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Genes or Upbringing – who’s the winner?


This blog post has been contributed by Rashmi Mantri, Mumbai.

A few days ago, when I was narrating an incident about my son to my mom, she replied saying that that it sounded familiar to her as I used to do the same thing. This fact made me understand the reason for so many habits and actions of my children. It also got me worried because along with some of my good habits my son has inherited many of my shortcomings too. How I wish I can change this…. although, I love seeing a picture of myself in my kids, I would be happier if they are better than me.

Then, when I  saw the following image circulating on Facebook gathering numerous ‘likes’, it  proved just how many of us could relate with it. The picture reflects the fact that our children are a copy of us. Blame it on genetic disposition or ingrained customs, children’s inherit their habits, body structure, be it good or bad, from their parents.

father and son

But does this mean that children’s do not have a personality of their own? Well, not really!

We all have the ability to be different but we cannot ignore the fact that the genes and character traits of our parents slip into our personality every now and then. Listed here are few pointers that can help you override the genetics of your kids and bring out their uniqueness.

Be a role model

Children are good observers and as it is often heard “what they see is what they do”. Hence, it becomes very important for a parent to be a role model to their children. If you happen to be aggressive and do not want your child to be the same, your behavior has to be gentle. Never let your emotions overpower you. You have to always remember that you are the most important influence on your child. Take for example reading…. You want your child to be a good reader and know that it will help him. Instead of criticising him you should get him books of his interest for him to start liking to read.

Start early

Do not wait for a particular time to start the change, as they say anytime is a good time. Children’s brains are more flexible than an adult brain. Let’s say you have a family history of obesity, you should teach your child healthy eating habits right from his childhood. You can do so by explaining to your child the consequences of choosing the right food. The fact that you may be genetically inclined toward gaining excess weight does not mean you’re destined to be obese. Your diet can alter the genetic expression of those genes! Studies suggest that your habits are more important than your genes. Develop a healthy lifestyle and good habits.

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ParentEdge is a bi-monthly magazine for discerning Indian parents who would like to actively contribute to their children’s education, intellectual enrichment and stimulation. The magazine’s premise is that learning is a continuous process, and needs to happen both in and outside of school; thus parents have an important role to play in shaping their children’s interests and intellect.


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