The Nature and Nurture of Child Development

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On the topic of nature versus nurture, one may find it obvious nurture has the stronger pull. Yes a person is born with the basic traits they will have their entire lives. For example the color of their skin, their eyes, and the blood the type of blood that rushes through their veins. This however do not determine who that person will become in this world. What determines that is their surroundings and the environment in which they reside. It is the type of nurture that they are provided in their lives that molds them into their own individual and unique self, Whether that be good or evil.

When a child is born they have no sense of judgment,no morals, and no knowledge of right from wrong. Those things are supposed to be developed through the education and parenting they recieve. A person can not fully understand an idea or metaphorical situation until they have actually encountered it in their own lives. Like in the story Frankenstein by Merry Shelley, The creature frankenstein had created had no knowledge of judgment or hatred until he had first had experience with it. In the book the creature has to educate himself on emotions and how to properly go through everyday life. He is the perfect example of how not only can you “parents” have an extreme emotional affect on you, but that the way society sees and treats you can cause a drastic change in a person’s perspective on life. The creature abandoned at “birth” and rejected by not only his own creator but the entire world as well caused him to change from a kind and caring being into a miserable sinister person. In the story he reveals his true feelings on what he believes he should be in order to be fully accepted, “ Perhaps, if my first introduction to humanity had been made by a young soldier, burning for glory and slaughter, I should have been imbued with different sensations”.

A child’s mind is very commonly compared to a sponge. This is a really great comparison because it is very true. As a child you analyze everything your parents or the people you are surrounded by do. This is where nature does play a small role. An infant will copy everything they see because that is all they have been introduced to. You naturally want to learn, it is a survival instinct most people are born with. But it is the people you are learning from that sway your mind set one way or the other. The way a parent raises their child can determine the level of self confidence and respect that child will have. In the book “Understanding psychology” by Nicky Hayes he states “children need adults to bring on and shape their learning”. As an example a person is not born prejudice but was taught that type of thinking is acceptable,or they have experienced something in their life to make them feel the way they do towards a certain (religion,sex,race, ect.)

There is another side of the argument where it is said that you are born with certain diseases or mental challenges that make a person the way they are. While that is true a mental illness is something that can be developed in time rather than being born with it. In cases such as post traumatic stress disorder or schizophrenia a person can go through a very abrupt life changing experience in which their mind can no longer stabilize itself. In the book understanding psychology by nicky hayes “ Whenever we are involved in any kind of sudden loss or traumatic experience, we experience grief and grief can be a very disabling emotion”. Your surroundings or events you have a first hand role in can cause emotional changes. Emotions have a lot of control on the mental state and stability of a person. If a child or even an adult is put through extreme emotional distress it can cloud their judgment or worse. Drugs can also play a role in mental health. Extreme drugs such and meth has caused many cases of severe schizophrenia and paranoia. Drugs also play a role in your environment as well. The people you’re around and their behaviour has an influence on your behavior. Many drug users get involved in crime and other notorious behavior. Children who are raised in drug abusing households are more likely to abuse drugs themselves causing a cycle of physical and mental damage.

Those who have had less nurturing in their lives are more likely to go seek out that missing attention and guidance they were denied before. This makes them more vulnerable to peer pressure and wrongful guidance. Weaker willed people can be very susceptible to outside manipulation. Many children whose parents do not play a real role in their lives have been reported to have more problems with behavioural and trust issues. The human mind is designed to be taught behavior, it is designed to crave emotion and connection. The way you are raised is your starting foundation to your entire life.

One of the biggest misconceptions about extreme cases involving people with illnesses that are beyond the social norm is that it is believed they were entirely at fault. It is believed they are born that way and there can be no actions taken to prevent them from doing the things they do. For example people that evolve into serial killers. A child can not have the urge to commit such a horrible act like murder until they are introduced to the idea of murder. They may be born with an illness that minimizes their sub conscience but they cannot fantasize about something they have no prior knowledge of. A lot of the inmates convicted of murder have had bad past experiences whether it was an abusive parent or a lack of emotional guidance that caused them to think the way they do.

How a person reacts to a situation is also a learned behaviour. A person is made to either be “proactive” or “reactive” based on their caregivers standards for their behavior. When someone is being raised to be proactive they are being instilled with more confidence in themselves and more optimistic towards everyday life. Yet a person who is being taught to be reactive they are more likely to have a lower confidence level and less motivation to find a proper way to deal with emotions or a tough situation. Reactive parenting is usually a sign of lack of stability in the household. Once someone is taught to think negatively or vise verse in their outlook on life it is very hard to lead their way of thinking in another direction. Self confidence is a big factor in how someone carries themselves in this world. That type of confidence is supposed to be introduced to a child at a very young age. Confidence helps when it comes to forming social groups and a person's willingness to put themselves out there. This may also affect the child’s chance of successfulness in life, if they have low confidence and are not willing not try in fear of failure they are very likely to miss major opportunities throughout their lives. The basics of parenting include installing security, confidence, and emotional connections into their child’s lives. Because children absorb all these key traits and accept the level of care they get as what is deserved. A caregiver sets the subject of their cares standard of what is acceptable and what is not . They teach them about morals and what is socially acceptable and what is not in order to teach them how to live in everyday life. If a child can not “fit in” with society's opinion on what is normal then they usually have a harder time developing relationships with others. Humans are emotional creatures who seek a connection with others and are constantly searching for some sort of emotional guidance. We are not perfect but that is because no person is, we were simply raised to be imperfect and taught to want better. Hopefully based on the text evidence provided it was proven to the reader that while nature does have its effect, nurture is clearly the stronger influence on the human condition and how it affects the was person will turn out in the world.

Work cited

page Hayes, Nicky, “Understanding Psychology.” Publisher: Teach yourself Psychology. Mcgraw-hill. January 29, 2010, pp. 343-345. Heaney, Seamus. “Beowulf: a new verse translation”. Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc. 1999, pp. 384-389. Karwowski, Michael. "Nature v. Nurture: an end to the war?" Contemporary Review, Mar. 2004, p. 180+. Student Resources In Context, Apr. 2019. Shakespeare,William. “The Tragedy of Othello:The Moor of Venice. New york: Doubleday 1985, pp. lowest-highest. Shelley, Mary. “Frankenstein.” New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Print.Wollstonecraft, 1797-1851. the 1818 Text. Oxford, pp. 93-117.

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The Nature and Nurture of Child Development. (2020, May 13). Retrieved February 22, 2024 , from

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