Nature vs. Nurture

nature Students of human behavior have been asked countless times to define the things we do as either primarily nature (genes, brain chemistry, hormones) or primarily nurture (environment, learning, culture, and family-of-origin influences). The truth is that the Nature vs. Nurture debate is a poor paradigm.

Most of the things we do are a combination of our nature or temperament AND how we have learned to do them.

Parenting is no different.

Temperament plays a role in parenting: are you laid-back and easy going in the rest of your life? Or are you hard-driving and perfectionistic? Whatever your temperament, it will likely be reflected in your parenting style.

Learning plays an even bigger role. We can learn to overcome our natural tendencies and be intentional in how we parent our children.

Much of what we learn about how to be a parent comes from our own parents. The vast majority of us will simply repeat the patterns of behavior we saw played out every day growing up. A few will set out to do the exact opposite.

Neither approach is particularly helpful.

Every couple should decide on a parenting approach or philosophy that they can both buy into and then work to implement that approach as consistently as possible.

Nothing says “bad parenting” like inconsistency.