Nature or nurture?
It’s something I love to think about, and I wish there was a way of separating the two. Then I could take some credit for some of my parenting successes, and learn more quickly from my mistakes. The ability to discover which personality traits are created by circumstance or situation, and which ones are there because of DNA and connections in our brains. It would be revealing, that’s for sure! Would our boys be completely different people if they had been born in a different order? I really don’t know, but I love to think about it.
Does Winston talk a lot because I’ve always talked to him a lot? or would you naturally have been very chatty any way? Jared was a chatty toddler – maybe that’s it. Or did he notice when people called him ‘a chatty toddler’ and try to live up to it?
Is Ru cheekier than Winston because he’s a second child and learnt a thing or two? Or was he born that way?
Is Otto our most content baby because we have learned some lessons, or is he just naturally more laid back? O has completely different parents compared to when Winston was a newborn – we have changed a lot.
Does Winston like drawing and writing because the pens and pencils have always been within his reach? Or would this have been his favourite thing anyway? I would love to know.
Rufus can be a difficult child to discipline. He thinks it’s funny when he gets told off, and he verges on unbribeable. He has a fearlessness that Win didn’t at his age. Is this learned, or inherent?
Is Winston creative because I am and that’s what I like to do with him? Or does he do it with me because he knows I like it? Or because he wants to please me? I don’t know.
Is Otto our most socialable baby because that’s what he’s used to? because he’s already met a lot of different people? because he was born surrounded by noise and two brothers. Will he always be our most sociable child?
Does Ru like playing by himself to avoid clashing with Winston, because he enjoys the peace and quiet, or just because he prefers it? Has this developed out of necessity, or does he just enjoy being alone?
Is Winston impatient because I can sometimes be very impatient with him? and does he shout because sometimes I shout at him out of frustration? Probably yes to both of those.
Ru has always been more wary of new people – he’s in friendships for the long run, not for the short run. Will this always be the case?
Is this something you think about a lot, and what do you wonder about the most?
I really enjoyed this post Esther. I think it’s a mixture of both . Great thoughts and questions.
Thanks Angela. Glad you enjoyed it x
I think it’s definitely a combination of both! Probably more down to nurture though – I think we rub off on our children more than we think. Maybe 60/40 ?
I agree! More nurture. I watched a programme on twins and it said that health is 75% nurture, 25% nature. How amazing is that? x
Ooh good questions! I don’t know any of the answers I’m afraid, but I suspect it’s all a bit of both. I can usually spot the personality traits in my two that have been caused by their environment. For example Lia has the world’s worst temper, but she has to stand up for herself when Libby picks on her so I think that’s what has caused it.
I agree – a combination of everything…including us, the parents. Lovely example too – so true xx
I am downright obsessed sometimes with what traits my children have that have come from either one of us by nature or by the way we have raised them. And ever since having a third I’m also really intrigued by the affect of birth order. Funnily enough you could have been describing my exact children as you talked about your three. Dylan is my oldest, he is very talkative, bright, keen to put pen to paper and also quite impatient and likes to have me involved in everything. Everly sounds just like your Rufus (aside from the fact she can sometimes be really fearless and at other times a total wimp) like, seriously they sound a bit like twins! And my littlest one Ashlyn is just the most chilled, sociable, happy little thing I’ve ever met; as you say she’s definitely had different parents from the first time around, so I wonder if that’s part of it. But from reading this I would definitely say that birth order plays a big part in how our children turn out. I’d dare to say you couldn’t detangle what they were born with from what they have learnt, because parenting evolves depending on the child too. Really interesting post, thanks so much for sharing.
Impatient and involved sounds exactly like my eldest too! and Ru can decide to be a total wimp too – although sometimes he just wants to be different I think and not do what he’s told. How funny that our thirds are sociable? I guess they have to be. I’m number 5 of eleven…and I would be so different if I’d been born 1st or last I think. I’m happy to be in the middle though! xx
I think about this loads, especially as the twins seem so much more laid back than Lucas was, I do wonder if that is just because we knew what we were doing second time round. I like what you’d said about being completely different parents to O, everything was so different with the twins because they were are second but because we had two as well, I think it limited us more with some things. I’m not sure how much it affected them though, they are all so different I do think a lot of it is nature. I don’t think we’ll ever really know 🙂 xx
I feel exactly the same. I felt so stressed with my first and feel like the other two were so chilled…but I think a lot of it was me. Nature is very apparent when they’re toddlers I think, when all emotions are raw and unbridled. I annoy myself thinking about it. It’s so fascinating! xx
Love this Esther – I remember writing an essay on the topic for my baby yoga qualification and have always been fascinated by these theories. I do believe we never can truly know but it is good to think about and even look at our influence on them. I often ask when E is being so rude and defiant “where has that come from” and then all I say about A since she was born is how chilled and placid she is…is that where she comes in the line? that she has little choice but to be or is it her personality ahha so many thoughts arent there. Megs reminds us of Lydia in lots of ways and they mesh so well too so that could be nature who knows x
I really don’t know! But I do love thinking about it. I do think the third has no choice though! Ru was born cuddly, and Win was born strong willed. Those two I know are nature! and that’s about it! xx
I think about this quite a lot too. I often look at our children, so patient and polite in restaurants, so sociable with strangers when we’re out and about and so friendly to everyone. They are so easy going, so nice to be around and I wonder whether I have ticked all those magic parenting boxes, whether I have ‘made’ the children this way or if that’s just the way they were destined to be. Another lovely post Esther x
Donna! You definitely sound like you have the magical formula. Yours sound like angels and I love how you used the word destiny. Patience is one my eldest does that currently possess…hopefully it can be learned! x
Definitely a combo but having had twins with identical DNA, I now believe nature has much more to do with it than previously thought. They are totally different personalities and always have been from very early on. I enjoy observing how different my children are. I felt stressed with my first child because it was all new, but he’s turned out pretty chilled. I have found two at once full on – and isolating, which often comes with multiples!