Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genes play key role in parenting: Children also shape parents' behavior

Date:
March 20, 2014
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Scientists have presented the most conclusive evidence yet that genes play a significant role in parenting. The study sheds light on another misconception: that parenting is solely a top-down process from parent to child. While parents certainly seem to shape child behavior, parenting also is influenced by the child's behavior -- in other words, parenting is both a cause and a consequence of child behavior.

Playful family. A new study sheds light on a misconception: that parenting is solely a top-down process from parent to child. While parents certainly seem to shape child behavior, parenting also is influenced by the child's behavior -- in other words, parenting is both a cause and a consequence of child behavior.
Credit: godfer / Fotolia

Scientists have presented the most conclusive evidence yet that genes play a significant role in parenting.

Related Articles


A study by two Michigan State University psychologists refutes the popular theory that how adults parent their children is strictly a function of the way they were themselves parented when they were children.

While environmental factors do play a role in parenting, so do a person's genes, said S. Alexandra Burt, associate professor of psychology and co-author of a study led by doctoral student Ashlea M. Klahr.

"The way we parent is not solely a function of the way we were parented as children," Burt said. "There also appears to be genetic influences on parenting."

Klahr and Burt conducted a statistical analysis of 56 scientific studies from around the world on the origins of parenting behavior, including some of their own. The comprehensive analysis, involving more than 20,000 families from Australia to Japan to the United States, found that genetic influences in the parents account for 23 percent to 40 percent of parental warmth, control and negativity towards their children.

"What's still not clear, however, is whether genes directly influence parenting or do so indirectly, through parent personality for example," Klahr said.

The study sheds light on another misconception: that parenting is solely a top-down process from parent to child. While parents certainly seem to shape child behavior, parenting also is influenced by the child's behavior -- in other words, parenting is both a cause and a consequence of child behavior.

"One of the most consistent and striking findings to emerge from this study was the important role that children's characteristics play in shaping all aspects of parenting," the authors write.

Ultimately, parenting styles stem from many factors.

"Parents have their own experiences when they were children, their own personalities, their own genes. On top of that, they are also responding to their child's behaviors and stage of development," Burt said. "Basically, there are a lot of influences happening simultaneously. Long story short, though, we need to be sensitive to the fact that this is a two-way process between parent and child that is both environmental and genetic."

The study is published in Psychological Bulletin, a research journal of the American Psychological Association.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ashlea M. Klahr, S. Alexandra Burt. Elucidating the etiology of individual differences in parenting: A meta-analysis of behavioral genetic research.. Psychological Bulletin, 2014; 140 (2): 544 DOI: 10.1037/a0034205

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Genes play key role in parenting: Children also shape parents' behavior." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140320101501.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2014, March 20). Genes play key role in parenting: Children also shape parents' behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140320101501.htm
Michigan State University. "Genes play key role in parenting: Children also shape parents' behavior." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140320101501.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins