Nurturing Nature

July 21, 2009

A group of scientists at the University of Iowa have made a huge announcement: it isn’t nature or nurture, it is both or neither.  My reaction: a big, fat, slightly unenthusiastic woo hoo.

While it would be nice and, in some ways, reassuring to have a clear sense of what behaviors and skills are due to nature and which are due to nurture, I have always wondered how anyone who has seen kids learning about and exploring the world could think it was as simple as one or the other.

While at first glance this may seem like a scary thing to parents- it becomes harder to blame that picky eater on your husband’s family- I think it is actually kind of a relief.  It means that we are involved in their development and growth, but that it also isn’t all on us.  We don’t have to hover all the time to make sure the environment is just perfect, but we also get to play an active role.

So I, for one, would like to thank the researchers at the University of Iowa for stating the obvious and helping to try to refocus important child development research towards a new and more complex approach.