Which one wins out in the end - Nature Vs: Nurture?

United States
January 9, 2008 12:40pm CST
Please leave all scientific studies at the door. What are your personal opinions of the genetic preprogrammed nature of a person compared to how the person was nurtured and raised? I have always been a nurture advocate. We all have dead branches in our family tree and it is possible that some of the bark broke off and ended up as a dormant chromosome in our DNA. I'll buy that for a dollar. But isn't it more likely that a person having free will and all can overcome such things and make the choice to be different, better, etc. then those before them? The reason I ask is because I have recently become torn down the middle on this one. By nature and nurture I should be an alcoholic. I should be poorly educated. I should be addicted to prescription narcotics. I should abuse my children. I should be perfectly happy to sit at home on my behind sponging off of the welfare system instead of gainfully employed. That is what I was exposed to growing up. Those are traits of at least one of my parents. I work full time for a living. I can drink without becoming sloppy drunk. The first thing I do every morning isn't open a beer and pour a shot of Jack. I'm fairly intelligent. I can't even take an 800 MG Motrin without falling asleep. I have never once raised a hand in anger to my children. So how did I get this way? I think it is because I was so appalled by the behavior of my mother growing up that I made up my mind at a very early age that I would die before I ever turned out anything like her. Now flip the coin. I met my father for the first time when I was 17. I look a lot like him. I have many of his worldly views and opinions. I have his temper. I have his mannerisms. How is this possible? What are your opinions on this subject?
1 person likes this
6 responses
9 Jan 08
Leave science at the door?! Okay :) I think it is a combination, if you are talking generally. It's sort of like this; nature provides the possibilities of what you CAN be, and nurture (or the lack of in some cases) selects specific traits from the long list that nature provides to make you what you are. Wow, that's a short post, but I really think it is that simple.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Jan 08
Wow it was short and simple. I have never looked at it that way. Thank you for my lesson of the day.
1 person likes this
@Fidget (291)
11 Jan 08
I agree with ShardAerliss, though I would like to add that I think 'Nurture' isn't just what we experience from our parents but also from friends, people around us and stimuli we are exposed too (eg the more a person reads, the more likely they are too think for themselves, not violent TV makes violent people but that's another discussion in itself).
@skinnychick (6907)
• United States
12 Jan 08
If your anything like me- you want to be the complete opposite of you mom- "better than she ever was or ever will be"- this is why you are the way you are and this is why Iam the way Iam. At least this is the simple explanation for it- you pretty much learned from very early on what not to do and were strong enough to implement these things in your daily life to be the good person you are today.
• United States
15 Jan 08
Of course I'm exactly like you, is there really any doubt at this point. LoL I have always said i had the best example of how not to be a mother and that is how I became who I am today. Thanks to my fathers stubbornness I inherited it worked well. LoL Nice to see you back. I've missed you.
@SViswan (12072)
• India
10 Jan 08
This is something that I've been thinking for quite a while now and even started a discussion on this....I'm sure to be seeing a lot more responses here though and I'm waiting to see what people have to say. I feel that yes, one does inherit certain traits from either or both parents....but the the ones that are not acceptable can be changed if you put your mind to it. I can give you lots of cases similar to what you have mentioned...my dad and his siblings is the one I know first hand. My dad has 8 siblings and their general views and opinions are very different from that of my dad (thank Goodness I'm not their child)...and they were all brought up by my grandmother (who was a single parent)....but guess what...my dad turns out to be like my grandfather! It's probably nature AND nurture and not nature VS nurture. Both go hand in hand and you can't really pin point and say 'This is why this person turned out this way'. And that's why we have all sorts of people in this world !
