'Genes, external factors shape a child's personality'

Published: 08th August 2016 05:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th August 2016 05:18 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: Ever wondered why a child grows up to what he/she is? Are the child’s personality traits a gifts from parents through genes or are they due to family conditioning? Citing scientific research studies, Professor R H Belmaker, a neuropsychiatric expert from Israel, says it also depends on external factors.

Delivering the 14th M V Arunachalam Endowment Oration titled “Why do children turn out the way they do? - A neuropsychiatric viewpoint”, here on Sunday, Belmaker, president of the Israel Psychiatric Association as well as the International Neuropsychiatry Association, explained that it’s more of ‘nature’ than ‘nurture’.

“Though as much as 50% of a child’s personality is determined by genes, external factors such as friends, teacher, peer group, TV and movies also impact the child,” he said.

Disproving the popularly held belief that family plays a key role in the development of a child’s traits, the professor said, “The overall contribution of a common family and environment component to the behavior of children is small and negligible.”

In such a scenario, when the child prefers to learn from his peers who represent the future, he advised that parents should ensure their children have access to a positive environment - they can make sure that their children have good peers and watch good movies.

Recognising that parent-child difficulties occur when the latter doesn’t act in the way the former desires, Belmaker suggested that it was perfectly alright if a child scored high or low on any of the traits.

“Parents have to accept their children as they are. For even children born to well-educated parents may not show interest in academics due to independent assortment of genes,” he said.

The lecture was a joint initiative supported by the Muruguppa group and Neurokrish Centre for Neuropsychiatry.

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