It's Not Your Fault Your Kid Is a Jerk

15

nature vs nurtureFinally! Something to not blame on mom and dad. Apparently you can behave however you want in front of the kids (yes, this includes giving the finger to that guy parked too close to your passenger side door) and they'll turn out the same. In other words, nature trumps nurture when it comes to personality, job choices, social attitudes, and what kids do in their spare time.

Of course this also means that you're not going to get anywhere by only allowing indie rock in the car, dangit. Those kids will choose whatever it is you don't like no matter how hard you try to indoctrinate them to NPR and The Strokes.

Whoo-hoo! Feels good to be off the hook, right? Except of course, we're not. Because science is all complicated and stuff.

A new twin study that's being called a ground-breaker does debunk the idea that we're all blank slates, and our environment shapes us. By studying twins with the same genetic material that grew up separately but with a strikingly similar end result in personality, genetics won this round. However, you can never be fully dismissive of nurture.

Even though your genetic material will determine personality traits, your genetic material is constantly being adjusted by your environment. As the study says, genes are actually devices for extracting information from your environment. So while the IQs of twins separated at birth were the same, there were environmental factors that were the same as well as the genetic material in common. Both lived with families, were taught the same language, and neither lived in poverty. Which, according to most studies, does have a huge impact on IQ, among other traits.

Also, you know, if you contributed either an egg or sperm -- that genetic material is yours. So you can still only have yourself to blame if the kid prefers Mozart over Motocross, or vice versa.

How much influence do you think you have over your child's personality?

 

Image via Tom Coppen/Flickr

discipline, learning, toddler development

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mommy... mommythree0508

I think too many will use that as an excuse to not discipline their kids. 

Addys... Addys_Mom

i agree with mommythree. Parents are going to use this to not teach their kids right i think. while a child may be predisposed to be an angry kid (for example), it is still the parents job to teach them how to behave towards other people.

Mahala Dixson

I think this will be used as an excuse.  Kids DO pick up certain behaviors from their parents.  If they hear you cursing, they will copy.  If they see their parents acting vulgar, they will act vulgar.  And while this isnt' necessarily PERSONALITY it does affect the child.  SO I think it is still 50/50.  It's still the parents job to teach their child right and wrong.  

nonmember avatar Chris

I don't know if Ms. Peveteaux gets paid to write columns, but I think she should try to not negate her opening statement or title in her closing statement. If you didn't follow, she asserts that nature plays a larger role in a childs' personality development (and at the same time tries to balance the nurture aspect-- something social-psychologist argue about constantly anyways) but that it's not the parents' faults they are little heathens (to use my words). Yet at the end, she goes on to say if you donated genetic material, you are responsible for why the child is that way.

Layla19 Layla19

How am I responsible for the genetic material I carry?  Should I look into adopting genetically-screened good citizens?

shajd... shajdinyak

Dd was definitely strong willed and spirited since birth. However, we try to teach her to be appropriate. She is also has bouts when she is extremely happy and outgoing, which is my personality.

nonmember avatar Annie L.

I think those who think this will be an excuse for people not to discipline their children are REALLY not thinking this through. Parents who teach and discipline their children don't do it because they believe nurture plays a 100% role in the outcome of their children; they do it because they are good parents. No reasonable human being who WOULD have disciplined their children is going to say "Oh, well, now I guess I don't have to!" That's preposterous. The people who would "use this as an excuse" not to discipline their children are the people who wouldn't have disciplined their children anyway, whether they had an excuse or not, so the end result is going to be the same.

nonmember avatar Jackie

TOTAL BS!!! OUR SOCIETY IS SOFT AND UNDISCIPLINED AND LIBERAL AND UNCOUTH AND THE LIST JUST GOES ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON...TSK TSK SHAME ON US!!!! SHUTUP WITH THESE STUDIES. STUDIES ALSO SHOW THAT WHEN YOU GRADE IN RED INK (AS TEACHERS) IT DAMAGES A CHILD'S PSYCHE! WHAT KIND OF BS IS THIS! GOTTA BE HONEST...TURNING A DEAF EAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS COUNTRY IS BEYOND WEAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

nonmember avatar SR

Absolute rubbish. Of course if your kid sees you giving the finger he/she will copy, they look to parents as role models! It's just another mask for parents like 'ADHD'. No such thing as either and it's just an excuse for parents who can't handle their kids properly.

Paul Dunville

rubbish. Parents are THE main influence on children and how they end up.

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