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Does parenting make a difference?


Author's Note: Does parenting make a difference?

As a kid, family and friends commonly commented on how much I favored my dad. We're both tall brunettes with brown eyes to boot and similar senses of humor. Reaching the teen years, I began to notice certain aspects of my personality and temperament that mirrored my father's as well. Then a couple years ago, out of nowhere it seemed, hints of my mother began to pop up in certain speech patterns and behavioral traits. While I'm no carbon copy of my folks, my adult self is clearly a product of their combined genes.

With that in mind, the research on how closely kids will turn out like their parents was especially compelling to me. For years, psychologists and scientists have argued back and forth over whether nature or nurture makes a bigger difference in child development, and not surprisingly, neither side has emerged the victor because it's a wild cocktail of both genes and parental intervention -- along with a host of other chance factors, such as geography, socioeconomics and peer groups -- that helps determine what type of adult a baby will mature into. But even with the knowledge that my brown hair and eyes are biological results of DNA, which has also contributed to my personality traits, I still prefer to link those aspects of myself back to my parents, like small mementos they passed along my way.

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