You are here

Nature vs. Nurture: Related Post to StepKat's Intolerant SS10

tabby yabba do's picture

StepKat just posted about her SS10s negative bias against gay people ("they're crazy!"). A sentiment that is apparently not shared by her SS12 and SD13.

I've often said, "It's all about who takes you home from the hospital!" when I see a poorly behaved, or well behaved, kid in public. Those are time I think Nurture is at work.

But I also believe you are who you are, as my DD25, DS23 and DD11 have highly consistent "older" behaviors (now) that mimic how they were as newborn babies (DD25 was an outgoing and gregarious baby, DS23 was a quiet baby who "studied" people's face and was careful with his responses, and DD11 was easy-going and sweet. Today, I would describe them all pretty much the same). That's probably Nature.

So when you see your skids, or kids, which do you think is more at play: Nature (genes, genetics, pre-disposition at birth) or Nurture (how they were raised, who taught them through words and behavior).


askYOURdad's picture

Great topic Tabby!

I think there is something to the nature part when looking at my bios. I didn't know skids as newborns/toddlers so I can't really compare on that level, but, I do see that one is extreme extrovert while the other is extreme introvert and this definitely influences their behavior and interactions.

I definitely think the nurture aspect is influential as well. In our situation- bios live with us full time, they are overall pretty well behaved kids, they are normal and test limits but for the most part have good behavior and manners and are respectful. I attribute the majority of this to them having rules and structure along with encouragement and love. Their "bad days" are rare but almost always coincide with an interruption of sleep or diet (pizza party/birthday cake sleepover usually means cranky kids the next day) Skids, they are for the most part pretty good kids when they are with us. (week on/week off), transition days are very difficult as they have the rules and structure, love and encouragement at our house but from what I gather very little interaction/supervision the other half of the time along with a free for all diet/bedtime. After transition day they are usually pretty good. When there is an interruption during DH's visitation where BM is present, there is usually noticeable changes in behavior along with the same as my bios, lack of proper diet and sleep. All of BMs communication to DH is how they are grounded, bad, rude, etc. We really don't see that side of them very often, so that leads me to believe that nurture or environment are huge factors in their behavior.

StepKat's picture

In my case, the same nurture is given to all three skids but SS10 is lacking, a lot. I think nature is why he’s so far behind in understanding things, common sense and maturity. SS12 and SD13 are right on track and use their brains for more than growing hair. I’ve also noticed that SS10 is highly addicted to video games and WAY too over clingy. If he gets into trouble he will try to love on you (give you a hug) and then he thinks he’s not in trouble anymore. I hate to see him so far behind in his mental maturity.

HungryEyes's picture

Honestly, I think nature has so much more to deal with it than people realize. A PERFECT example is my fraternal twin boys. They have never been apart from each other for more than a couple hour at a time. Raise in the same manner, loved the same, etc. They are both 6.

Boy A is a loner. He has a negative outlook a lot. He's very smart though. Extremely bright in figuring out how things work. He loves television and computer games and video games (as little as I permit him to play) He picks those things up quickly even surpassing in skill his older brother of 9 years old. He can be loving and caring but he wants it on his terms. When he's ready, he will come to you and show you love.

Boy B loves to be outside. He would never spend a moment on a video game or computer game. He doesn't pick up on mechanical concepts as easily as his twin but he has the personality that charms all. He wants attention all the time and can't stand to be alone. He can be bossy at times and has a little bit of an attitude. He loves sports and is gifted athletically.

I mean they are literally polar opposite of each other.

It changed a lot of my views on nature vs nurture although I think both play an important role, I can tell you that we are both with so much of ourselves already decided for us as far as personality. How we learn and grow from there is up to our environment.

B22S22's picture

Both, but I think more nature than nurture for my two kids.

I'm very outgoing, but my DDstb17 is an extreme introvert and always has been. That's just her personality.

My DSstb14 is somewhat outgoing but is extremely hard headed!! I know this sounds crazy, but from the "nature" part -- he has many of the same personality traits as his biofather (who passed away when DS was 3). And as DSstb14 gets older, those traits of his father's continue to shine (not always in a good way... like the stubbornness).

