Advertisement

Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Is “Selfish” Genetic?

Two toddlers are at play: Timmy hands his truck to his friend, “Here you can play with it.”

But Ricky hangs on to that truck for dear life. “No it is mine!”

Is the difference genetic?

In an Israeli study reported in the Wall Street Journal, researchers found that kids who didn’t share had a gene variation in common. The gene, AVPRIA, regulates a hormone in the brain associated with social behaviors like sharing. The noted genetic variation was associated with an unwillingness to share.

But don’t get too worried by this finding because altruism, or sharing, seems to be more controlled by environment. Positive reinforcement of sharing and altruistic behavior brings out those behaviors in children.  Generosity can be habit forming and learned. It engages the reward circuits of the brain and releases feel good transmitters.

Advertisement

The researchers also discovered that generosity increases as children grow and mature and develop stronger ideas of morality and fairness.

So if you want to encourage less selfishness in your child, praise his or her character when he or she shares.

Try these five suggestions:

1) Encourage sharing and activities that benefit others

2) Talk about how people feel in order to teach empathy

3) Praise a child’s character when he or she shows signs of goodness

4) Discuss consequences of behavior when a child is selfish–how the other person may feel

5) Model sharing and concern for others

Previous Posts

5 Things to Say That Will Upset Your Partner
If you want to upset your partner, try these tried and true conversation starters or responses. These phrases will get a reaction, mostly, an upsetting one. So think before you speak! 1) We need to talk. Yes, this is the title of my latest ...

posted 7:00:05am Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Are You Practicing The Best Parenting Style?
Parenting is on John's mind now that his second child has arrived. John was raised by a father who was harsh and demanding. John often felt as if he could not live up to his father's expectations. Now a father himself, John is aware that his ...

posted 7:00:20am Jun. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Are You Genetically Predisposed to Worry?
Susan feels she can’t stop worrying no matter how hard she tries. She’s beginning to wonder if she is a born worry. She is asking, "Can worry be genetic?" In 2007, Yale researchers found a gene variation associated with chronic worrying ...

posted 7:00:57am Jun. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Does God Hide in Times of Trouble?
When Christians are being beheaded in the middle east, when a man shoots people praying in a church, when young girls are taken and forced into sex slavery, when you are falsely accused or ridiculed for your beliefs, it often feels like God is ...

posted 7:00:35am Jun. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Should You Keep Secrets From Your Partner?
I was in the grocery store and the tabloids were headlining the secret love child of yet another celebrity couple. Secrets are a problem. They don’t usually end well. I am often asked if it is a good idea to reveal secrets to a partner or a ...

posted 7:00:25am Jun. 22, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.