister, partly because she wears glasses and has hearing aids.

Yet just because my youngest daughter is a wild whirlwind and my oldest is more cautious it doesnít mean that I canít influence their personality. One of my favorite examples of how environment can change a person is the story of Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady. In the story Professor Higgins takes the poor flower girl Eliza and teaches her manners and how to speak properly. Because her environment changed she changed as well.

The fact that nurture can affect natural born traits is important. Just because a child is shy doesnít mean that he or she canít overcome at least to some degree their shyness with the help of their parents. Parents can provide an environment that helps nurture positive traits and temper those that arenít as constructive.

I can help my youngest daughter channel her energy into good activities. My younger brother was a lot like my daughter and my parents got him involved in sports and engaged in school. As a result he used his energy to become valedictorian of his graduating class, state track champion, and football star. I can also help my older daughter by exposing her to new experiences and giving her chances to safely explore her physical environment.

The problem comes when a childís environment adds to their genetic personality factors. Some children are genetically predisposed to violence but as long as they are in a good home they will probably overcome the weakness. But if they are born in a family that has poor communication or is abusive they are 50% more likely to engage in criminal activity.

As parents it is important that we nurture our childís genetic traits so that they can be the best that they can be.