Personality Development of Children: Who Matters More? Essay

1674 Words Mar 22nd, 2011 7 Pages
Personality development of children: Who Matters More?
Judith Harris and John Bowlby

The impact of parents on child development has been a major matter among developmental psychologists who have been trying to find a direct link between parental activities and the personality development of children. The nature vs. nurture debate remains vital and keeps the world of developmental and clinical psychology polarized for a long time now (Encyclopedia.com).
There are various factors that affect child development. “What happens during the prenatal period and the earliest months”, says Hutchinson (2008) “sets the stage for the journey through childhood, adolescence and adulthood”. When talking about child development, one needs to take
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Harris (1998) believes that actions of parents do not affect their child’s behavior, mental health, personality or character. It is the child’s peers that are most influential. Children and teens, points out Harris, tend to learn behaviors and social interactions more from their peers in social group than their parents. It is true, says Harris, that children imitate their parents, by “tailoring” their behavior after same-sex parent. But the knowledge children gain from their parents is often seen as “outdated” or “embarrassing”. For that reason, children prefer to rely on and conform to their peers because they want to fit in with people that have similar interests.
In her book, Harris (1998) tries to debunk the “nature vs. nurture” theory, according to which nature provides us with predetermined abilities and traits, while nurture shapes these genetic predispositions as we learn and mature. The common assumption says Harris, is the “nurture assumption” when child’s development is equally affected by genes and the parental upbringing. Harris contradicts this belief by offering view that parents do not spend sufficient amount of time or talk to their children enough to make a lasting impression. Still, she says, children “remain emotionally attached to their parents” and they rely on parents when comes to basic needs: food, shelter, protection, comfort and advice. Yet again, it is the

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