Genes versus Environment ~

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Im a Believer, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. Im a Believer

    Im a Believer New Member

    I have been wondering what all you experts think ~

    Do our difficult child's inherit some of their "talents" or is it enviromental?

    Have a Great Day ~ Judy
  2. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    That is the million dollar question that many many experts have argued over for centuries. Nature versus nurture.

    The short answer (in my humble opinion) is BOTH. We are all the product of our environment and our genetic make up. We are also the product of our own grit, will and determination. Part of that is personality, but I also believe this it is partly due to decision making.

    We are complex creatures. Therefore, there are no simplistic answers to the question of why we are the way we are.
  3. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I think most of our children's issues are innate. My son was raised in the same environment as his older brother and younger sister. His choices in life have been his choices. However, I think there is something in his brain that is wired differently that affects his choices. Does he know they are wrong? Yes. Can he help it? I wish I knew the answer, but often I think no. Somehow I don't think our children, if they could help it, would live the lives they live. It is not easy to be "different." He rages, then apologizes. Can he stop the rage? No, not once it starts. Can he control it. Now that he is older and knows it is unacceptable, he can keep himself in check, but his reactions to simple everyday problems are often way out of line with a normal reaction. He sees his brother and sister living their lives and know that they are meeting success because of the choices they have made. He thinks it is easier for them. He gets that he is different. And he struggles everyday trying to make different choices. But it is a struggle.
  4. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    My experience is that nature overrides nurture.

  5. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I also think it is complicated and I also think the short answer is "both."
    However, lots of experience and observation tells me the real answer is that nature has an edge. I don't think many people want to "deal" with this.
    husband, I think has a good response...
    We have both an adopted child and bio child. Our bio child has some slight ADD difficulties. He has learned to cope well. Our adopted child has more difficulties. She has not learned to cope well....even though more effort has been put into her care.
    husband says that all we can do is help difficult child be the very best difficult child she can be. Much of this, especially since she is past the age of 18, will be determined by her willingness to put care/effort into making good choices for herself. We can provide some assistance, but she has to make the decision to help herself and be the best person she can be with what limitations she may have been given. Perhaps this is the personality aspect of it.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Both. With a dash of their own choices tossed into the mix.

    I've never seen a family so riddled with autistic spectrum as husband's family is. I mean......honestly, it is so much so someone might want to actually "study" them if they'd cooperate. Because so far, I've yet to find a single male without it. Although I can only go back as far as husband's Dad and Uncle from personal experience....and have to go by information provided by mother in law as far as husband's grandfather ect.

    They are with varying degrees of functioning as well. From severe to very high functioning. I'd classify my father in law and brother in law as very high functioning, as well as husband's cousin (although I think he's only high functioning in that he found a wife that "understands" and the perfect job for him) husband is in the middle. Another cousin is rather severe, cutting himself off from family and living as a hermit. Travis is moderate to severe. A nephew is rather high functioning. My grandsons whom I firmly believe both are on the spectrum....Alex is moderate to severe, and Evan is severely autistic. Even Darrin displays strong characteristics.

    And gee as I type this I wonder why I often feel overwhelmed with gfgdom. :rofl: :faint:

    As to the eldest generation I'm personally aware of (husband's Dad and Uncle).....nurture had alot to do with their high functioning. They grew up and lived during a time where you either towed the line or else. And the "or else" wasn't at all pretty.

    Same with husband's brother and cousins. (the cousins have the same parents) The one cousin did great, the other couldn't. Same parenting from good parents.

    With husband and his older brother.......Older brother did better because more was expected from him. husband, not so good because mother in law, for whatever reason, tended to overcompensate for his short comings.

    My nephew did well at least partially because he has an awesome Mom. My sister in law is a warrior Mom unto herself. :)

    Travis, we been told, is likely much more severe due to the brain damage than he would've been otherwise. However, I look at the other males in the family and I find it hard to tell. Although Travis is far higher functioning than any of his neuro's and such would expect to see. Alex may be more moderate to severe for the same reason. Yet, I've not heard of anything that would lead me to suspect as the reason Little Evan is so much more severe, yet he is. And K has been using my parenting of Travis as a model to work from for her own boys. Then of course there is Darrin whom seems so far to be only displaying strong traits, but not the actual autism.

    husband's family is actually quite interesting this way.

