Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

I was talking with someone recently regarding the difficulty of understanding why certain children act out, when others do not…even when those children have been exposed to the same environmental factors. I was explaining the genetics behind particular behaviors or particular predispositions to behaviors and attempting to further solidify my own understanding of said subject.

The nature versus nurture debate is one that has been prominent since the study of psychology began. Can we say we know for certain whether a child’s behavior is solely based on biology or solely based on environment? In some cases, yes. For instance, when from birth a child struggles with a feeding disorder or another complication that can be directly linked to his or her physical makeup. In other cases, it’s much more difficult to determine.

As I was speaking with this person, who is currently studying psychology, I shared my explanation that when children are born, they are made up of years of biology. They receive characteristics of their parents’ bloodlines and many things that then occur in the environment can have a particular affect on these children. While Child A may see abuse and stand tall against ever becoming an abuser, Child B may be more inclined to become manipulative, abusive, or hostile. This is, in my opinion, closely related to what is considered a person’s biological predisposition. Does it mean that the environmental factors are not taken into consideration? Certainly not. Of course, both of these children would be witnessing abuse and therefore could potentially learn such behavior then emulated when they are in relationships. Thus making my point that nature and nurture can and do work together.

Now, I am not suggesting that my opinion is the only way or that I am 100-percent on the mark. I am simply saying that from what I have studied, it would make sense that some children experiencing the same environment can respond very differently. Blaming only biology or only environment for a child’s behavior can seem quite unfair.

While children absorb much of what they see around them, they are also born with millions of physical and mental characteristics that have been passed down biologically for generations. So I am wondering, what is your take on the nature versus nurture debate? Do you think one or the other is fully responsible for a child’s behavior or do you believe it is a combination of those factors at play?

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