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How nature and nurture may affect the development Essay

The development of an individual can be down to different aspects such as physical, intellectual, emotional and social development; these effects can be due to nature or nurture or quite possibly both. ‘The nature versus nurture debate has been a classic controversy among experts for centuries’ (www.macalester.edu), even now there has been no clear conclusion as to who is right and who is wrong, just on-going hypotheses and opinions to add to the debate. Therefore the evaluation of how nature and nurture may affect a person’s development will be based on my own knowledge and some research.

Physical Development

Infancy is the most critical period for a child’s development. Physically a child overcomes many milestones very rapidly and it is said that they overcome the ‘norms’ meaning, every child accomplishes things at a similar pace. From birth to four years, physically, the child starts out unable to roll over and proceeds through crawling, walking to running; this is a major physical development. You are born with reflexes to potentially walk, however some may not due to a genetic disorder therefore it is in someone’s nature to walk but to be able to walk you have to learn it from your surroundings.

This example applies to many other physical developments such as puberty, growing taller and going through the menopause. Physical development supports nature and nurture as genetics play a role in a child’s physical characteristics as you are born with the ability to do physical activity unless you are born with congenital abnormalities which can limit or enhance a child’s ability to learn. Using these abilities you are born with must be taught therefore throughout your life you learn to be physically able.

Intellectual Development

“Parents are the keys to intellectual development for almost all children in the care and education they provide” (www.etllearning.com), this supports the nurture debate. Activities, learning devices, time and attention a parent or caregiver gives to their child in infancy can have a dramatic impact on a child’s on-going development and intelligence. A persons intelligence increases in a lifetime through various stages; learning at home from parents, going to school and being taught subjects, going into the workplace and moving out from the family home. As well as the nurturing of a child, nature also plays a big role in a child’s intellectual development as they are born with the genetics of their mother and father and they will inherit the characteristics of their parents. You are born with the ability to, for example, speak, read and write however you must be taught how to use this ability. Depending on what your parents are capable of, there may be chance that a child may lack intelligence or excel in certain aspects of intellectual development.

Emotional Development

Specific hormones can affect a person’s emotional development. As a child reaches puberty, emotions develop rapidly as there are a lot of hormonal changes; increasing pressure at school, confusion, sexual relationships and many other events that can have an effect on emotions. Everyone has to go through physical stages of developmental milestones which are linked to a person’s emotional development and it is nature that plays a role in a person’s emotional development which is certainly increased as a child reaches puberty and as a woman goes through the menopause. A significant influence on a child’s emotional development is parents and other family members. Children who are cared for and loved by their parents or caregiver will treat their family, friends and peers in a similar way and will see them as people they can feel secure with later in life. Nurture the parents provide will determine the relationships the child has in the future with other people and how the child will react emotionally.

Social Development

I believe that nurture is a big influence on a person’s social development as it involved the development of new types of behaviour, a change in interests and the choice of new friends and peers. “One study that was done at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School was on the effects that depressed and non-depressed mothers had on their toddlers. Basically what was found was that the toddlers with depressed mothers tended to have less social skills than the ones with a normal maternal influence.

It was concluded that the exposure to maternal depression may affect the child’s social development and his/her later relationship with his/her mother.” (mirandakalish.hubpages.com), this is evidence that nurture is the main influence on a child’s social development. From birth, a child is taught right from wrong and what is seen as socially acceptable, therefore social development must be learnt. However some aspects of social development may be inherited as your parents may have certain characteristics that can be passed down such as, being a good team worker, developing friends and have the desire to belong.

In conclusion, both sides of the nature/nurture debate presents evidence which supports its impact on development. Whether or not we inherit a group of characteristics that make us who we are, or the environment having a more impacting role on who a person is, everyone’s input on the debate is valid and there is a lot of research and information to prove the validity.


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