    I think we, as parents, need to learn the limitations of the dxes of our kids and to accept them. (extremely hard) While also realizing that no one is going to follow a textbook example of any diagnosis, so they still have the potential of learning to make the right decisions ect. (where nurturing plays a huge part) But in the end, once they're adults and our job is done, it's up to them to take what they've learned and use it.
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Both, but genetics outweighs environment. I've always believed that.
  8. Wishing

    Wishing New Member

    I think genes are a strong predictor but a vulnerable child in a bad environment is headed for major trouble.
  9. maril

    maril New Member

    Far from being an expert, I just wanted to share some of my observations to the point of inherited likenesses: My sister in law met her birth father in her 20s; at that point, neither my husband (her brother) or her had seen this man since they were very young kids. She marveled over the fact how uncanny it was that their birth dad and my husband were so much alike -- the voice, mannerisms, similar interests, as well both are obsessive about their vehicles (cleanliness). Also, with my difficult child: At times, he is so much like my dad was -- his voice, the way he says things, quick temper flares, commanding nature, moodiness; like deja vu (also, my dad was diagnosis bipolar in later years; questionable in my son at this point).

    Interesting thread.
  10. TheOnlyMe

    TheOnlyMe Relentless Warrior Mom

    I agree, but also agree with the socioeconomic experiences as well. My son grieves the rejection from a non involved dad, and a G-ma who is a racist and always tried to buy his love, yet she always used fear as her way of discipline. While I had my first BiPolar (BP) episode, instead of supporting me while hospitalized, she lied to me and told me she had a protective order against me and kept him from me for 8 months and continually told him at 7-8 yrs old, if he did not mind she was going to call the police and they would take him away to a foster home. I just recently found out she had NO legal right to have him cuz she filed the motion but it never went to court. She would also put down my decision's as his mom. by the way I am adopted as well. Then I also think the bullying he got from other kids, from a young age also has affected his social interaction ability, as well as the NO tolerance legislation in schools in TX. He would never through the first puch but when he had took all he could take with the harrassment or his perception of it, they say his eyes turn RED when he is fighting at school. So he has always been confused about defending himself due to equal punishment and no SS intervention as to the events leading up to the explosion and no at those times he would not advocate for himself, due to peer pressure of being called a "snitch".

    I do believe the studies which show some illness are definitely genetically passed from one parent or the other to the child. My son got it from both sides, where as his dad's immediate family self medicate and with drugs and alcohol. His dad has no perception of time and never been diagnosis. Both of his dad's parents died in their 50's from affects of alcohol. One of his dad's sisters is incarcerated for "crack".

    So to end this, I think GENES are the predominant issue but some life situations can have some affect to the intensity as well as the severity. Yet I must say that he has overcome a lot and has wisdom and common sense beyond his biological age.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    A sensitivity to alcohol and drugs, and a greater ability for addiction is inherited. My youngest daughter, adopted at birth, has a birthfather with substance abuse issues. We have warned her that she is at greater risk than some of her friends to become an alcoholic or drug addict if she experiments at all. A LOT of it is nature!
  12. TheOnlyMe

    TheOnlyMe Relentless Warrior Mom

    Yes, I agree with you and I also have warned mine of the risk as well as mixing with the medications he takes.
  13. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    I agree with Everywoman - I see this in my son. Soemtimes I wonder if he can help what he does - I struggle to understand if he can orn Occupational Therapist (OT) - it makes it hard for me - it also makes it hard for him - i love him anyway
  14. judi

    judi Active Member

    A question many of us struggle with. Our difficult child is our second son, 5 years younger than his brother by design so we could devote a good deal of time, effort and attention to both boys. He was raised in an intact bio family with only paternal grandmother having depression as a diagnosis. Neither husband nor I have any mental illness (at least we don't think so - lol). We are both college grads and are upper middle class where money has never been an issue. We were able to afford (via insurance or private pay) any counselling, medications, hospitalizations, etc., that the "experts" wanted.

    Yet....we have a 23 y/o son whom we haven't had any contact with in over 6 months, we don't have a clue where he is. If I knew what caused this, believe me, I would work to rectify it.
  15. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I think that nature has a slight edge, but nurture also plays a huge component.

    For example, I look at difficult child, Little easy child and myself.
    All on the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) spectrum, raised in 3 completely different family situations.
    - I was so far off my parents' radar that I was left to raise myself after my grandmother died (which I think did me much more good than harm, given my parents)
    - difficult child had a very abusive biomom, which has left him with a world of pain and emotional scars
    - Little easy child is growing up in a stable, two parent family, with lots of involvement from extended family.

    All 3 of us started out with a similar genetic profile, but then life took over.

    Just my $0.02.