To sum up new genetic research on toddlers: Our kids are born with the genes of an "orchid" or the genes of a "dandelion." Orchids are fragile and fickle—"they'll wilt if ignored or mistreated, but are capable of blooming spectacularly if given hothouse care." Dandelions (the majority of kids) are normal and healthy with resilient genes that allow them to do well almost anywhere—even if they fall through the cracks.
What defines an orchid? Orchids are those kids that suffer from or are at risk for ADHD, depression, anxiety, anti-social, sociopathic, or violent behaviors, among other things.
Research says that if you put an orchid child in a bad environment with poor parenting, he can end up depressed, addicted to drugs or in jail. But if you put him in the "greenhouse" and follow good parenting techniques while he is a toddler or preschooler, he can grow up to be happy and even more successful than a dandelion.
According to David Dobb's article, "The Science of Success" in The Atlantic magazine, the upshot of this blending of nature and nurture is that risk genes shouldn't be looked at as merely liabilities since they can actually enhance your child's success under the right conditions.
To read the complete article, click here.
To hear a radio interview with the David Dobbs, click here.
Do you think that your child's biggest genetic vulnerabilities could become his greatest assets with the right nurturing?