As for my SK's, I've been around them since they were 8 or 9, now they're graduating high school... I think they started out with OK personalities, but I think the "nurture" (or lack of it) grew like a weed. No empathy, they think of nobody but themselves, acts as though standards/expectations are for others; and those behaviors are encouraged by their parents (yes, BM AND DH). So although they may have had the potential to be decent kids, what they've learned has kind of spoiled that.

Jsmom's picture

I think Nature is a huge factor. SD18 clearly has mental issues and has as long as I have been in her life, around 9 years. She was always wild and high maintenance, demanding attention. But, she was not parented, so these tendencies are horrible now. You get a lot of things from Nature, but nurturing, gives you the tools to deal with what God gave you.

BS19 is brilliant and that was apparent around 12 months. He spoke early and was reading at 3. But, we put him in Montessori, because my late husband and I knew regular day care wasn't working. They nurtured his intelligence and he just excelled from there. I have watched him excel at everything, but he is lazy at times and that is where the nurture comes in, I pushed him when he needed it and backed off when he didn't. Bragging mom here: he just landed a research position as a freshmen at one of the top engineering schools in the country for three years working on Stem Cell research and his role is helping in the replicating of the DNA on a machine they created at the school that can differentiate stiffness of Stem cell. Way beyond my intelligence factor. As I watch him excel, I gave him the tools to strive for what he wants, but clearly a higher power gave him the intelligence.

thinkthrice's picture

What I want to know is why are 10 yr olds thinking about gay and straight (aside from being bombarded by the media)? When I was 10, I was still wearing patent leather shoes and ankle socks on Sundays.

I think children grow up waaaay too fast when it comes to adult topics/privilege, yet they seem to be strangely lacking in the responsibilities that, at one time, gradually expanded along with adult privilege.

You then create, essentially, early maturing bodies (all the junk/hormones eaten) with toddler-like selfishness and impulse control combined with sexual/criminal precociousness. A horrific mix!

tabby yabba do's picture

IMO I think Nature is more prevalent as I've watched SD12, SD8 and DD11 (and also DD25 and DS23 when they were little) over the years.

I agree environmental things/Nurture things can "throw a kid off" for a while (lack of sleep, poor nutrition, verbal abuse, setting a bad example, etc) but in the end, it's who a kid is that sort of determines how they'll respond to stress/life long-term.

They say you can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle three things 1) A rainy day 2) Lost luggage and 3) Tangled Christmas lights (I love Maya Angelou)

Deep down we are who we are. We can tweak our behaviors, soften our exteriors, change our mindset, act a certain way, use certain words, live a certain lifestyle, but in the end our "core" is our "core."

Either we tend to be kind, or we don't. Either we have empathy or we don't. Either we see the glass half-full, or half-empty. Either we aim to give, or we aim to take. We love easily or we suspect everyone.

I have thought a lot about this my whole life - why did my two brothers grow up to be fun-loving, irresponsible, out-going hellions with big personalities - both of whom died at early ages - and I survived, to became a rule-following, underdog-protecting, more reserved police officer? Why did my whole family believe in rejecting authority and I thought authority was ok? My family always called me the "black sheep" of the family (in a good-hearted way) because something inside of me was so different (Nature) than the way I was raised (Nurtured).

For example....I see it every day in my SD12. She's learning to appease me by not always using her mean-girl behaviors to dominate anyone in our family or kids at school. She is more careful with her words. She is rewarded when she does this. But when she gets excited, or stressed, her old ways come out immediately, before she can regulate them (verbal bullying attacks, dry-humping family members, stealing). She seems to be responding to what I'm trying to teach her (Nurturing her to be kind, not so selfish, think of others' feelings) but deep down, when push comes to shove, she simply seems to lack empathy, lack feelings, and lack an internal mechanism that says "people matter and aren't here for you to use" (her natural state of being). I hope I'm making a difference, but truly - in my most honest moments - I don't think how DH or I nurture SD12 will matter much. She will be who she is. She has shown me who she is, and I believe her.

That's my two cents.