A recent TIME cover … a three year old boy stares at the camera while he anchors his lips to the meager breast of his twenty-six-year-old mother. “Attachment Parenting” was the article’s theme and at least one counselor on Fox News informed us that the child was traumatized by this environmental exposure.
First, environment is limited in its influence because each of us makes our own environment. Such is true for worms, coral, crickets, and spiders. It is also true for your child who picks his friends, his favorite toys, books, music, and your lectures with which he agrees or disagrees. Or the lectures that he hates and swears never to use but when forty, repeats them to his own child.
This “unique” environment is constructed by the individual from the instant of conception and becomes 80% of the effective environment by the time he or she reaches the eighth birthday. This effect is so powerful that Sandra Scarr, Ph. D., a child psychologist, past president of the American Psychological Association, and a founder of KinderCare, commented that a child could be reassigned from its natural parents to any parents in the neighborhood and achieve much the same outcomes.
This view suggests that “environmental” abuse occurs less often than claimed by sanctimonious opportunists.
There is also a second factor that prevents such trades of children between parents. Nature builds organizations by making partnerships between similar things. Pendulums, traffic, clusters of neurons, and a wide array of other players form unions, perhaps because it is so simple and because of math about synchrony in fields of similar participants.
This second factor encourages strong partnerships between parent and child. Relatives look for mom or dad when they watch a baby. Meanwhile, the real control travels from the child to the parents as they seek ways to make him smile and they avoid the activities, foods, and adventures that make him cry. Each baby becomes the pacemaker for a pair of 150 pound gorillas.
This partnering should be most intense between natural parents and their offspring. (Adopted children generally resemble their natural parents more than their adoptive ones.) Parents are less interchangeable despite Scarr’s proclamation. Sync between parents and child heightens the peaks and lowers the valleys in each of their natures. Outcomes are multiplied in their intensity as each child grows into evermore of him or herself.
Where do some guys get their knack for feminine behavior?
There are about 1300 “identical” genes donated by a father and a mother. Research suggests that if the mother’s copy is active, the infant will have smaller muscles, more neurons in its cerebral cortex, stronger language skills, greater worry and sadness, less impulsiveness, and reluctance to explore new environments. It will also have a greater tendency to check with relatives and friends before acting. There will also be a greater reluctance to have children or to care for them.
If the father’s contribution is dominant, the child will be stronger, more impulsive, more territorial, and more creative, tending to scatter children everywhere, even if he is less verbally skilled. He will probably be less careful to take everyone’s opinion before he takes an action and while “creative,” he is also more apt to seem irresponsible and unpredictable. He can save a civilization or start a new one; he can also go to prison.
On the on hand, the tie between “genomics” and the presence of a clitoris or penis is not perfect. Hence, a culture will produce a scattering of “masculine” women and “girly” males. Such males tell you the network news and stress the good of collectivism and the evil of individualism. The males also tend to take Prozac, to teach in academies, and to vote for Democrats. The females become athletes, warriors, or politicians, and are usually happier. Mrs. Palin comes to mind . . .
Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and members of the Austrian School of Economics (Fredrick Hayek and Ludwig von Mises) were close to modern biology. They were also close in their thinking to Charles Darwin who understood the natural progression in nature from tiny things to large ones.
Kids train parents and grandparents but in more effective ways than used by chattering mothers. (Research may someday find that a mother’s patter has the functional significance of a leash for the kid and a tranquilizer for herself when she reminds dad to bring home worms or money.
Liberal‘s faith in “words and reasons” ignores the ancient match between our lectures and our individual natures. Words and reasons are the weapon for “principals” who are speaking merely to be heard as they build territories like a meadowlark. That resonance, however, between parents and their child extends backward 13 million years. It made cultures that protect that match and collapses those that neglect it.
Back to a Gay Outcome on TIME’s cover: Barney Frank, wearing his titanium engagement ring and a speedo, and accompanied by a four year old girl who chews on his bare left nipple. This image is just as sensible as the concept of “gay marriage.”
Haig, David & T. Moore (1991) Genomic imprinting in mammalian development: A parental tug-of-war. Trends in Genetics. 7(2) 45-49.
Haig, David (2010) Transfers and transitions: Parent–offspring conflict, genomic imprinting, and the evolution of human life history. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 January 26; 107(suppl_1): 1731–1735. Published online 2010 January 26. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0904111106 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2868297/?tool=pubmed
Haig, David (2002) Genomic Imprinting and Kinship New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Jiangwen Zhang, Brandon Weissbourd, Gary P. Schroth, David Haig, Catherine Dulac (2010) High-resolution analysis of parent-of-origin allelic expression in the mouse brain. , 329(5992):643-8.
Jiangwen Zhang, James E. Butler, David Haig, Catherine Dulac (2010) Sex-specific parent-of-origin allelic expression in the mouse brain. 329(5992):682-5. - Highlighted in Science (2010) 329(5992):636-7, Nature (2010) 466(7308):823-4, and Neuron (2010) 67(3):359-62
Keverne, E. B. (2001) Genomic imprinting and the maternal brain. Prog Brain Res. 133:279-285.
Keverne, E., Fundele, R., Narasimha, M., Barton, S., & Surani, M. (1996) Genomic imprinting and the differential roles of parental genomes in brain development. Developmental Brain Research, 92, 91-100.
Rowe, David (1994) Limits of Family Influence: Genes, Experience, and Behavior. NY: Guilford.
Rowe, David (2002) Biology and Crime. Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury.
Strogatz, Steven. (2003) Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order. NY: Hyperion
TIME’s information about its cover and story: http://lightbox.time.com/2012/05/10/parenting/#1
The viewpoint of an “abuse detector”: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/05/11/time-magazine-cover-forge...
See also: Charles Cook, NRO: Gay Divorcees. http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/299944/gay-divorcees-charles...
Also In Dead Cats, 5//14/2012: http://www.deadcatsandclippings.com/?p=1860