Nature vs Nurture in Child Development
Do we actually have control over the development and future of our children? With our proper support and nurturing, can we actually help them realise their potential and best prepare for the uncertain future? Or, are most things actually outside of our control and that genetics and other outside factors dictate what is going to happen?
Nature vs nurture in child development
Scientists and academic researchers have tried to answer those questions for decades. As early as the 1920s, there have been research papers about the topic (e.g. Gifted children: Their nature and nurture). Researchers have tried to figure out the effect of both genetic and environmental influence and which one has the upper hand.
The answer is most likely to be a combination of both. Nature and genetics might give a jumpstart or an initial edge but they might be for nothing without the proper nurturing and guidance. On the other hand, nurture and environmental influences might only take too far but there’s a limit set by genetics and built-in physical and mental capabilities. For example, even with the best of our efforts, only a few children indeed reach the gifted status and genius level.
But do our children really need to reach that level? Perhaps it’s enough to help them become more adaptive and have the solid foundations in physical, emotional, social and cognitive abilities. It’s also crucial to be in a place where opportunities are plenty. This way, children can fully take advantage of what’s out there or at least have options on which paths to pursue.
There could be dozens or even hundreds of factors and variables that help determine a child’s future. It even gets more complex because of the interactions among those variables as the child further grows and develops. What’s important now is to increase and maximise the odds of our children becoming successful. It’s especially important during the early years because their core brain architecture is rapidly developing. In addition, it’s their formative years where much of their physical and cognitive development will be based on in their later years.