Do parents matter?

25th September 1998 at 01:00
Parents make little difference to the way their children turn out, apart from contributing their genes, according to a new theory of child development. Judith Rich Harris, a New Jersey grandmother without a PhD or a professorial title, sets out her theory in The Nurture Assumption published next month (Bloomsbury, Pounds 17.99).

She says that children identify with - and learn from - other children rather than adults. Her theory, based on an examination of existing research, runs counter to a century of accepted wisdom, but has gained the interest of prominent academics.

Researchers, she says, have been unable to find a link between the social environments that parents create and children's characters. What looks like cause may really be just effect. Parents don't create nice children by treating them well; children are treated well because they are nice.

All this lets parents off the hook, but it also stops them taking credit for their child-rearing methods.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now