Friday, April 22, 2011

Parents Have Little Effect?

I wrote about this on Over A Candle, but there was more I wanted to point out that was specifically adoption related.

The story below aired on NPR's "Morning Edition" today. It is an interview of an author who makes the argument that parents don't have much impact on their kids in the long run, so parents should just relax. Once they relax, they can have more kids. I'm being brief, but that was the gist of the argument as he presented it during the interview.

The opening paragraph of the story (below) summarizes the argument. By itself, the argument would have caught my attention, but later on he explains his reasoning. He looked at adoption studies to determine that nurture had very little to do with the sorts of interests and capacities children develop, that so much of who we are is determined by genetics.

I can't help but wonder how different people would react to that? Would most adoptees say "duh"? Would adoptive parents balk or agree? Would adoption advocates be outraged? Or would everyone look at it as a entertaining, but otherwise meaningless, claim and just shrug?

I don't know. This early in the morning, I don't even know what to do with this silliness. But it struck me even in my rather tired state. And I thought I would share. You can listen to the interview at the link below.

'Selfish Reasons' For Parents To Enjoy Having Kids:

An economics professor has a plan for raising children: have lots of them, and don't stress about nurturing their potential. Bryan Caplan, author of the book Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, says that a child is helped the most if they are in a positive atmosphere.

. . .

There is a cheekily subversive tone in Caplan's book, but he makes a serious argument about nature versus nurture. He cites studies of identical twins who were adopted by different families — but then went on to live very similar lives — as proof that the influence a parent can have on their child is overstated.


Angelle said...

My son's birth father is a professional musician and was considered a child prodigy.

My son in musically gifted but was raised to mirror his adoptive family who did not nurture his innate talents besides "Oh look, Bobby can play all of these different instruments in band." They didn't know!

His son, my grandson, has been called a prodigy in music.

Nature, not nurture. It makes me sad.

Elle said...

Hello, Im a Swedish Korean adoptee. This blog was very informative, I stumbled upon it because of someone else's blog. I wonder if I might add this blog to my section Adoptee Resources ?

phil said...

Feel free to link to this blog.