Baby's Inherited Behaviors

It's in the Genes. DNA plays a role in everything from your child's silly sense of humor to her erratic sleep patterns. Find out which behaviors you passed along to your little buddy.
baby eating crayon

Buff Strickland

For weeks after my daughter Ella was born, friends and family members would play the same game: Name That Facial Feature. "Oh, she definitely has your eyes," they would announce, or "That's a Warnick chin." Once our loved ones got through with her, every inch of Ella had been assigned a pedigree on the family tree. Frankly, I couldn't see it. Ella looked like... well, herself.

When I considered her personality, however, I knew exactly whom to credit. Ellas goofy sense of humor was just like her irreverent dad's; her meltdowns when I handed her off to friends seemed like a legacy of my own introverted ways.

I've since learned that Ella's inheritances aren't as clear-cut as I'd thought: It's tricky to determine which traits are genetically hardwired and which develop from parenting habits. "The question of nature versus nurture is one for the ages," says Nathan Fox, Ph.D., director of the Child Development Lab at the University of Maryland, in College Park. There are hundreds of thousands of genes in the chromosomes we pass on to our children, with a multitude of possible combinations."It's not a simple one-to-one."

We bet you're 100 percent hooked on your baby no matter whom he takes after, but here's the scoop on which traits your tot can thank you and his daddy for.

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