Mothering Forum banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,642 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wonder how much of who my children are is what they were already born with or has it been conditioned? I remember seeing a show about twins that had been separated at birth, then years later had lived such parallel lives. (same haircuts same types of marriages, schooling, clothing choices, one set even brought each other the very same gift at their first meeting) So that makes me wonder, what our children come to us already programmed with?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,423 Posts
I see it as very similar to the way that a tree grows. An apple seed produces an apple tree, for instance -- but how the tree grows is going to be influenced by climate, how much sun and rain, how the soil is, how crowded the tree is, and so on.<br><br>
I think our role as parent is to nurture the child we've been given, get to know that child, and respond by providing the optimal growing conditions for that particular child.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,180 Posts
I don't have any doubt that nature plays a large role in human development. However, I think that it is good to think objectively about that show. They certainly didn't pick the twins that were living completely different lives, and I'm sure they minimized the differences between the twins they featured. IMO, I think there is a good balance between nature and nurture. Doesn't make for very interesting TV though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,222 Posts
I think nature is the biggest influence, and sets parameters for what a person is capable of and likely to be. But the right environment can help a person reach their maximum potential, and the wrong one can hold them back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,219 Posts
Well, as the adoptive mom of the sweetest, best behaved, most easy going, most perfect child on the planet who combines humor and common sense in the most delightful way, I have to say it's all nurture -- otherwise I couldn't take credit! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br><br>
JK, I actually attribute it almost exclusively to nature. As a teacher who sees all kinds of parents, and all kinds of kids, I've come to the conclusion that kids are born with an incredible amount of variation in temperment, and that while it's certainly possible to "mess them up" it's harder than some of us think.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,078 Posts
I love the apple tree visual.<br><br>
I think nature has a huge roll and nurture has an important roll, but less than that of nature.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,500 Posts
Appletree. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod"> I love that analogy. Thanks! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,105 Posts
Great replies. As an adoptee, middle child, with an older brother and younger sister, neither of whom are adopted, I tend to believe that nature is a huge part. We grew up in the same house, ate the same food, with the same parents, and they tried, triied, tried to "bend me to their will", whereas brother and sister were already on board. More than 40 years later, I eat different foods, travel a lot wheras they stay in one spot, have completely different religious/political views, they are more social and agreeable whereas I don't give a toss what others think.... I think nature is huge. But the apple tree is appropriate as well. My differences were clamped down upon, but like a tree I just grew in a different direction. But I still had the opportunity to grow, I still had some sunlight, water, space.... in the form of my parents also trying to accept me and my art.<br><br>
Side note: I also agree with the pp: if the TV was going to do a show about twins that were not so similiar, and not total opposites, but just average differences, then that wouldn't sell well, would it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
310 Posts
I think of it as nature AND nurture, instead of nature vs. nurture, because it's pretty impossible to measure the effect of one in isolation.<br><br>
Although, it's interesting to learn about feral children... Google it! Children raised in the wild by animals (very rare, of course) don't even seem very human, which indicates that the effects of nurture might be stronger than we think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
I personally think that a child is born with their set personality. We as parents can rev up or tone down aspects of the personality but the basic personality is there from birth. I do believe the core of who you are is set at birth. I too like the apple tree visual.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,180 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Inci</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10329283"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think of it as nature AND nurture, instead of nature vs. nurture, because it's pretty impossible to measure the effect of one in isolation.<br><br>
Although, it's interesting to learn about feral children... Google it! Children raised in the wild by animals (very rare, of course) don't even seem very human, which indicates that the effects of nurture might be stronger than we think.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
