A Parental Guide to Understanding the Developmental Process of a Child's Epigenome
How the Environment Affects an Epigenome
The environment is going to play a huge role in aiding, or hindering the development of a child's epigenome, but also their temperament, or the patterns of arousal and emotionality that represent consistent and enduring characteristics in an individual. Keep in mind that this will only affect some of the traits developed, as others are more affected by genetics than the environment. In this context the environment refers to the exposure of a child to the outside world, and the traits they develop on their own from that exposure. More so, it refers to how the child interacts with the environment, and how to a bigger extent, how the environment interacts with them. So how do we know which factors are environmental? Well, the previous slide stated that environmental factors are more associated with nurturing, so environmental factors are going to refer to the personality traits that children develop over time by themselves. Basically the traits that aren't crucially affected by genetics.
- A childs outgoing nature could be a product of the exposure of their environment, as some parents would encourage their child to have high levels of socializing. Works the other way around too, as those who aren't encouraged to socialize a'lot are more likely to not be very outgoing.
- Physical ability can be a product of environmental exposure as children who have higher levels of physical activity are more likely to be more physically and emotionally healthy, whihc can then affect their overall behavior and personality.
- Education is a huge example. Children who receive an education are further exposed to their environment, and socialize even more.
How Genetics Affect an Epigenome
To learn more about how genetics can influence a personality, read these two sources below:
Genetics also play a huge role in aiding, or hindering, the epigenome of a child. These factors are the factors that a child cannot control, because they are mainly born with them or are passed down from parent to child, so this would be going on the nature side of the debate, as those focuses on the traits and characteristics a child has no, or very little, control over. Two of the "big five" personality traits, neuroticism and extroversion, have been linked to having genetic factors attached to them. Neuroticism refers to the degree of emotional stability an individual characteristically displays, and Extroversion is the degree to which a person seeks to be with others, and be generally socialable. The fact that genetics are linked with these personality traits means basically that the degree of emotional stability and social outgoings of the parent, could be passed down to the child. Now, it is important to realize that genetics could play a role in the epigenomes development. Some kids are very socially outgoing while their parents are socially isolated. The bottom line is that genetics are not always a given helping or hindering the development of the epigenome of a child. Still confused? Lets look at some examples where genetics can play a role in the development of an epigenome.
- A mother who smokes during pregnancy during could negatively affect the child she is carrying, as the child could be born with severe disabilities or health problems. These can affect the epigenome's development as their physical abilities( a huge factor that can help shape the epigenome) may be limited due to their physical disabilities or health problems.
- Children tend to focus on aspects of their environment that are most similar to their genetic abilities. Kids who are active, or aggressive, may gravitate towards sports. Kids who are non-active may gravitate towards social clubs.