A baby is half the mother and half the father. Mother’s egg, father’s sperm. 23 chromosomes from mother, 23 chromosomes from father. So half mom, half dad, right? But are the kids really half moms and half dads? Do they have half of mom’s looks and half of dad’s? Will they have half of mom’s and dad’s personalities? Not really. Why?
- For starters, genetic science teaches us that the child takes the dominant gene from among two. Yes, there are dominant genes and recessive ones. And dominant genes, well, dominate over the other ones
- Secondly, it is proved that most human traits are polygenic, meaning your child has a possible 64 trillion gene combinations open to them!
- And finally, research has indicated that environment in which a child grows up has a stronger influence in his personality than the genes
So, are we saying the child will not be like the mom or the dad? No, we are not. Genetics, hereditary traits and their correlations are still not a clear field! Many research studies conflict each other. For instance, some researchers swear that there is no genetic evidence that support personality traits being passed on from a parent to the child. Other researchers, on the contrary, show evidences of kids emulating their parent’s personality, nature and fears!
- Role Of Genetics And Your Baby’s Physical Features
- What Kind Of Personality Will My Baby Have?
- Won’t The Baby Be Like Me Or My Spouse?
- Help Your Child Grow And Nurture
Role Of Genetics And Your Baby’s Physical Features
“The child looks exactly like mom,” or “he is ditto dad” are common comments given by relatives and friends who come to visit your child. And they might be right too. Genetics play a huge role in your child’s physical features:
- Eye color: Remember we had talked about polygenic before? Eye color is a polygenic trait. The color of your child’s eye depends on the amount of melanin present in the iris. And what determines the amount of melanin? The genes. And a number of them decide the color
- Facial features: Some unusual facial features, like dimples, crooked teeth and high eyebrows, are known to be dominant features that pass from one generation to the other
- Height: This is predictable to an extent. Statistics indicate that if you add your height with your partners and find the average, you will get your child’s average height. If you have a boy, add two inches to this height and if you are having a girl, subtract two inches from it. Of course, good nutrition will play a strong role in your child’s height too
- Hair color: This is another polygenic trait like eye color. This means that your child will end up with a hair color that is a shade of your color, your husband’s color or a mix of both of your color
What Kind Of Personality Will My Baby Have?
It is important to read the above line many times. Most families are over enthusiastic to align each of the child’s personality trait to someone in the family. This is really a myopic view and it, believe it or not, restricts a child’s growth. Look at this example. Imagine a child is very shy. Now if you give up on this shyness, because her dad is extremely introverted, then you are refusing the child a chance to blossom. Just because the dad is shy, the child is not predisposed to remain shy throughout her life. So what do you do? Help her get out of her shyness. Do not force her, of course. But support her, give her time to adjust, help her cope with new people and new surroundings – the point is there are tons of things you can do rather than sitting back and giving up on the child, attributing the child’s trait to a family member’s.
Won’t The Baby Be Like Me Or My Spouse?
Yes, yes. We know we are contradicting the last line we made you read many times. What we mean is that whether there is genetic evidence or not, your child would definitely show traits of you or your partner. And there is nothing wrong in feeling proud when your child naturally exhibits your leadership qualities or shares your partner’s love for all animals. Remember, “no genetic evidence” does not mean that there is no evidence. It only means that no evidence has been found yet. Science does not confirm that a child’s personality is dependent on his/her parents. But science does not deny it either. And you know your child better than anyone else! So if you do find your child having a great sense of humor, or being the life of all parties, enjoy those moments. Have fun pointing out it is like you or like your partner. No harm in that. What is harmful is typecasting them, especially with undesirable traits.
Help Your Child Grow And Nurture
Whether the child carries moms traits or dads traits or his/her own unique traits, what is most important is that you nurture the positive traits and support them as they grow out of the negative traits. Whether genes play a role in personality or not, the environment definitely does! This means that a child, no matter how “great” his genes are, would suffer if the parents bring him up in a dejected and negative environment. Similarly, a child can flourish in a positive and constructive environment, no matter how his genes are.
So, in essence, enjoy the similarities. But do not stress too much over the genetic similarities.