Nature or Nurture? What Plays a Major Role in Child’s Development

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The course of child’s development starts right at the time of conception. Is a child born with certain behavioral traits that will decide it’s future or that it can depend on surrounding factors both before and after birth?

Nature: At the time of conception a few biological traits both from the mother and father decide a genome for the child. A genetic timetable of the growth pattern is established which includes both physical and mental. Just as when you go to a classroom of first graders, you will find children of different physical abilities and sizes. Some could have a broad or small framed skeletal structure, different eye color, height, shape and even the temperament is the result of the genetic code called Heredity. A few dominant and recessive traits received from both mother and father are combined to form the genetic code of the child that will determine the physical appearance, intelligence, personality and socio-emotional skills of the child.

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With this many theorists lay stress over the developmental stability in the children, which means the verbal, mental and social abilities of children remains the same at later age. For example, if a child has difficulty understanding calculations in the early years of the childhood (6-8 years), he/she is likely to have the same difficulty in the later years too. On the other hand, some theorists stress over plasticity, which refers to the development and growth being continuous or open to change throughout life depending on the influential experiences.

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Nurture: While the Heredity may lay a foundation of all the characteristics of a child’s development, the kind and amount of stimulation, the environment around the child, community, neighborhood and experiences throughout the early years can affect the child positively or negatively. While some children might be restricted in their physical/biological abilities and without any outside help from the family, school and the community could not grow any further than their natural course in their mental and socio-emotional skills. However, if such kids are placed in an environment full of positive reinforcements by parents, teachers and community, they can really improve and grow much more than what they could without any such help.

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Similarly, if a naturally smart and bright child is surrounded by bad domestic environment or neighbourhood, they are highly prone in not discovering their talents and put them to good use. We see many such examples in criminal masterminds. They have extraordinary intellect and often outsmart the police. In majority of the cases such children have had a highly troubled childhood and had seen extreme violence around them. Only, if these children had got a welcoming atmosphere during their childhood, the story could have been entirely different.

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To conclude, I would say that no matter what capabilities the child is born with, high or low, WE: parents, teachers, doctors, neighbours and a community as a whole should encourage and support the child in every way possible. A child’s physical/biological limitations should never be an excuse for not working hard in helping them the way they deserve. For Nature is done with its job and now it’s Nurture’s turn.

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