Tag Archives: Conduct problem

Behavior is the colourful embroidery on canvas of life

Nature gives us the body and the brain, nurture gives us the mind and behavior. We are the products of our genes and our environment. We are the builders of our own phenotypes.

Since J Mark Baldwin there had been plenty of research in the field to prospectively look upon the environmental influences on phenotypeconstruction of our mind. The generic genetic template called as Genome comes from our parents but we shape these genes through our own life experience. Our early life interaction with environment thus plays a very crucial role in shaping our behavior. A study published in Behavior Genetics, Vol 34, No 4, July 2004 has evaluated influences of genetics and environment on social cognitive skills and conduct problems in children. To be able to get most reliable data they did this trial on a number of twins.

Conduct problems manifest in children through aggressive behavior, lack of empathy statisticsand low frustration tolerance. Poor social cognitiveskill is one’s inability to interpret social cues of others. Most often this is followed by an inappropriate behavioral response. So poor cognitive skill manifests in children as externalizing disorder. What they have found in the study was that – though conduct problems and cognitive skills are affected by both genetics and environmental influences, cognitive skill is significantly influenced by environmental influences. Even among twins different brought up atmosphere nurtured different behavioral attributes.

When we talk about those environmental influences we consider – changing family structure due to divorces and separations, military job, punitive parenting, domestic violence, toxic neighborhood or war conditions, severe neglect, stereotype threat, toxic stress at school etc.

How can you measure if your child or student or subject has any of these  behavioural issues ?

For poor cognitive skill – observe for the followings:

childTo what extent a child has difficulty with social situations for example lacking an understanding about others feelings, unaware of social behaviors those are acceptable, fails to understand body language, hurts or offends people with their behavior unknowingly.

For conduct problems- observe for the followings:

conduct problemOften has hot tempers and throws tantrum, generally obedient, usually keeps requests of adults but frequently fights with other children, bullies other children, lies, cheats, steals from school or home.

What is more bothering is that children with conduct problems have poor performance on test of social cognitive skill. Remedy? Well let’s check our own behavior, quality of our relationships, our social values and the environment that we provide or create for our children, the atmosphere at schools or playgrounds. All these have profound contribution to the  design in the embroidery.

Silently but surely the progenies of the world are getting trained at home, in schools and on play grounds. The parents, teachers and trainers, are the influencers. We are the environment that we are talking about.

During the very early phase of our life (from the last trimester of pregnancy to about 4 years of age) such environmental triggers design behavioral embroideries on our inherited genes. Genes express the way the environment is around. Our behavior is shaped accordingly in tune with the triggers.

Teachers, parents, trainers who are guides by the sides, free the genomic interplay to go and experiment with the unseen and make discoveries. This sets the genes free for fearless expressions.

On the other hand, Teachers, parents, trainers who are sages on the stages, they shout “follow the guidelines and do it as I say”. This approach boxes individuals and their innovations with aggression and frustration in the same cage. This puts the genes under stress and suffocation.

What do you give to your child, fearless expressions or stressful suffocations? THINK!

caring the genes

Behavior is embroidery on the genomic cloth that we wear. Parents, Teachers and Trainers are the craftsmen. 


If you find this read informative drop a comment and share with parents, teachers, trainers, baby sitters.

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Images taken from Google Images.

For more information on this subject you may visit following sites:


Evolutionary Psychology



Behavior Genetics