The magic of genetics or the power of influence in our children?

Family genetics DNA

For all the rocky roads that are travelled in this life that is parenthood, amongst the many things that are so beautiful to observe in our children, there is one thing above all that is my favourite to witness – and that it the magic of genetics and power of environmental influence in our children. Otherwise known as the nature or nurture debate in child development.

As soon as your little ones enter the world, as soon as their features start forming, as soon as they start developing their own personalities, likes and dislikes, the magic of genetics stares you in the face with all its wonders.

It’s amazing how they can be the most perfect combination (or sometimes not-so perfect combination) of your and your partners genes. A stubborn streak here, a crazy streak there…or so we like to think…

Yes, it’s true that us parents do like to think that much of this is down to genetics and perhaps at the very outset, that makes sense but thereafter, however how much of this is actually down to genetics and how much is down to environmental factors?

Amazingly, despite the fact we love to put so much down to genetics when it comes to our children’s personalities, quirks, likes and dislikes, the influence of environmental factors is probably far greater than you think, with researchers generally agreeing that only 40% of personality traits can be traced back to genetics (read more here).

What’s interesting is that perhaps those personality traits we often like to think of as inherited from mum or dad, may not necessarily be so, but instead are more likely to be shaped by exposure to the environment that we have created around them, which in a way is often an embodiment of our own personalities, likes and dislikes. Of course, different factors come into play as they get older, and their worlds widen with  greater variety in people and environments.

With that being said, after hundreds studies on the personalities of children raised by adoptive parents, it would appear that adopted children’s personalities are in fact more like those of their biological parents whom they have never met, than those of their adoptive parents (more on that here).

So is it really the magic of genetics? Is it the power of influencing environmental factors? The nature versus nurture battle will continue on, but while we try to figure out once and for all if personality is really inherited or rubbed off on us, we can still marvel at the outcome, either way.

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  1. Very interesting. I adopted my daughter but people always tell me how much we look alike which always makes me smile. However, her temperament is vastly different than mine and her therapists tell me it’s genetics but I’m hoping environment will win on that front. Great post!

  2. Who knows… I think both play a huge part. I’m sure we pick and choose what we think depending on the particular trait we’re describing! #twinklytuesday

  3. I’d like to think it’s a bit of both! I know that Zach has my short fuse streak and I got that from my dad! Equally, when he is chilled out, he is completely like his father! And yet I’d like to think that the environment and the way we are can shape that! Who know, we can only find out as they keep growing! Interesting to think about though! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    • Definitely interesting to mull over! What you said about the short fuse coming from you and your own father is just like what has happened in our own family. I try hard to fight it but by golly is it hard trying to fight your genetics!! Thanks as always for hosting hon x

  4. Interesting. I honestly think its both. My oldest looks and acts like his dad but there are differences while my youngest looks and acts like me but with very obvious differences in his personality. They are both unique! Great post! I love hearing things like this from different perspectives. Thanks for sharing! Visiting from #wineandboobs

    • Absolutely agree – it’s a bit of both but it’s really nice to reflect on it and wonder isn’t it? We get so caught up in the every day that sometimes we just don’t have a chance to do so! Thanks for enjoying the post and stopping by 🙂

  5. This is fascinating to me, but also a little bit scary, as Piglet was conceived with donor sperm do I’ve never met his father and have no idea what he’s like!

  6. This is something that has always interested me, as someone who grew up with (permanant loving) foster parents. There are things about me that are undenyably genetic (my looks, and pre disposition towards depression) and othrr things that i can see is the result of my upbringing (my determination to give everything i try 100%, my love of reading and learning). Great post. #bestandworst

  7. Interesting post, I think it’s a combination of both. Definitely we are nurturing our son but he’s definitely got some traits of both myself and my husband! I guess we’ll see more as he gets older. Thanks for linking up to the #bestandworst hope you’ll pop by again! 🙂

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