The extent to which this is the case, though, continues to be a source of vigorous contention as each side argues that the personality is shaped more by one influence than the other. While the argument that genetics plays a significant role in the development of a personality, it seems clear that the parents play a much greater role in establishing the tools and skills the child will need to function within their particular society.
The idea that nurturing plays a more significant role in the development of a child is found in these children’s increased ability to function in society as adults thanks to what they learned from their parents’ actions. From birth, parents play a large role in the life of the child, teaching the child everything they will need to know to function within the society in which the parents find themselves. Through consistent close contact with the child, the parent is able to instill their own ideas, beliefs, practices and behaviors in the child while providing the child with the socialization skills he or she will need for interaction with others. As the first and most persistent contact, the relationship with the parent is thus the starting point from which all children enter the world. According to Jerome Kagan of Harvard University, “Parents who regularly talk and read to their children usually produce children with the largest vocabularies, the highest intelligence scores, and the best academic grades … Parents who reason with their children while making requests for obedience usually end up with more civil children” (101). The importance of this association is further highlighted in studies that have been conducted on young orphans who have undergone periods of neglect or privation as a result of their family tragedy.