Nature versus Nurture

I've always been fascinated by the nature/nurture debate. Can you 'program' a human being from birth to behave and act a certain way or to develop a specific talent or particular interest, or are their characteristics pre-determined by parental genes, meaning they will ultimately choose their own path regardless of exposure to certain pursuits or activities



In reality, it's probably true to say that we are all part nature, part nurture, but which side plays a greater role in our lives?  It's clearly a complex subject; we are all so different and will therefore react differently when presented with new challenges, problems or ideas.

Parent influence

But one thing's for certain, and that is, during our formative years, we are all highly influenced by our parents.

If you expose your children to your own likes and dislikes it's fair to say there's a good chance they will emulate one or more of these preferences.

Letting children make their own decisions

You can surround children with things that may encourage them, but letting them make their own decisions without pressurising them is definitely the best way.

A good friend of mine runs an art class for 2 - 8 year olds and he has observed with interest that the youngest children can be kept occupied for up to forty minutes by surrounding them with art materials and a series of subject matter for example, pirates, fairies, witches, monsters or knights, that can be easily moved onto once the child has completed one piece. He lets them go at their own pace and if they lose interest, he lets them move onto the next thing.

This works well with other activities too; how many chefs have you heard reminiscing over the smells, sounds, tastes and textures they experienced in their mum or nan's kitchen? Many musicians also recount stories of their parents being heavily into music themselves or of being bought a musical instrument at a young age, and it seems many talented actors spring from an acting background.

So, next time you're rustling up a gourmet tea for the kids (!), turn the radio up.

Who knows, you might just be nurturing a superstar!

Jayne, Working Mum and Freelance Editor

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