Nature vs. Nurture

This guy is a great listener.

Some things the girls are just born with and some things they’ve picked up from us as parents, family and friends. Their beautiful blue eyes, stunning looks, incredible personal drive, toughness and being twins, they got from their mommy. Being outgoing, friendly (almost to a fault), excitable, accident-prone and energetic, I’d like to think they got from me. Most of those things are debatably genetic, the others they learned from us and the people they’re around every day. One thing these girls are starting to learn is GUILT TRIPS, or are they?

What I mean is that they might not be learning them. It might just be a genetic thing handed down from generation to generation in my family. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think my family was Catholic by the amount of guilt dished out on a daily basis. I always give my mom and my grandma (mammaw) tons of crap for trying to use their powers of guilt over me. I’ve learned to fend it off over the years by turning it back on them with the classic, reverse guilt trip.

Sadly, my mom has been able to call me out several times recently for guilting the girls, most notably on the 4th of July when they wouldn’t sit by Jessi to watch the fireworks. I can’t remember what I said exactly, but I was definitely using a guilt trip to make them feel bad and want to come sit by their cousin. My mom and my aunts called me out on it and I immediately turned it back on them with a “I learned it by watching you!” (my most mature response obviously). My Aunt Jen responded with, “learned? that’s genetic in this family.” At first I laughed, but this statement got me thinking, “is it learned or genetic?” I always assumed it was a product of my environment and something I picked up from them, kind of like the “Dye Goodbye” (which is a really long, drawn-out goodbye). After she said that though, I wasn’t so sure.

The girls have recently started using guilt as a way to get what they want. It seems like somewhat of a natural behavior, especially for someone in our family. Who knows. Maybe it is genetic, or maybe it’s just a really impressive skill, like the ultimate power of persuasion. Either way, I guess I’ll have to watch how much I use this power over the girls, or they might get really good at it. Even better than the jedi master of guilt, mammaw. I think the only way to get them to not use guilt trips is to not give them myself. If I can do that, then maybe they’ll stand a chance at breaking the genetic code.


2 thoughts on “Nature vs. Nurture

  1. Definitely learned in our family. Will does it now, it starts as crying to get what they want- and naturally, we give it to him because it makes our lives easier. It’s slowly morphing into a manipulation tactic- for example when I need to get us out the door, “no mommy, I relaxing peeease.” Enter our need for a learned behavior called ‘Consistency.’ Tough stuff.

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