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Change Your Child’s Genetics By Giving Up The BMW

by The Happy Rock on October 18, 2007

mom-mommy-helping-daughter.jpgWe recently talked about financially changing your family tree as financial motivation, but for those of us needed some more convincing here is evidence that our decisions about money go much deeper than just dollars and cents. Our choices are crucially importance to our children and this offers early stage evidence that our choices can cover over ‘bad’ genetics.

The researchers “studied 109 children who had been removed from their parents’ care due to reports of abuse or neglect and 87 control children with no reports of abuse or maltreatment.” The children also had two gene polymorphisms that put them at a greater risk for depression. The researchers also assessed each child’s support system and assigned each one a score for their support system quality .

I picked up three import things from the recap of the study. First, the effects of the depression amplifiers only held true for the children who were abused and neglected. Second, children with strong support systems almost completely escaped the effects of the ‘bad’ genes. Third, genes alone weren’t likely to make a child depressed, but maltreatment alone can.

Picture the ‘bad’ genes as little seeds. Give the seeds water polluted with mistreatment and lack of support and the ‘bad’ genes flourish. Nurture them with a safe supportive water and the children could likely overcome the ‘bad’ genes. At least in this small study the age old question of nature versus nurture is answered. Nurture wins .

To me, this is truly amazing! Think about the implications. Does it change how important we view sacrificing the BMW and huge backyard, so that we can have a stay at home spouse. Do you have to work 60 hours a week to support your current lifestyle? Is your debt stressing your relationship with your spouse and your children? Maybe we are sacrificing too much? Maybe we should be giving more time and money to support those willing to adopt and provide supportive homes for maltreated children? Hopefully studies like this help to illuminate which decisions are the truly important ones in life. What do you think?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Brainy Smurf October 19, 2007 at 8:44 am

Perhaps my tune will change when I have children of my own next year, but as of right now, I’m not about to give up my backyard or my BMW… ;0)

I agree with what you’re saying though. I may work 60+ hours per week now (mostly to pay off debt), but I’d bet the minute I become a “Papa Smurf”, that will be cut back drastically.

And I’m sure a number of my priorities, both financial and non-financial, will also change drastically in the name of “family”.

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Mike October 19, 2007 at 11:57 am

You mean there’s more important things than money in raising a kid?

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Jerad Kaliher October 19, 2007 at 7:56 pm

I understand that genetics has a huge hand in shaping our lives, but it’s the portion that we usually can’t change (save refraining from drinking/smoking during pregnancy). I’ve always focused more on the what Lock would call the “tabla rasa” or clean slate.

Everything that happens from birth on drastically shapes our state of mind and being. The most important time in life is the first few developing years of childhood.

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Supercars August 25, 2008 at 11:25 am

I agree with Jerad that Everything that happens from birth on drastically shapes our state of mind and being. The most important time in life is the first few developing years of childhood. Ages from 2-14 are were the child gets to learn and build his personality the way he wants! Great Post.. thanks

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AF10 October 20, 2008 at 11:45 am

that is an interesting study. i don’t know if it is about genetics. i think we should be careful with money so that our children can learn how to be careful too. They need to understand how important it is, how to manage it, and how not to take it for granted.

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ders zamani May 25, 2010 at 6:00 am

I picked up three import things from the recap of the study. First, the effects of the depression amplifiers only held true for the children who were abused and neglected. Second, children with strong support systems almost completely escaped the effects of the ‘bad’ genes. Third, genes alone weren’t likely to make a child depressed, but maltreatment alone can.

super…

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