Parenting is overrated – one of the worse debate I ever seen

In Uncategorized on september 20, 2021 at 7:17 am

Parenting was debated on Intelligence squared and it was the worse debate I ever seen.

On the one hand we had Robert Plomin (Professor of Behavioral Genetics, King’s College London) and Nancy Segal (Professor of Psychology, California State University, Fullerton & Director, Twin Studies Center) that argues for genetic against the parenting. What they are saying loud and clear is that *parenting makes no difference* but with lower voice they add *when it comes to autism or schizophrenia*. Nobody is contesting this. But they do not prove that parenting is overrated. The way parents nurture their offspring will not cure the autism out of a child, indeed. But to say that *it does not matter if you read books to your child or not* is as stupid as to say it does not matter if you have water or not, if you want to swim you will do it anyway.

On the other hand, Paige Harden (Psychology Professor, University of Texas) and Ann Pleshette Murphy (Author & Parenting Expert) argues for parenting. But they do not give arguments for parenting either. Because they keep talking about poverty and lack of resources in Africa. If you want to study how parenting styles influence child development, by all means, do it. But do not compare African parenting with Westerns parenting.

I will argue against the motion (parenting is overrated) but not the genetic. And that is easier than one think. My point is parenting makes a difference no matter what the genetical material is. It is a huge difference between symptom/ syndrome/ disease and functioning. To persons with same diagnosis can function totally different and parenting is one of the factors that make that difference. The environment (the school, the society, the culture, the neighbors, the pollution, the food quality and so on) is other factor that influence a child functioning.

Parenting and environment matter even though there is a known or unknown genetical vulnerability.

Parenting is difficult to study because is not so simple equation as researchers likes to operate. It is not a direct line between the parent and the child – parent A did a and that is why the child C did c. This equation is ideal for researchers. Life is not so simple. Life beats the any fairy tale and all the adventures you have seen in the movies. The child C has 2 parents (A and B), maybe some siblings (C1, C2, C3…) and they all do things for C, with C, without C, for each other, with each other, on their on and so on. And sometimes ants and uncles (D1, D2, D3…) live in the same house or they come to visit and they react to what A and B and Ci are doing. For a little child C is not so important what Di is doing (unless they act as a surrogate parent or unless they are intrusive or aggressive). It is more important how Di reacts to what A and B and Ci is doing. Later the child C is going to focus on Di too and on peers (P1, P2, P3…) and on neighbors (N1, N2, N3…) or other persons from reality or media (O1, O2, O3…). Sooner or later the Child C is going to be aware of society on the whole. And all this is not possible to study exactly. The interactions between A, B, Ci, Di, Ni, Oi, Pi and others at any given moment are millions even in a little community. And that is impossible to isolate and study.

That does not mean it does not matter.

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