I had a really interesting lunch conversation with my colleagues the other day. One of them shared with me about her extreme nurturist friend, who firmly believes that the environment she creates for her daughter would determine how she turns out.
She is a perfectionist, I would say, and she never fails to create the perfect environment for child-rearing. She would fill her house with books, educational toys and nutritious food. She spends a lot of money in carefully-selected pre-school and enrichment classes to develop her daughter’s intellectual, artistic and athletic talents.
Then, everyone chipped in their opinions, and it automatically turned into a very lively discussion.
I was asked about the ratio I would put into this nurture versus nature debate. Frankly, prior to this discussion, I hadn’t thought about how I would rate the importance of each element in a child’s life. But my answer to her was 30 percent nature and 70 percent nurture.
Some parents fall to the nature side and they believe that children are born the way they are and that parenting has very little to do with how they turn out. On the other hand, parents who fall to the nurture side will think that parenting has everything to do with how the child turns out.
Five years into motherhood, I’m now more or less certain that I wasn’t cut-out to be a naturist. I’m not that laid-back, especially when it comes to areas like education and discipline. I don’t believe that my kid’s fate is purely determined by the arbitrary mixing of DNA.
Jumping ship to the nurturist side has some form of appeal to me, but I need to find a balance. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself and my family, and drained the fun out of parenting.
My personal opinions are:
A certain amount of attention should be paid to ensure that we have quality interactions with our children, because it does affect how they will think, feel, relate, and behave across their lifespan.
For this, I’ll rate nurture with 70%.
On the other hand, our children have both inborn temperaments and traits that drive the development within them. Thus, we should not force ourselves into a frenzy believing that their personality is entirely up to us. Life has an intelligence and mindset on its own.
For this, I’ll rate nature with 30%.
In my parenting journey now, I believe that we’re all a product of both our genes and our environment, but not forgetting that we have a great deal of control over our environment. My primary job is to enjoy my child, to provide the necessary nourishment and enrichment needed for his development, and stand back in awe as his innate intelligence matures him from the inside out.
Now, what is your take on this? 🙂