ITA! Without nurture our genetic "switches" wouldn't click on. For instance, all humans have the capacity to learn and generate language. However, if that switch isn't turned on by a young age the capacity to learn language is greatly diminished. In regards to feral children, many of them never learn to speak any language "normally" because their brain didn't learn it in the time deemed appropriate by our human brain.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,298 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mammal_mama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10324983"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think our role as parent is to nurture the child we've been given, get to know that child, and respond by providing the optimal growing conditions for that particular child.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
I agree
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,423 Posts
Do feral children really prove that nurture is stronger than nature?<br><br>
I wonder, because people who've studied wolves have noted variations in temperament and personality that surface pretty early on, and determine the wolves' positions and roles within their pack.<br><br>
This tells me that feral children would likely still have their unique inborn traits -- but the expression of those traits is going to be different as they're being socialized as wolves rather than humans (in the same way that trees grow differently in swamplands than they do in other ecosystems).<br><br>
Also, since the feral children have some human physical limitations which are bound to affect their abilities to, say, run for hours and hours at high speed without stopping, I'm guessing that even if the child's natural temperament would be "Alpha" (leader) among humans, the child's role among the wolf-pack might have to be the lowest adult role (lowest according to the wolves) -- that of babysitter to the pups while the other adults are hunting.<br><br>
Since the babysitting role is often filled by adolescent pups, it may very well be that the feral child would never get to achieve full adult status in the wolf-pack. And of course, there are some humans who always play a "child's" role in their human relationships: but a human who's raised by wolves might automatically be molded into such a role, even if among humans this child would have grown up to become a highly responsible adult.<br><br>
This is where the growing conditions come in. I'm also reminded of seedlings that are confined to pots. If their root systems have no room to spread, that definitely limits their growth into who they would have naturally become. I think this would be bound to happen to some extent with feral children, especially the ones with, say, a strong artistic or philosophical bent, although maybe I'm just too limited in my ability to imagine how these gifts might be developed and nurtured and expressed in wolf society.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
488 Posts
Another adopted child who believes nature is much stronger than we give it credit for. I was raised in poverty with a family where no one graduated high school. My adopted sister is only 8 months younger than me, we shared the same bedroom for 16 years. I not only graduated high school, but went on to a good college, and now have two masters. I'm not even sure my adopted parents know what a masters degree is. With that said, all my work is devoted to poverty and helping those that struggle in it. Yes, my appleseed gave me a start, but my wind and sun certainly had an effect.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,677 Posts
Well,I've been fascinated watching DD carry "babies",attempt to nurse and steal my purses and decorate herself in "jewels".I have not told her or shown her that girls only do this or that,she has been given the same toys her older brothers had but she turned the cars into babies and she is the one who plays dress up with the clothes not the boys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
I think nature is a big part of it. My husband didn't meet his bio dad or half brother until he was 25, and they were all surprised at how alike they all are. Aside from the physical similarities, their personalities (even down to the scowl when they're thinking) and beliefs are remarkably alike. I will say that my husband is more driven, maybe, from having been raised the way he was, but overall they're more alike than not. It's especially striking with his half brother, whose mom is almost completely opposite from my husband's mom (both their moms raised them).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,572 Posts
How do we define "nature" and "nurture?" I think that traditionally, nature has been thought to be everything that happens before birth, and nurture is all that parents do to guide and nourish their children from birth forward. But this is a troublesome bifurcation for me to understand...don't we "nurture" our babies while they are in utero? I tend to think of those 9 months as a period in which the conditions inside the uterus (which have at least something to do with "nurture"), combined with all that genetic material ("nature"), help to form my baby. And if that's the case, there really seems to be no "pure" nature without nurture involved; the two cannot really be separated, in my mind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,568 Posts
It wasn't until I met my father a couple of years ago that I realized how much nature has to do with who we are as people. Like Oronomom's DH, me and my father have so many similarities it is bizarre. Of course I got a lot from my mother and step father as well. I think it's really a combination of both. Anyway, I am glad I got to understand the significance nature plays prior to adopting DS.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,918 Posts
Well as an adoptive mother, I certainly hope that the way we are raising our kids influences who they become. If nurture plays no part, what's the point of attachment parenting?<br><br>
On the other hand, both of our kids joined us with distinct and very different personalities that are so amazing to watch develop. My hope is that I can help them realize their true selves without getting in the way too much.<br><br>
