So which determines a child’s personality nature or nurture? Overall scientists and psychologists agree that nature and nurture both play a role in how a person behaves. Links between genes and behavior do exist. But just because the gene is present doesn’t guarantee the behavior will occur. Likewise the child who is raised in an abusive home doesn’t necessarily become an abuser.
A person who has a genetic predisposition towards anger will have to work harder to control that anger. But if they are raised in a good environment, by parents who help them learn anger management, they can overcome their genetic predisposition.
Problems occur when environment adds to genetic factors. Studies have found that many people do have a genetic predisposition towards criminal activity. Just because a child has a genetic predisposition doesn’t mean they will become a criminal. But take that same child and place them in a family with “poor communication and weak family bonds” or an abusive or neglectful home and they are 50% more likely to engage in criminal behavior. (Holmes et al., 2001).
The family environment is critical to the upbringing of a child and if problems exist then the child is most likely to suffer the consequences. ADHD does have a genetic base, but “in relation to that, some researchers have claimed that it is the family environment that influences the hyperactivity of children (Schmitz, 2003).”
A child is born with certain personality traits. (see my blog Temperament Traits for more information about genetic personality traits) But their environment plays an important role in determining how greatly they are affected by those traits. As a parent we have a direct influence upon our children, because we are our child’s first environment. So it is important that we provide a positive learning environment rich in love and laughter.
Nature and nurture both play a role in how a person’s personality develops. A person’s genes may increase the likelihood of certain behavior, but it cannot make them do things. Just as the environment you provide your child will not determine the choices they make but it will greatly influence them.
For information about the nature theory, read my blog “The Nature Theory”.
For information about the nurture theory, read my blog “The Nurture Theory”.