Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Nature and Nurture in Child Development

Concept of Nature
 Both nature (genes) and nurture (environmental factors) play a vital and important role in human development.Nature can be loosely defined as genetic inheritance or the genetic makeup (the information encoded in your genes) which a person inherits from both parents at the time of conception and carries throughout life. Several things in an individual are genetically inherited, ranging from gender, eye colour, risks for certain diseases and exceptional talents to height. The concept of nature thus refers to biologically inherited tendencies and abilities that people have and which may get revealed later on as they grow up.
Dimension of Nuture
In contrast, nurture can be defined as the different environmental factors to which a person is subjected from birth to death. Environmental factors involve many dimensions. They include both physical environments (a good example is prenatal nutrition) and social environments (such as the neighbourhood, media and peer pressure.) Also, environmental factors have different levels of impact on human development as they involve multiple layers of action, ranging from most immediate (families, friends, and neighbourhoods) to bigger societal contexts (school systems and local governments) as well as macro factors such as politics on the international level or say global warming. These layers are also impacted by other factors outside them. For example, teenagers are exposed to not just peer pressure from their peers but also to parental ideals, community standards or ethnic views.

Interplay between Nature and Nuture

It is important to acknowledge that nature is inseparable from nurture and that both nature and nurture are sources of human potential and growth as well as risk of dysfunction and problematic behaviour. It would be easy to say that the starting points with which a child is born can be positively moulded and shaped by the quality of the environment, its emotional, social, physical and cognitive interaction with the child, and the child’s interaction with it. However, some brains are more easily triggered than others and may thus be more vulnerable to experiences they have. That is why attachment and how parents/caregivers respond to the child play such an essential part in building firm and positive foundations for the child’s success in life. That is also why early experiences of family violence, abuse, poverty or mental health are of such concern, and why early interventions programmes are so important in promoting and supporting the best outcomes for children where children’s starting points may not have been great. One answer to providing more effectively for children could be a much more self-critical, reflective and differentiated pedagogy developed through meaningful observations, noticing and recognising what is important and significant to the child and about the child, and responding in a supportive way. This kind of a good match between individual child’s genes and the environmental context in which they develop would mean a good early start. More importantly, where hereditary vulnerabilities and complex behaviours are observed, it may at least increase their chances of more positive pathways in life
 By :- Rupa Chauhan

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