Author Topic: Nature Versus Nurture Debate For A Child's Various Traits  (Read 16565 times)

Sam

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Nature Versus Nurture Debate For A Child's Various Traits
« on: July 26, 2018, 12:14:04 PM »
Howdy Folks,

I was talking to a parent of a 14, 9, and 2.5 year old and he said he believes Nature (biology, genetics) is by far the predominant factor for intelligence, personality, and achievement. He assigned a 70% - 100% Nature weighting.

He told me for example that he and his wife went to Harvard, and their 14 year old is not that bright. They tried to nurture her into being highly academic, but couldn't. Therefore, he also believes children don't inherit a parent's intelligence, although their second daughter seems pretty smart.

Another thing he said was that you can tell by the age of 4 - 5 the general intelligence of your child. What do you think?

Regards,

Sam (relatively new dad)
Regards,

Sam

sfpf

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Re: Nature Versus Nurture Debate For A Child's Various Traits
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2018, 02:01:06 PM »
Ah yes the nature vs nurture debate. We will never really know for sure but my opinion is 50%/50%.

Jamie

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Re: Nature Versus Nurture Debate For A Child's Various Traits
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2018, 05:43:01 PM »
That's quite an interesting perspective from that parent. I read an article on Scientific American that claims genes impact about half of intelligence and the other half is environmental. It wouldn't surprise me if it's somewhat higher or lower in different people since so many things are variable. And it's one of those things that's so hard to quantify. My brother and I are about the same in intellect I guess based on our grades in school and career paths. Although I'd like to think I'm smarter than him, ha.  ;)

jekamom

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Re: Nature Versus Nurture Debate For A Child's Various Traits
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2018, 11:17:48 AM »
Kids are all different.  Some are smart but can't tap into it.  Need glasses? Obviously can't have an easy time learning from everything going on.  Hard of hearing--how do you learn to read and talk?  Smart but not stimulated?  Afraid? then the energy and resources go into finding ways to be safe.  Hungry?  you would be distracted.  Ill? your body works to cope with basic stuff like healing and breathing. 
Some kids are born with thier antennas up, and will pick up everything in spite of some of those distractions.  Helen Keller was brilliant, but someone still had to reach in to where she was. 
And do we need them to be smart according to the infallible measures we have?  Would we rather we know they can work for what they want, that they can stick to a worthwhile task, that they are KIND to themselves and others, and they don't crumble if they hit an obstacle?

defomcduff

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Re: Nature Versus Nurture Debate For A Child's Various Traits
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2018, 06:22:55 PM »
The best book I've read on this is by economist Bryan Caplan, Selfish Reasons To Have More Kids, where he outlines a ton of twin studies and resulting implications for nature nurture.

Bottom line from the book, based on the twin studies (comparing identical twins with identical nature + nurture with fraternal twins with identical nurture but varying nature):

Nature matters more for achievement, success, income, education.  Let's say 70/30 nature.

Nurture matters more for politics, religion, behavior (drinking, sex).  Let's say 70/30 nurture.

Caplan has the (somewhat unorthodox) view that because nature matters so much for the things we usually stress out about as parents (achievement, success, income, education), parents should stop worrying so much and have more kids.  I don't know if I'd go that far, but the science is worth knowing about.

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« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 06:26:43 PM by defomcduff »
DeForest
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Sam

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Re: Nature Versus Nurture Debate For A Child's Various Traits
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2018, 09:48:40 PM »
Fascinating! And kinda a bummer that Nature is 70% of it for achievement, success, income, education. As a parent, you want to think you can do more to affect positive change.

The best book I've read on this is by economist Bryan Caplan, Selfish Reasons To Have More Kids, where he outlines a ton of twin studies and resulting implications for nature nurture.

Bottom line from the book, based on the twin studies (comparing identical twins with identical nature + nurture with fraternal twins with identical nurture but varying nature):

Nature matters more for achievement, success, income, education.  Let's say 70/30 nature.

Nurture matters more for politics, religion, behavior (drinking, sex).  Let's say 70/30 nurture.


Caplan has the (somewhat unorthodox) view that because nature matters so much for the things we usually stress out about as parents (achievement, success, income, education), parents should stop worrying so much and have more kids.  I don't know if I'd go that far, but the science is worth knowing about.

DeForest
EconDad.com
Regards,

Sam

Julie

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Re: Nature Versus Nurture Debate For A Child's Various Traits
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2018, 10:16:06 PM »
I think it is 60/40 or 70/30. My first child was born with a genetic mutation that causes intellectual disability, seizures and a host of other things you wouldn't wish for child. Because of this, I've learned a lot about genetics over the last 10 years and they play a strong role in everything from intelligence, disposition, health and even mood and mental health. Because we also spend a good amount of time with child psychologist, psychiatrists and neurologists we can see the huge difference that nurture can make. Nurture can help someone reach their greatest potential. All that to say that I feel nature determines potential and nurture or lack thereof often times (not all) determines where someone may land on that potential. Also, I just watched Far From the Tree, highly recommend.

defomcduff

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Re: Nature Versus Nurture Debate For A Child's Various Traits
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2018, 06:53:38 AM »
Despite what some of the social science data show, it still *feels* like we have an impact as parents.  So we shouldn't ignore that, and definitely keep with our instinct to work hard raising motivated, high-achieving kids.

Both Bryan Caplan (mostly nature) and Amy Chua (Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom, mostly nurture) have valid perspectives, so we want to take both seriously.

All just trying to do our best as parents!
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Sam

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Re: Nature Versus Nurture Debate For A Child's Various Traits
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2018, 07:07:30 AM »
Thank you for sharing Julie. Whatever one's potential is, I do hope that nurture does indeed help him or her reach their greatest potential. Bless your child!

