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Do Parents Really Matter?

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Parents were always the ones that had the finger pointed at them, regarding their children. Then researchers told us that heredity determines who we are. It's a sign many parents will find comforting, but it may make others very nervous.

* Quoted Passages from the Article*

David Reiss, M.D., didn't want to believe it. The George Washington University psychiatrist had worked for more than 12 years on a study of adolescent development--just completed--and its conclusions were a surprise, to say the least.

"I'm talking to you seven or eight years after the initial results came out, so I can sound very calm and collected now," says Reiss.

"But I was shocked." This, even though other scientists had previously reached similar conclusions in many smaller scale studies.

"We knew about those results, but we didn't believe it," says Reiss, speaking of himself and one of his collaborators, E. Mavis Heatherington, Ph.D.

"Now we've done the research ourselves, so...

" He sighs. "We're not ever going to believe it, but we're going to have to act as if we do."

What Reiss and his coworkersdiscovered, in one of the longest and most thorough studies of child development ever attempted, was that parents appear to have relatively little effect on how children turn out, once genetic influences are accounted for.

"The original objective was to look for environmental differences," says Reiss.

"We didn't find many."

Instead, it seems that genetic influences are largely responsible for how "adjusted" kids are: how well



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