Clever father, clever daughter. Clever mother, clever son.

(30 Posts)
Strawberrybubblegum Thu 29-Jan-15 21:36:50

It's a russian proverb, and I was wondering whether it matches people's experience. And if so, whether you think it's due to genetics or upbringing.

My family experience does seem to follow that rule:
- I'm probably in between my parents in intelligence (would have been considered gifted at school if it had existed then, but in an ordinary way). My brother has a truly exceptional mind, as does my mother. My brother's daughter also seems very able (only 5 so too young to tell) whereas his son is bright but perhaps not unusually so.
- My DH and his siblings also seem to follow the pattern. 2 boys and 2 girls - both boys are in intellectually challenging professions, one sister is in a not-so-intellectual profession, and the other is in unskilled work. DH's mother is more academically able than his father.

I'm not sure whether it's inbuilt or cultural though. Perhaps something along the lines of relationships between father/daughter or mother/son being more relaxed, which means the higher quality parental input from the cleverer parent is concentrated on the opposite gender children?

My mum was closer to my brother than to me as we were growing up, and I was closer to my father. But that may well have been due to our differences rather than the cause of them! I certainly feel my brother and I had similar opportunities. In DH's family, DMIL is lovely, but has fairly traditional gender views, and almost certainly had different expectations for her sons and daughters. She really values education though, and pushed all 4 in that direction.

So how about you - how is it in your family?

This is just idle curiosity, by the way! Obviously it's only going to be anecdotal, and not really very important: I certainly don't think intelligence is the most important thing about a person! Just think it's fun to think about, and see if any pattern emerges.

BigBeads Thu 29-Jan-15 21:52:38

Interesting, but I don't really see it here. My son's mind works exactly like his father's, they both have an ability with maths and creative problem solving that mirror each other uncannily. They also have a knack for languages and rhyme, and I have none envy They also enjoy exactly the same types of literature (Discworld etc). My daughter has inherited the math ability but not the ear. While I would consider myself bright enough, the one thing I think they got from me is a particularly retentive memory. I totally smoke my DH there grin

LillyEvans Thu 29-Jan-15 21:55:59

My mum is a lot more intelligent than my dad and I was 'gifted'*, my brother average.

*note the 'was'. I really don't know what went wrong.

BigBeads Thu 29-Jan-15 21:56:24

And I meant to add, that retentive memory was inherited from my dad, but I didn't inherit his ability in science/math etc. My brother also inherited too though!

HungerKunstler Thu 29-Jan-15 21:59:48

What if you have a clever mother and father? Both sons and daughters are clever? grin

Strawberrybubblegum Thu 29-Jan-15 22:24:29

Interesting point about the different traits which make up intelligence, bigbeads.

Hunger- I think when that happens, what you end up with is family life which is never boring!

Most people so far seem to not match the proverb. So, I guess we should bring in the nature/nurture question: if you think your DC has inherited an intelligence trait from one parent, are they particularly close to that parent (more so than a DC who hasn't)? And can you hazard a guess as to cause and effect?

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 29-Jan-15 22:26:34

Doesn't really bear out in my family

pushmepullyou Thu 29-Jan-15 22:27:09

I am cleverer than DH (though clearly not all that grammatical!). DD appears (so far) to be cleverer than DS (though to be fair he is only 3)

pushmepullyou Thu 29-Jan-15 22:28:44

I'm not sure why it would be true tbh. I can't see an obvious genetic pathway (though it is late and I am a bit tipsy)

NimpyWWindowmash Thu 29-Jan-15 22:32:13

It can skip a generation.

It skipped me (only half joking)

Snapespotions Thu 29-Jan-15 23:03:16

I would have thought that most people tend to marry someone of similar intellectual ability, no?

I couldn't actually say which of my parents is cleverer than the other - they are both intelligent.

Academically, I did better than DH, but I'm not sure if that's a reflection of intelligence - he had many more barriers to overcome than I did. DD appears to be following in my footsteps academically. We are very close, but no other kids to compare with!

howtodrainyourflagon Thu 29-Jan-15 23:06:54

In terms of genetics the x chromosome influences intelligence more than the y, as it carries more information. Boys' intelligence is largely influenced by their mothers. Girls' intelligence is influenced equally by both parents.

TheFirstOfHerName Thu 29-Jan-15 23:14:14

Have never heard the proverb, but it happens to hold true in our family.

