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To think that the way a person turns out is more nurture than nature?

(130 Posts)
ethelfleda Wed 05-Jul-17 17:57:07

Being pregnant with our first child, I've found myself asking what sort of personality traits I would like them to have and whether or not they are a product of their genes or their upbringing. For example, I would like my son to have confidence as well as empathy... are they things that you can reach your child or is it completely down to genetic make up in your opinion? Have you or do you know anyone who has two or more children that were raised the same but are completely different?
I would imagine there is definitely an element of which genes they inherit but I have always thought the way a child is raised and their experiences shape who they are. I believe I am more like my father than my mother for instance but I believe that is because I followed him around like a puppy all the time and was MUCH closer to him than my mom.
Really interested to know people's opinions on this one!

TomHardysLeftFoot Wed 05-Jul-17 18:02:30

I have four children, my eldest with a different partner. My ex left when DS was a tiny baby.

DS1 could not be more different to the others if we tried. My younger three are polite, kind, well behaved, do well in school etc.
My eldest is manipulative, rude, unkind, constantly in trouble at school.

They have had exactly the same parenting. My DH has been around for as long as DS can remember and treats him as his own (truly). DS is, unfortunately, just exactly like his father. We have given him unconditional love and support. It hasn't made a jot of difference.

That said, nurture must of course play a huge part in how children turn out. My DS, sadly, has a narcissistic psychopath for a father and these things are proven to be genetic.

Saiman Wed 05-Jul-17 18:05:19

Hmmm not sure.

Yoi can definitely knock confidence out of people, but some people just dont have it. My dd didnt. Only recently, at 13, has she actually started standing up for herself at school etc. She was bullied which knocked it what she did have. But even as a baby/toddler she was always quiet, never challenged anything.

Ds on the other hand is super confident. Always has been. Never taken any shit of other kids at school. He was a screamer as baby and never afriad to tell you he wasnt happy.

They both have personality traits that have always been theirs. But i do think alot is nuture. Both mine are kind kids. Dd more than ds, but dd can be kind to her own detrement and sometimes gives more than she should. Ds has better boundaries.

Luckily dd is getting there. Just taken her longer.

derxa Wed 05-Jul-17 18:05:59

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nurture_Assumption
This author would disagree with you. I think genes are more powerful than people think.

pinkpiggies Wed 05-Jul-17 18:07:02

I think it is more genes than nurture

Saiman Wed 05-Jul-17 18:07:53

Oh and i know several families where 3 out of 4 kids have turned out great. The other one has gone completely off the rails. Drungs, violence etc.

Broccolirevolution Wed 05-Jul-17 18:08:54

I have 3. I can only look at the older 2s characters as the 3rd is too young but I'd say nature is in the lead for us. The older 2 have all our skills and all our faults in abundance even though they are growing up in a different country to DP and I, speaking a different language.
E.g. my DP was a great swimmer growing up, I was never bothered to take the kids swimming but when we enrolled them in lessons they learned to swim a few different strokes well in 1 lesson and the teachers were raving about how good this was.
Also, the poor kids can't spell. Either can I. They were amazing at memorising the homework list, but ask them to get it right in a piece of writing.... not a chance.
Nature is stronger than nurture for us.

MadisonMontgomery Wed 05-Jul-17 18:09:42

My mum's best friend adopted three children - the oldest one was from a girl who got pregnant at uni & gave the child up at birth, the other two were removed from their parents at birth due to concerns from social services. They all had exactly the same upbringing with lovely parents, private schools, every advantage. The oldest girl is lovely, did well at school, went to uni, has a good job. The younger two both were expelled from school several times, criminal records from a young age, one was a teenage mum and both are now drug addicts who have had children removed. I strongly feel that some part of it must be due to nature over nurture.

user1497480444 Wed 05-Jul-17 18:10:04

This is a bit of a pointless question, because it isn't a matter of opinion, it is a matter of scientific fact, the only trouble is all the great minds of humanity pooled for all of time have yet to establish which fact.

WinnieTheMe Wed 05-Jul-17 18:10:12

Most recent research suggests that genes have a massive part to play in it.

The best explanation I've heard is that genes give us the raw personality traits and capabilities. Nurture shapes those and maybe provides some measure of direction - so you can take someone with the capacity to do terrible things and maybe channel those urges in a different direction - but you can't change the basic make up of their character.

Dairymilkmuncher Wed 05-Jul-17 18:10:42

tomhardysleftfoot I'm so sad to read your post about your own son hopefully with your support he can get somebody help that your ex maybe didn't have, not sure if there is any out there for narcissistic psychopaths but I hope there is for you both.

