Nature vs Nurture

What makes us who we are today? Who taught our parents how to raise us? Did it come naturally to them or did they learn it from their parents? Many developmental and personality psychologist have discussed and argued about what makes us who we are today. What is nature and nurture and what is the controversy about it? Nature is what comes naturally to us, it is biologically based. Nurture is environmentally based, in which we are influenced by the surroundings and people around us.

The controversy that exist between nature versus nurture is “about whether development is primarily influenced by what comes naturally or by our surrounding,” according to Santrock (2012). This, in turn, begs the question: How does nature and nurture play a role in parenting styles? First what are some different styles of parenting? According to Diana Baumrind there are four different styles of parenting; authoritarian, authoritative, neglectful and indulgent parenting. The authoritarian style is a restrictive style where the parents push the child to follow their directions and set firm limits.

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The authoritative style encourages the children to be independent, the parents are warm and nurturing but still place limits. The neglecting style is where the parent in uninvolved in the child’s life. And lastly, the indulgent style is where the parent is too involved and does not assert much control on the child. With all these parenting styles one is still left to wonder on whether they are nurture or nature based? As stated before the authoritarian style is where the parent is restrictive towards the child. Children of these parents are sometimes anxious, weak to communicate, and fearful.

The outcome of the child of an authoritarian parent can be classified as nurture, because of the environment the child is encountering. As for the parenting style itself, it could be nurture also because, they, the parent themselves may have experienced the same kind of parenting. The authoritative style encourages independence, but still provides limits. The children of this style are cheerful, often self-controlled and maintain positive relationships with others. This parenting style can be both nurture and nature. It can be nurture in a sense that the parents themselves adopted their ways from their own parents.

Whether it be that their parents were as authoritative as them or not. It can also be nature in which the parent as a child themselves was always caring. Neglectful parenting is where the parent pays very little attention to the child. Children of this parenting style may think that their parents own life is more important than their own (Santrock, 2012). These children may not handle independence very well, have low self-esteem and may show patterns of delinquency. This parenting style and child outcome can be nurture. There can be a number of reasons why the parents give little attention, one being an over load of work from their jobs.

But the opposite can be said for the indulgent parenting. The indulgent parenting style is where the parent gives few demands to the child and lets them do what they want. They are involved but do not assert control. According to Baumrind, some parents deliberately raise their child like this because they believe it produces creativity and confidence. The outcome of this parenting style is the child might “be domineering, egocentric, and noncompliant (Santrock, 2012). ” In a study done by Patock-Peckham and Morgan-Lopez, they examined the links between parenting styles, impulsiveness, drinking control and alcohol use in college students.

In this study they found that a parent with a permissive or indulgent parenting style directly influences control processes and indirectly influences alcohol use and abuse. But to really say whether parenting styles are nature or nurture can be complicated. Not all children do come out with the behaviors stated. Why, because not only do the parenting styles have effects on them but also their relationships and influences of their peers. Children of neglectful and indulgent parenting may not have negative outcomes in their later years.

They can strive to not be like their parents and push themselves for better. In another study done by Kandler, Anlgeitner, Hulsheger and Spinath, they examined the genetic and environmental sources between the Big Five and major life goals. They used identical and fraternal twins across a 5 year period, in shared and non-shared environments. What they found was that across time there were mutual genetic and environmental effects between traits and life goals (2010). With parenting styles and whether they are nature or nurture it affects a child greatly in a socioemotional process and in a social context.

In the socioemotional process the way the child is parented can shape how well they cope with life’s struggles and negative and positive influences. And also help with the trying to define themselves once they reach adolescence. If a parent is not involved or does not set strong limits the child can become confused with who they are, their beliefs, values and even sexuality and it may lead to social problems. All of this can influence how well they do in school, how they will parent and relationships with others.

The development of a child’s personality, values and beliefs are heavily influenced by their families, especially parents and peers. As stated before nature is biological and nurture is environmental. Families and peers can be nurture in a sense of shaping a child belief of the world. So what parenting style a child is under can affect its understanding, relationships, and shape their own style of parenting, work, and the world. Even though not all children do come with the effects of each of the parenting styles talked about, it does shape them, so in a way parenting styles can be nurture.

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