The nurture assumption cannot provide an answer to these questions. Harris notes that genetic factors account for about half of the variation in personality - I think most scientists agree with that, but her take on the other half is controversial. Harris argues these things because she believes the sons of wealthy British men, who have been raised in boarding schools for over a hundred years, acquire the culture and identity of their fathers, despite almost never seeing them. In 1961 she received a master's degree in psychology from Harvard University. In this tenth anniversary edition of The Nurture Assumption, Judith Harris has updated material throughout and provided a fresh introduction.
Indeed, many children show little correlation with the personality of their adoptive parents, and significant correlation with the natural parents who had no part in their upbringing. Culture, Harris argues, is not primarily transmitted from parent to child, but from slightly older child to slightly younger child. Parent's can help, of course, by making sure their kids have a good peer group to influence them. There was a tremendous amount of research that floored me. Parents have remarkably little power to maintain control over the adolescents who need it most.
Why does a boy who spends his first eight years with a nanny and his next ten years in boarding school nevertheless turn out just like his father? These changes might pose a welcome challenge to traditional forms of race-based group formation. But she cannot walk on water. People are the same as ever. The religious among us may reassure ourselves with the faith that these departures are only temporary, that a seed was at least planted, and that, by the grace of God, it will one day bloom. Fathers provided little or no child care; their chief role at home was to administer discipline. Want your values to matter more to your children than their friends' values? Indeed, whenever the author encounters Asian families and children in her book, her argument dissolves into a mass of confusion. Shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations.
Most readers lack the grounding in research to evaluate the validity of the inputs and outcomes in the research cited. These types of decisions seem unthinkable to me now. Combining insights from psychology, sociology, anthropology, primatology, and evolutionary biology, she explains how and why the tendency of children to take cues from their peers works to their evolutionary advantage. Parent's whose children turned out sucessful may want to take the credit for their childrearing skills, but it just might be that they also passed on their good genes. She then uses anecdotal evidence, coupled with logical reasoning, to support her own position. There is no evidence that the parents' behavior has any long-term effects on their children's weight and very good evidence that it does not. I cannot speak to how this book is regarded in the scientific community, but I found it enjoyable and thought-provoking.
How much blame when they turn out badly? Also, I can't agree with her views regarding corporal punishment. This book explodes some of our deepest beliefs about children and parents and gives us something radically new to put in their place. But as an academic book I do have some quarrels with it. It has nothing to do with the fact that children are ejected from the family group at six and placed into Kindergarten. The book is well written, and her reasoning and arguments are good food for thought. Why do the children of immigrant parents end up speaking in the language and accent of their peers, not of their parents? It can also be a school classroom. You want to know how to narrow the educational achievement gap? Perhaps I do that becau This book first came out 16 years ago, and for whatever reason, it's just as fresh today as I imagine it would have been back then.
Parents don't socialize children; children socialize children. But even if we accept that the research cited by the author is actually measuring the right thing--some indicator of personality or wellness--the book is deeply flawed. We want to make it illegal here like it is in Sweden. Although it may be a bit outdated in terms of a Child Development perspective, it is very good about reminding parents that we can't always be what we once were to out children it goes against the very core of the Attachment Theory. Big hominids have been killing other hominids for millions of years.
It's a strange concept, but brilliant. I can hear the helicopter parents descending now. Does that change the way we form our identities? However, her thesis is so extreme that it is simplistic. But let's give her the benefit of the doubt, and accept for a moment that her null no nurture effect is legitimate. This book explodes some of our deepest beliefs about children and parents and gives us something radically new to put in their place. Just in case my mother reads this and thinks I'm talking about my own family.
Why are twins reared together no more alike than twins raised apart? If you don't have sufficient variance in the amount of movement or a very small number of cases where the wiggle is sufficient to actually steer the car off of center , you will fail to reject the null that the steering wheel has no effect. And studies using more rigorous methods produce results that do not support the assumption. She is senior author of The Child Prentice-Hall, 1984, 1987, 1991 and Infant and Child 1992. She cites research that demonstrates group effects but not parenting effects. Why are twins reared together no more alike than twins raised apart? There was so much covered in this thick, large paperback that it is difficult to decide what group of people it was intended for. And, oh, maybe, next time you fuck a moron use a birth control.
That doesn't mean that Harris is correct about everything in the book. The book is heavy on concepts. And there is a fair amount of truly bad parenting out there. Have you recently read a peer-reviewed paper that you want to write about? The author explains things clearly and is often quite funny. The main thesis of the book - that parents don't have much of an impact on the way children become socialized outside the home that responsibility falls to the group they identify with - was very compellingly argued and backed up with studies and reason, though I did think she belabours the point a little too much.
Yes, some useful habits can be learned, but not useful enough to prevent the endless stream of disappointing sons and daughters of the elite. For the average reader, books like this pose a great challenge. In the old days, Freud and others blamed the mother if things didn't turn out so well, but Harris says, at least under ordinary circumstances, one's peer group is likely to have the most influence on how kids turn out. I was moved to pick up this book because Steven Pinker mentioned it with fulsome praise in The Blank Slate. One seldom sees a work that is at once scholarly, revolutionary, insightful, and wonderfully clear and witty.