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Modern Parenthood

Nature versus nurture: our parenting expert’s two cents

Our connective parenting expert’s two cents on this ever-interesting, ever-controversial question. And for the record, she's going with nurture.            

By Guest blogger / May 21, 2012

Denmark's Prince Joachim and Princess Marie show off their newborn princess on Jan. 27 2012. This baby will have a radically different upbringing from most of her peers. Where would you put a princess in the nature vs. nurture ratio of influence?

Joachim Adrian/POLFOTO/AP


Peterborough, N.H.

I had a really interesting dinner conversation the other night.

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Guest Blogger

Bonnie Harris, a parenting specialist for 25 years, is the director of Connective Parenting and is known for her pioneering mindset shift out of the reward-and-punishment model to a connected relationship. She conducts workshops and speaks on parenting topics and is the author of "When Your Kids Push Your Buttons" and "Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids: 8 Principles for Raising Kids You'll Love to Live with. She is the mother of two grown children and lives with her husband in New Hampshire. Click here to learn more about her.

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A friend asked me what ratio I would put on the old nature versus nurture argument. Everyone chipped in their opinions, and it led to a very lively discussion.

Even though the topic was the content of my masters thesis, I hadn’t thought about how I would rate each side’s importance in a  child’s life. I quite quickly said 40 percent nature to 60 percent nurture.

Even though how a child is born — whether shy or outgoing, aggressive or calm, introverted or extroverted, learning disabled, neurologically, physically or mentally challenged, gay or straight, etc., — has all to do with how a person perceives the world. But how the world perceives him or her has all to do with how confident that person becomes.

Someone born with musical talent for instance, will have way more of a struggle in life reaching his potential if his personal world devalues artistic achievement than one with support and encouragement. A child with ADHD will have a far easier time in life if her environment understands her innate tendencies and gives her appropriate structure in which to understand herself. One’s self-confidence is paramount in determining whether or not that person reaches potential.

It is for this reason that I weigh in on the side of nurture.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best family and parenting bloggers out there. Our contributing and guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor, and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. Bonnie Harris blogs at Connective Parenting.


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