Strawberrybubblegum Thu 29-Jan-15 23:36:55

Snape - I don't think that's always true. I read an article once which suggested that it's hard to find common ground if people are more than about 30 iq points apart (it was proposing that as a reason why people who are clever but not genius often do better in life than very, very clever people - since they can find common ground with a much larger percentage of the population). 30 iq points really is lot though, and I know many successful couples with a smaller - but still pretty big - gap.

Ooh, that's very interesting, flagon! Do you know what (other than sex!) is known to be transmitted on the x chromosome? That must be true for all traits on there, but I've only ever heard about the x/y thing being an issue where there are weaknesses on the x chromosome (eg haemophilia or colour blindness). I know very little about genes, though. Am I right in thinking they still don't know much about which ones affect intelligence?

BackforGood Thu 29-Jan-15 23:39:03

Doesn't hold up in our family - although I'm a great believer that all our dc have both of our genes all mixed up, and that nurture has a lot to do with it too.

I suspect - could be wrong, but my experience is that people tend to find their life long partner from a very similar "level of intellect" anyway.

<Am I allowed to say that on MN ? grin I know the professionally offended are all over the boards at the moment wink >

BackforGood Thu 29-Jan-15 23:39:23

oh! x-posted!

BrieAndChilli Thu 29-Jan-15 23:56:03

I'm adopted so don't know my genetic background.
MIL is average and FIL is fairly intellectual but not genius so, he also has aspergers but only recently diagnosed
dH is very intellectual, very geeky/nerdy, bookworm
I joined MENSA aged 12, was a very early reader, very academically able but due to other problems in my life haven't managed to get very far career wise
Ds1 age 8 is extremely gifted, very much like me in terms of early reading etc but has a lot of dhs interests - tolkien, star wars etc and has aspergers traits.
Dd age 6 is bright but in a normal way, doing very well but not outstanding although she is very very creative, always doing something crafty, making etc which comes from me, she could colour in very neatly at an early age.
Ds2 is 4 and doesn't show any advanced skills that his siblings did by his age and is very much a typical boy, very physical

lljkk Fri 30-Jan-15 10:05:52

I am more curious about families where ALL the many children are emotionally balanced, clever, hard-working high achievers. But the parents are dead ordinary. How did that happen?

Mistigri Sat 31-Jan-15 09:53:09

If the parents are "dead ordinary" that doesn't necessarily mean they are not intelligent; it may simply mean that they had fewer opportunities. My DH's father came from a very poor working class background and left school at 15. He's a clever man who eventually was among the first generation of IT specialists (although as he worked in industry, he didn't have a particularly well paid or glamorous job).

People from this sort of background often transmit a work ethic that allows bright children to do very well. They often have very little truck with notions of "giftedness" and entitlement, which may conversely actually help bright children to knuckle down and get on with it.

Spatial Sun 15-Feb-15 08:25:47

I was aware of this proverb as it interests me. DH and I are very different, intellectually. He is much more left brain, very good at practical and logical problems, which I am hopeless at. I am more articulate and good at fast word problems etc.

DS is academic and DD isnt, she is way more practical than him though.

Indantherene Sun 15-Feb-15 10:42:48

My father was very intelligent; my mother less so. Both me and DB are very clever - him more than me, though he flunked school.

DH left school at 16 with no qualifications and considers himself thick. All our DC (both sexes) are clever. Youngest has been tested by an Ed Psych as off-the-charts intelligent but is bottom of her class for everything and on the SEN register sad

choccyp1g Thu 19-Feb-15 13:43:18

We always say that D's has his Dad's looks and my brains.
Would have been a bit of a disaster the other way round.

yoyo1234 Tue 10-Mar-15 14:53:23

"In terms of genetics the x chromosome influences intelligence more than the y, as it carries more information. Boys' intelligence is largely influenced by their mothers. Girls' intelligence is influenced equally by both parents."

I love this grin-but will have to look into it more!
Still think that DS is a fraud. I do not think he got anything from me.

AmysTiara Wed 22-Apr-15 22:23:24

Yes I only have sons, they are both clever and I'm far brainier than DP grin

Iwasbornin1993 Wed 22-Apr-15 22:30:14

I've never heard of the proverb before but definitely follows in my family. Though it's neither in OH's - he is extremely intelligent but both his DM and DF are of average intelligence so not sure where he came from!

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