Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Nature v nurture

I'm rather interested in the nature versus nurture question. How much of our inherent personality is the result of our genes and how much depends upon our upbringing and environment?

Our children are of similar colouring, but quite different in physical shape and personality. Son 2 has inherited a faulty gene from me, along with my persistance and bloody mindedness, while son 1 is quieter and more easygoing. Son 1 has always been the spitting image of his father, so much so that I have often seriously wondered if he has any of my genes at all.

So why is it that when I look at his body language and facial expressions and listen to him talking, I now see his uncle (Hubby's brother) so clearly? He only sees his uncle about once a year. This can only be nature shaping him.


Anonymous said...

I find it's best to blame any characteristic I don't like at the time on their father, leaving the rest to claim as my own.
Actually I find the things that annoy me most about my son are the things I recognise in myself.
Doesn't stop me shouting though - well you've got to sometimes haven't you?
As my grandmother always said "it's enough to make anyone shout."

Catherine said...

Oliver James wrote an interesting book on this subject, the title of which was based on the Philip Larkin poem. At the time of writing, he did not have children and maintained that nurture was paramount. I wonder if he will now have changed his stance? Nothing challenges our preconceptions more than our children.

I think nature plays a bigger part than we now acknowledge, although many traits are a complex interaction between the two. Of my three sons, the oldest most resembles my father's father, the middle one, my late younger brother and the youngest his own father, in character at least, despite them having a distanced relationship.

Stay at home dad said...

I think it's all nature. My daughter has been the same since birth, despite all my childcare techniques.


Anne Brooke said...

It's weird, isn't it? A former boss from a long time ago had a sister who'd given birth to her son after having been deserted by her partner. The boy didn't actually meet his father until he was about 5 or 6 years old, I think - but they had the same mannerisms even before they'd met!

Weird ...


Cathy said...

On balance nature seems more important than nurture then? Though I do think nurture can also have a significant effect (just thinking of cases I have know etc...)

Beta mum...in my family it has always been that the child most likely to be shouted at is the one who most resembles the parent shouting. In this house that would be me!