Personality Development of Children: Who Matters More?

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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…show more content…
By using the examples of her own family, Colorado Adoption Project (intellectual ability and personality traits of 245 adopted kids showed no similarities with the scores of their adoptive parents) and the famous Minnesota studies of twins separated at birth, Harris argues that “when there is no genetic inheritance there is no resemblance” (Gladwell, 1998). What’s more, says Harris, children from the same parents raised in the same household are no more alike than if they were raised in separate homes. Children, Harris concludes, “would develop into the same sort of adults if we left their lives outside the home unchanged – left them in their schools and their neighborhoods – but switched all the parents around” (Harris, 1998). She claims that there is no link between the particular social environment parents create for their children and the way those children turn out (Gladwell, 1998). Harris takes her theory a couple of steps further by suggesting that it is not the parenting style that affects child’s personality development and that when away from their parents children can recreate themselves. In fact, says Harris, it is the other way around – most of the time the actions and the personality of the child shape the parents’ behavior. Even when parents do succeed in influencing their children, they are more likely to bring peer influences home than share home influences with peers, as according to Harris, peer acceptance or
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