Which is more important, nature or nurture?

Business Leader Post, October 31, 2013

Thomas D. Davidow, Ed.D.

It is a tossup, but there is a major difference between the two: One cannot control nature, but one can have a lot of control over nurture.
A human being cannot survive without love. The degree and intensity of nurturing can deeply affect a child—indeed, all human beings—in terms of its ability to adjust and function in the world.

The Harlow monkey experiment involved three baby monkeys.
They put the first baby in a cage by itself, gave it water and food; and yet it died. They put the second baby in a cage with a wire “mother,” gave it water and food and it became schizophrenic. They put the third monkey in a cage with a wire “mother” monkey that had warm cloth around the wire, gave them water and food. The monkey tested as neurotic.

Another experiment involved infants in an orphanage where, due to the numbers of babies, the staff did not have much time to do more than feed them.  The infants tested with severe emotional delays in their development. They brought in mentally retarded adults from another institution and had them hold and rock the babies each day. Those babies caught up to their normal developmental stages within months.

When your children, at whatever age, falter or have problems, they cannot receive too much care or nurturance. However, don’t confuse love with acceptance of all behavior. Love without accountability  can have the same impact as no love at all. It will delay emotional growth.