I believe that people are who they are and you have to honor that, but we also know (based on what happens to children who are raised in institutions) that children literally don't grow without the nurture part. They can be getting plenty of food, but if they are not held, loved and part of a family they don't thrive physically. Their head circumfrences are usually incredibly small as well as weight and height and they are often developmentally delayed. The medical term for it is "failure to thrive" and it happens to kids who aren't nurtured. The amazing thing is that for many (but not all) of these kids, this diagnosis can be reversed, simply by getiing them out of the institution and into loving homes.<br><br>
I have always thought it is amazing that what human beings need to grow and thrive is touch and love. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,423 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>vermonttaylors</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10336363"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">On the other hand, both of our kids joined us with distinct and very different personalities that are so amazing to watch develop. My hope is that I can help them realize their true selves without getting in the way too much.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
The fact that you're actually articulating this hope, puts you miles ahead of many other parents in loving, accepting, and responding to your children.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I believe that people are who they are and you have to honor that, but we also know (based on what happens to children who are raised in institutions) that children literally don't grow without the nurture part. They can be getting plenty of food, but if they are not held, loved and part of a family they don't thrive physically. Their head circumfrences are usually incredibly small as well as weight and height and they are often developmentally delayed. The medical term for it is "failure to thrive" and it happens to kids who aren't nurtured. The amazing thing is that for many (but not all) of these kids, this diagnosis can be reversed, simply by getiing them out of the institution and into loving homes.<br><br>
I have always thought it is amazing that what human beings need to grow and thrive is touch and love. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></td>
</tr></table></div>
So true! I think nurture plays a huge part in the health of the individual: I just believe (and I can see you also believe) that temperament is pretty much innate. So to me, responsiveness is a huge component of nurture: getting the know each child so I can nurture properly. Here's an example:<br><br>
When I was a child, someone gave me a baby orange tree in a pot as a gift (our climate isn't warm enough for orange trees). The tree was really pretty when the oranges bloomed, but they were sour and nasty due to not having the right growing conditions, and due to the roots not having room to spread out.<br><br>
If we'd transplanted that tree into our midwestern yard, and given it all the nurture that was appropriate to an apple tree, I imagine the tree would have died. Therefore, nurture without regard to nature tends to be destructive, unless the child just happens to have the temperament the parent wants to nurture.<br><br>
I'm reminded of an article I read a few years back in <i>Mothering</i> magazine, written by a mother whose son used to get angry whenever she read him the book, <i>Runaway Bunny</i> (can't remember the author's name).<br><br>
Whereas other children may have felt comforted by the thought that wherever they went and whatever they tried to do, their mothers would find them and take them away from the exciting activities and bring them home -- the author's little boy was angry that the mother kept stopping her child from doing the things he wanted to do. He told the little bunny to "Runaway, Bunny!"<br><br>
In a similar way, my desire to parent more responsively, has got me questioning the conventional idea that our children are "comforted" by limits. That it's "reassuring" to them to know they can't do everything they want to do, because we won't let them.<br><br>
And the more I question myself when I'm feeling that I "have" to prevent a particular activity, the more I'm finding that sometimes I don't have to prevent it at all, and sometimes I can simply meet the need by redirecting my child to something similar (that also meets my needs and the needs of any others who are affected by what my child's doing).<br><br>
I don't know, there may be some children who are genuinely comforted by lots of limits -- I'm just not finding this to be the case with my own kids. There may be some children who are comforted when they reach the page in <i>Runaway Bunny</i> where Mama and Bunny are snuggled in their quiet hole and Mama says, "Have a carrot" -- but some may be thinking that's a poor tradeoff for the life of adventure the bunny's been yearning for.<br><br>
That's one thing I love about Attachment Parenting: It's not a list of rules about what "all" children want and need. Of course, I realize some parents get hung up on the list of suggested tools, and feel condemnation if their baby sleeps better in a crib, or doesn't enjoy the sling -- but that's not the heart of AP. AP is really just about listening to and responding to our children: it's about opening the lines of communication at birth by taking our baby's cues seriously, and keeping the communication flowing <b>both ways</b> as they grow.<br><br>
Nurture is crucial to life and growth -- but a gardener doesn't shove a seed into the ground and start "nurturing" it without learning about the needs of that particular seed.<br><br>
Parents shouldn't either.
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top