As a number of people have looked at my two sons and said they are the spitting image of each other, the age old question of nature or nurture struck me. I was convinced that my second child would look very different. Why? Not because I had changed partner as I was often asked during prenatal checks, but because my husband and I have very different colouring and nearly two years had passed since the birth of my first child. However, it seems that certain genes are winning through based on the very similar eye, hair colour and overall build of my children.
I had always been amazed that my niece and nephew (similar age gap as my own two) were extreme in their girl and boy respective preferences. My sister and her husband did not influence them in any way with room / clothes colour choices or toys – decorating in neutral colours when they were very young and the second child having a lot of the hand-me-down toys to play with. However, my nephew wanted building kits, action men and brown or blue clothes whilst my niece LOVES pink, princesses and pretty dresses. They are wonderful children and get on together like a house on fire, but they do fall into the ‘typical’ boy / girl characters.
So are we ruled by our genes and hormones? While I hate to admit that we are all a bag of hormones and chemicals, this is the basis of our biological make up. However, I do truly believe that the environments we grow up in do influence us in our expectations and approach to life.
Whether a child is cared for by one parent, same sex parents, guardians, carers or any other possibility, it is hard to know whether it is genes or external influences that guide what makes us who we are. Like the chicken or egg question I have a feeling this one will keep conversations and debates going for some time. I’d love to hear your thoughts / experiences.