Nature vs Nurture

Jamie Jensen

Our Take on the Nature/Nurture Debate

You may have noticed a theme in our books, blog posts, and content and that is this idea of sitting with children as they are instead of how we think they should be. So that brings up the age old argument of nature vs. nurture and how much influence parents actually have! I listened to a speech by Dr. Russell A. Barkley where he suggested that parents think of themselves more as shepherds than as engineers of children. That articulates so beautifully what we are trying to communicate through our books. There is no fundamental change that can happen in a child! Through nurturing a child you can help them display their true natures, but changing a child’s personality is impossible.

A therapist we’ve worked closely with and who endorsed “Shame Mud” said something along these lines: “The nature/nurture argument is largely fruitless because without proper nurturing the child’s true nature can’t come forth” (Dr. Kevin Skinner). So really all we are left with is to nurture the child! And we do that by sharing our experiences with our children and holding them close.

What’s fun is if you talk to an older couple who had kids 30-40 years ago they’ll agree instantly with this theory. There is no changing those children! They tried “e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g” to get their son to clean his room and even now as an adult that kid is a slob. They couldn't do anything to change that child, they could only nurture him and teach him improved behaviors if he chose to use them.

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