A matter of nature and nurture
Development is affected by the interaction of our genes and our environment
Children don’t just grow; they develop.
Children develop through different experiences and by
changing their behaviours accordingly.
Each child develops in his own time. The developmental
process, which involves physical, cognitive, social,
language and emotional development, is something every
child goes through and is affected by any number of
“It is a natural process, and it is a resilient process,”
says Jane Hewes, chair of Early Learning and Child Care
at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton. “It also very
much is affected and influenced by the environment that
the child is in.”
The interaction of genes and environment, the
combination of nature and nurture, shapes childhood
Development begins even before a child is born. After
birth, babies are able to recognize faces, copy others, and
interact with their environments from the earliest stages of
A child’s genes determine which traits he is born with,
but factors such as relationships with family and friends,
family income and experiences determine whether or not
some traits will be activated. Experiences operate like a
signature on the genes, setting up later behaviour.
As a parent (or a caring, supportive adult in a child’s life)
your relationship with your child is particularly important
to your child, especially during the first few years of his
life. How responsive adults interact with children plays
A child’s genes determine their traits but the interaction of genes and
environment shape childhood development.