I think bringing your kids up believing it's nurture over nature is a good start because you can't go back and change your genes but you can give them the best start to life in way of environment and support, not sure how true it is though because I've seen in families two kids being treated the same and turning out totally different from each other but then you read stories about split up identical twins and realise how much their upbringing changes a person.

islandsandshores Wed 05-Jul-17 18:11:01

tom they haven't had the same parenting.

One was rejected by one of his parents.

The fact a replacement came along is neither here nor there.

Stillwishihadabs Wed 05-Jul-17 18:11:35

I was going to link Pinker too. Also some interesting research published in 2015. I think it's 75 ( genes) 25 ( environment)

AfraidOfMyShadow Wed 05-Jul-17 18:12:11

TomHardysLeftFoot That makes me feel so sad for you and your son. I can't really believe some people are evil from the moment they crawl out of the womb.

user1497480444 Wed 05-Jul-17 18:12:16

the other two were removed from their parents at birth due to concerns from social services sounds like they were very unlikely to have been properly nurtured before birth though, and this can have a long term affect.

museumum Wed 05-Jul-17 18:14:05

I don't know any young siblings who do not have significantly different personalities.
Certainly I'd say my ds's personality was evident before age 2 and alrhoygh I have a close group of friends with kids the same age who are also close we have had very different challenges and what "works" for one of us doesn't for another.
I really believe they're mostly born the way they are and we as parents just have to work with their innate strengths and weaknesses to help them navigate life as best we can.

RaspberryBeretHoopla Wed 05-Jul-17 18:14:55

As a parent of a child with a genetic mutation that informs behaviour, I really think nature has more to answer for than nurture. But I would have thought the opposite before I had children.

QuiteLikely5 Wed 05-Jul-17 18:16:03

Tom hardy - your son was exposed to your ex during pregnancy and after birth?

He did get a different start

Therealslimshady1 Wed 05-Jul-17 18:20:14

Aside from traumatic life events, people are born with their personalities imo

Nurture has some influence, but I see my role as a parent pretty much as guiding and helping the persons my children ARE, rather than moulding/shaping them, if that makes,sense

Oblomov17 Wed 05-Jul-17 18:20:46

I disagree. I think nature is more important than nurture.
I know many families, normal, loving parents, 4 or 5 kids, - kids have very different personalities. And even when you take out of the equation which child you are: are you first child, middle child, youngest. The parenting often is generally the same. So nurture plays a less significant role. Thus, I conclude that nature is thus often more crucial.

AfraidOfMyShadow Wed 05-Jul-17 18:22:46

Also personality may be due to nature but I think outcomes are due to nurture.

toastandbutterandjam Wed 05-Jul-17 18:25:19

Me and my sister were raised the same. We have different fathers, both absent, so just raised by mum.
My father walked out when I was tiny, had a second child with another woman (a year between us), fought for custody of me when I was 3, didn't get it, had another two biological children with two different women. He now lives with his wife and raises his two stepchildren whilst having no contact with his biological ones.

My sisters father isn't alive, but has been my dad since I was young. Not the nicest person, got violent and abusive easily etc.

I was a screamer as a baby, well behaved child, used to cry if I got in trouble, never bullied at school, always had alot of friends. Now as an adult, i'm quiet, always helping people and care a little too much.

My sister never really cried as a baby, outspoken, confident child. However, bullied at school, has no friends and literally lets people take complete advantage of her. She doesn't really have the same boundaries that I do.

We are so different, but we're both kind, always willing to help and really caring people. Neither are similar to our fathers though (I'm horrified at the actions of my dad!). We also have no memories of our biological dads (sisters dad died when she was young, never saw mine)

Groupie123 Wed 05-Jul-17 18:27:03

I think nurture right from the womb. Take drugs, drink, or don't take care of yourself in pregnancy and your child is never going to have the same chances as one who has a mum who does. Also nurture whilst they are a baby plays a huge part. Kids can develop any manner of emotional issues then that become difficult to grow out of.

Mulledwine1 Wed 05-Jul-17 18:29:38

I think it's mainly genes too. You are what you are, you can't change your personality, although you can choose your response to things.

But the experiences you have when growing up obviously shape you. It's not just parenting, it's how teachers treat you, whether you have friends, what the kids at school are like, whether you feel you achieve anything in life.

I'm sure the boy (or girl) with the absent father who has a loving mother, grandparents and nurturing teachers at school will do better than the one whose mother didn't give a fig either, and whose teachers gave up on him.

grasspigeons Wed 05-Jul-17 18:30:18

I remember watching a documentary about psychopaths - apparently there brain scans are different but they only go on to be criminals if they have poor parenting as well.
I guess a lot of things are like that.

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