Mothering.... nature or nurture?

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SeekingChange
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Mothering.... nature or nurture?

Post by SeekingChange »

When a mother doesn't seem natural and she's not a nurturer, do you think this is from nature or nurture?

My husband comes from a family where none of the women (mom and sisters) are nurturers...or as I describe them, "they aren't natural mothers." I know the impact that has had on my own children, as extended family, and I believe I can see some of the impact it's had on their own children, including my husband. I believe some of his high need for touch and approval comes from this. And in trying to understand my husband better, I am trying to understand his mother better.... what kind of environment does one grow up in, to nix what I feel is "natural" for most women as mothers, and that's the nurturer, comforter side.

Any thoughts around this?
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Re: Mothering.... nature or nurture?

Post by Crow »

SeekingChange wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 7:06 am I believe some of his high need for touch and approval comes from this. And in trying to understand my husband better
My mom was a fantastic nurturer from which I benefited greatly. She supported me every way possible. She was also very physically affectionate. Even as an adult, she loved to hug me and to hold my hand. I also have a high need for touch as an adult. I cherish my wife’s touches, whether they are casual or intimate. It’s like my brain glows inside when she touches me unexpectedly. I can’t tell how much is nature or nurture.
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Re: Mothering.... nature or nurture?

Post by Plumpurple »

I think it hugely nurture-influenced. We all have our own natural tendencies and personalities that you can see in children early on - even children raised in the same home, one may be naturally more cuddly whereas another prefers to run and do their own thing. But our patterns of communication, our understanding of how to comfort one another both physically and verbally, the values and beliefs about appropriate and opportune forms of touch, our response to being touched, etc. I would say are all incredibly dependent on the nurture side of things. And if people are open to change and interested in putting in the work, I think all of those things can be changeable in a person as well. I've seen it happen!

Another reason I would say nurture is that while I myself was raised by a very natural mother (though she also put a lot of work into being an intentionally good mother and constantly learning to improve), I have noticed a lot of mothers of my generation were raised in poorly-parented homes, but are choosing to intentionally change their learned behaviors and responses to be, hopefully, a better parent. It's easier with the amount of information and positive parenting sources available for free and on all media platforms now, and as people are hearing about other parenting options and reflecting on how their parents' parenting practices influenced them, they are realizing they want to go in a different direction and are making it happen.

I think the nature influence is that most everyone loves their kids and will take care of their base needs to the best of their current knowledge and ability. They may not have positive communication or behavior skills to be a "great" parent really, but on a base level we all want to be a good parent and take care of our kids.
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Re: Mothering.... nature or nurture?

Post by LBD »

I haven't done much study on mothers in this way, but I have in fathers - and there is a fairly definite link to how a woman wants or perceives love based on how her father loved her. I can also say that my mother was very much a touchy-feely type. I would guess her LL would have been high in touch. And she passed that down to me to some extent.
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Re: Mothering.... nature or nurture?

Post by footnassman »

Wow....good question. I, of course, have no answer. It is so foreign to me when this is seen and talked about. It is foreign because most ladies that I know seem to have that mothering instinct so innately.

I had a lady who worked for me for 27 years....she had two daughters, both of whom I watched grow up. Those daughters had the same mother and father and grew up in a stable, loving household. Those two young ladies married and both became Moms within a few months of one another. One slipped into the mothering role easily. The other (the older of the two) still does not possess it. It causes her Mom to scratch her head, the difference between the two daughters.

I dont know the answer....from this, I think it is in the DNA....or not???
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Re: Mothering.... nature or nurture?

Post by LuckyInLove »

I find family dynamics fascinating, so this is an interesting topic to me. Generally, it seems as though people (males and females) parent in response to how they were parented. Meaning, if they didn’t like the way they were brought up, they will parent in the opposite manner. So, nurture seems to be a big influence.

SeekingChange, I was most interested in how your DH was raised and what you feel has been the resulting need for touch and approval. My husband also did not have a nurturing mother (the stories he and his siblings tell :o ) but he does not like touch and I’ve always thought it was because he didn’t receive it as a child! I’ve often wondered why my MIL was like that and I’ve come to the conclusion that 1)she had too many kids too close together that she truly did not want and 2)she lost both parents to cancer in her teens/early 20’s and she may have put up a protective barrier around her heart.
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Re: Mothering.... nature or nurture?

Post by SeekingChange »

LuckyInLove wrote: Tue Jul 26, 2022 11:07 am SeekingChange, I was most interested in how your DH was raised and what you feel has been the resulting need for touch and approval. My husband also did not have a nurturing mother (the stories he and his siblings tell :o ) but he does not like touch and I’ve always thought it was because he didn’t receive it as a child!
I believe that our nature (personality, gifts, LL, etc) will help determine how we react or respond to our nurture. Things that greatly seemed to impact me as a child led me to do something different as a parent. For my sister, it didn't faze her the same way, and so she is similar to how my parents were in that area. But in another area, things are the opposite.

I believe my husband was created with that LL of physical touch, and because it was such a need that he likely lacked*, he has a greater need and desire for it now. (*His memory is pretty fuzzy, so it's hard to really dig, I can only really go off of the behavior I see my MIL
do now towards her grown children and grandchildren.... and typically, grandchildren are treated even better than children.)
I would guess someone like me, whose physical touch is lower, would not have responded in the same way, and likely would have some what replicated it.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years... and then she did something new.
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Re: Mothering.... nature or nurture?

Post by DoveGrey »

I've known many women who were not natural mothers. However, only two of those are situations wherein I've seen their own mothers enough to evaluate whether the issue was nature vs nurture. Of the two women, one is certainly a nature issue. She had a very loving and nurturing mother. The other is more of a mixed bag. She grew up in a home where her own mother was experiencing a good deal of pain from a terrible marriage. However, both of her sisters grew up to be very nurturing mothers. I'm inclined to think this woman had a natural predisposition toward being a hands-off mother.

Both women have strong narcissistic tendencies. I lack the psych PhD to properly analyze why they behave the way they do. One is unhappily married to a psychiatrist, and I occasionally wonder what his opinion of her tendencies is.
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