Feral Children: Nature vs Nurture

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images.jpegGrowing up, kids are exposed to movies such as "Tarzan" and "The Jungle Book" where children are raised by animals. This appears to be "the good life" and kids desire to be able to have the freedom the children in the movies have. However, there are children who are actually "raised" by animals. They are called feral or wild children. They are often neglected or abused by their parents. Some run away and live in the wild, while others are forced to live in terrible conditions with a major lack of human interactions. This is where the debate of whether nature or nurture plays the role in the child's development. These wild children lack social, emotional, and physical behaviors that normal children develop and learn from having human interaction. These children do not have the required nurture from humans that is necessary for their development. Many people say that it is human nature to learn how to interact as a normal human being, but without the help from other humans, this is impossible. These children cannot function normally and sometimes, even after being rescued from the wild or their abusive situation, they cannot develop basic social skills. When rescued and evaluated, most of these children have the brain of a very young infant since they were never educated and are usually mentally handicapped. This shows how important the environment surrounding people is. If we are raised in the wild, then we will act as the animals do that surround us, but if we are raised in normal conditions, then we will develop the normal behaviors that are expected from humans.

Here is a video about a girl from the Ukraine who was found living with dogs:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljVd6XS-J0s&feature=player_embedded

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This is the first time that I have heard about kids being raised by animals. If not for the former post, I would not even believe this situation to be possible. It seems like something that only happen in stories. After watching the Youtube video, I could not believe what I saw. We all would like to think that we were born with all the human abilities that we use in our daily life like speech, social skills, and emotionally able connection with others. However, that does not seem to be the case after learning about feral children. Not only are we not born with these abilities, we cannot acquire them alone either. We need the help of other human beings to build our social skills and make that emotional connection that is necessary for the proper development of our brain. It is interesting to hear that even after being rescued, the wild children cannot learn to develop basic social skills. This shows that our brain development does have a limit for certain stuff. The Youtube video that shows a girl attracting like a dog after being raised by them for six year in my opinion supports the nurture concept more than the nature one. Even though the girl was a human, she behaved like a dog because she was raised by one. Like the post says, without the proper environment surrounding, humans cannot grow to their potential expectation even if all those social skills are coded within our genes.

Nice picture and description of feral children. Do you think that the early abuse or neglect could have influenced the children? Is it possible that the children were mentally handicapped already which led their parents to abandon them? Correlation doesn't equal causation.

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This page contains a single entry by pratt227 published on October 1, 2011 3:10 PM.

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