• United States
10 Jan 08
****RANT WARNING****PROCEED WITH CAUTION**** I just mentioned the "This is why this person turned out this way" excuse in the comment right above yours. I don't buy it, not for one second. I can't count the number of times I have heard my own family members make this excuse for some of my relatives. And then when I respond with "but I'm not like that and I'm part of this family" the response I get is.."You had a different mother. These are from your fathers side." Just keep piling the excuses up to suit your own conscious so you can justify the actions of people you can't deny being related to. (yes this is one of my buttons, sorry. I'm not speaking at you directly SV I know you said you can't use either to pinpoint why someone is the way they are.) I really have no choice considering my personal experience then to say that regardless of nature or nurture it is ALL up to the individual how they live their life. Since we are leaving science at the door I'm not getting into the "what if I get stomach cancer and die like two of my aunts" I'm sure I've been given things from birth right along with the color of my eyes and not having the ability to roll my tongue. That is why it is just easier to have this discussion leaving heredity out of it. I can't call this free will though because then I am taking a "religious view" on the subject and I would sooner poke out my eyes with a spork then do that. I saw the things in my family that I didn't like. I made the choice to change them in myself. And I didn't have a strong willed individual as a role model to learn this from. I just did it. Would you call this evolution? LOL I would but Darwin might roll over in his grave if I did. As always thank you for your comment and I didn't mean to use it as my ranting post but Loungeact got me started. Have a great day hun.
@SViswan (12072)
• India
11 Jan 08
lol....theory of 'Survival of the fittest' sounds right! Maybe that's it! It's how strong an individual you are...then you reverse all the bad traits you have inherited and if you aren't as strong...you just make excuses about genes and/or upbringing! so, it's not nature or nurture...it's Evolution or rather if you have the gene for being strong...there I just got a new theory I have to research..lol
@karan1563 (428)
• United States
10 Jan 08
this is quite a difficult subject to reply on , at the same time quite interesting . Wat i think is that what a person turns out to be depends on a combination of nature and nurture , in some its more the effect of nurture , while in others its more nature . this is psycology of humans i believe , and as said by someone that psycology is the only science without a definition . And all humans r like like locks which have different keys . So no one is same . In ur case maybe it was nature that u turned out more like ur father and not ur mother . Well i' happy for u that u r responsible and intelligent inspite of how you grew up .
• United States
10 Jan 08
Thank you karan. Compliments are always appreciated. It was nature that I got my dads temper and stunning good looks ;) but I can't help but say it was my personality and individualism that made me turn out nothing like my mother. I could have. It would have been a lot easier to allow myself give into an addiction, sponge off the government instead of working for a living, neglect my children rather than take an active supportive role in their lives. But like most things in life if it's easy it's not worth my time. I like the phrase, psychology is the only science without a definition. That makes perfect sense to me. Thanks for your comment.
10 Jan 08
For the vast majority of my adult I was very strongly situated in the nurture camp, but recent personal experiences have challenged my view on that. My partner and I had a child together, seperated for a few years (during whih time she had a child with another guy) and then got back toegther while the child was still under a year of age. Seven years later and despite bringing this new child up the same as our first, the similarities in attitude and behaviour to his biological sperm donor is rather unsettling. This whole experience seems to suggest that while we may have an effect on softening the edges of personality and character through nurture, nature is a very strong influence in a lot of ways we can't really understand.
• United States
10 Jan 08
You hit very close to home with this comment. I see my youngest son act more and more like his biological sperm donor every day. It frightens me to think what the future holds for him if all the positive influence and nurturing I do can't make a dent in his genetic make up. At the young age of 5 he has already learned how to be manipulative and his first instinct is to lie about anything from who turned the TV on to did you brush your teeth this morning. I have 13 more years to prepare him for adulthood and I can only hope that having me as his mother wins out over other negative behavioral traits he is destined to inherit.
@kdhartford (1152)
• United States
10 Jan 08
I tend to fall more in line with the nurture camp than the nature camp. Although there are a few traits that nature goves us that we can not help, there is a lot more with how we are trained and how we train ourselves.
• United States
10 Jan 08
That is usually where I tend to lean myself. Personally I feel that I am an anomaly. The negative traits I inherited I fight against with all my might. The nurturing I received for the first 12 years of my life sucked. I have fought both nature and nurture and so far I'm winning. LoL Thank you so much for your comment.