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.

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 July 25, 2014 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 July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. 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:
from the past week

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