I think it is 60/40 or 70/30. My first child was born with a genetic mutation that causes intellectual disability, seizures and a host of other things you wouldn't wish for child. Because of this, I've learned a lot about genetics over the last 10 years and they play a strong role in everything from intelligence, disposition, health and even mood and mental health. Because we also spend a good amount of time with child psychologist, psychiatrists and neurologists we can see the huge difference that nurture can make. Nurture can help someone reach their greatest potential. All that to say that I feel nature determines potential and nurture or lack thereof often times (not all) determines where someone may land on that potential. Also, I just watched Far From the Tree, highly recommend.
Regards,

Sam

Sam

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Re: Nature Versus Nurture Debate For A Child's Various Traits
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2018, 07:09:17 AM »
Speaking of Amy Chua, it will be interesting to see what her daughters do after Harvard and Yale? I think the Harvard daughter is going to more school.

The thing is... with all that education, what exactly are people going to do with their lives that will be so special?

Related: https://www.financialsamurai.com/what-if-you-go-to-harvard-and-end-up-a-nobody/


Despite what some of the social science data show, it still *feels* like we have an impact as parents.  So we shouldn't ignore that, and definitely keep with our instinct to work hard raising motivated, high-achieving kids.

Both Bryan Caplan (mostly nature) and Amy Chua (Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom, mostly nurture) have valid perspectives, so we want to take both seriously.

All just trying to do our best as parents!
Regards,

Sam

Leigh

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Re: Nature Versus Nurture Debate For A Child's Various Traits
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2018, 02:28:39 PM »
I believe it is a combination of both.

Nature gives the capacity to learn and nurture gives the resources.

If you took a child with a genius IQ and gave no stimulation, no expanded learning, I believe that child wouldn't live up to the potential, the amazing heights should that child be given extra opportunities.

I was taking my kids to plays, concerts, parks, cooking classes, fishing, shrimping, beaches, mountain climbing, desert hiking all before they were ten years old. I believed in sowing into their growing brains as much as possible while the opportunity is there because once they go into that deep dark hole call the teen years, you become less of an influence.

defomcduff

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Re: Nature Versus Nurture Debate For A Child's Various Traits
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2018, 06:12:22 AM »
Agree, it's a great question, and I liked your article on this.

Fancy educations have value, if it's not too much of a financial constraint for the parents.  But not a necessity by any means.  Most likely they won't be as exceptional as their parents, which is just fine.

I think we'd all do well to study the liberal arts and humanities, to remind ourselves why life is worth living.  In addition to developing marketable job skills, learning to live is a big aim of education, in my view.

I'm not really providing a definitive answer but that's what comes to mind..!

The thing is... with all that education, what exactly are people going to do with their lives that will be so special?

Related: https://www.financialsamurai.com/what-if-you-go-to-harvard-and-end-up-a-nobody/


Despite what some of the social science data show, it still *feels* like we have an impact as parents.  So we shouldn't ignore that, and definitely keep with our instinct to work hard raising motivated, high-achieving kids.

Both Bryan Caplan (mostly nature) and Amy Chua (Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom, mostly nurture) have valid perspectives, so we want to take both seriously.

All just trying to do our best as parents!
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 08:50:09 AM by defomcduff »
DeForest
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AlexNY

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Re: Nature Versus Nurture Debate For A Child's Various Traits
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2018, 08:00:56 PM »
I think both come into play for sure. My parents weren't perfect, and none are of course, but they always made me feel loved and gave me a lot of confidence to try anything. Perhaps some of my innate personality includes having the courage to experiment and not be afraid of failure, but I think my parents definitely helped me believe in myself and gave me opportunities to try new things.

Sydney

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Re: Nature Versus Nurture Debate For A Child's Various Traits
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2018, 09:25:27 PM »
I remember having a really happy childhood so I'm thankful to my parents for that. The one thing though is both of my parents are introverts who rarely socialized so I have always wondered how much of that rubbed off on me and affected my personality. I grew up scared to talk to people for the longest time! If my parents were more outgoing perhaps they would have helped me build more confidence being around other people growing up. It's hard to say. They helped me grow in plenty of other ways though. Fun topic and lots to ponder :)

Captain

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Re: Nature Versus Nurture Debate For A Child's Various Traits
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2018, 10:04:02 PM »
For my kids it definitely seemed to be a mix of both. They surely picked up some traits from my wife and I, and also have other streaks of their own that seem purely innate or from their own doing. We did the best we could raising them and surely had our share of goofups and "oops probably should/shouldn't have done that" moments. I don't know what our kids would say about our parenting, but we tried not to be too overbearing or too lenient at the same time. They did well in school and have done well in their careers so we feel quite blessed.

Snow

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Re: Nature Versus Nurture Debate For A Child's Various Traits
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2018, 10:18:39 PM »
I believe it is a combination of both.

Nature gives the capacity to learn and nurture gives the resources.

If you took a child with a genius IQ and gave no stimulation, no expanded learning, I believe that child wouldn't live up to the potential, the amazing heights should that child be given extra opportunities.

I was taking my kids to plays, concerts, parks, cooking classes, fishing, shrimping, beaches, mountain climbing, desert hiking all before they were ten years old. I believed in sowing into their growing brains as much as possible while the opportunity is there because once they go into that deep dark hole call the teen years, you become less of an influence.

Yes! I totally agree! Nuture is so important imo at young ages. The teen years really are like a deep dark hole when all they want to do is listen to their friends and make their own decisions because "they know it all" and parents are so old and clueless.