A fellow mummy was lamenting her 19m old stroking her all night. My son has never been like this. He has always needed to be unmolested to sleep (ie separate basket at least). He didn’t kiss or cuddle much when little but does more but it’s for a second then he is off again whereas her son will want to cling close to her all day long.

My family have never been big huggers or kissers or anything. Even as a child I don’t remember many hugs or really missing them. I enjoyed getting attention but more of the verbal kind than physical. I never felt like they didn’t love me as a result of this interaction style.

I wonder if there is something partly genetic to it or if it’s just a learned behavior?

  • 1
    I believe that there are both generic and environmental factors involved. Nothing to back up my opinion except general experience, so this is a comment not an answer
    – pojo-guy
    Commented Dec 9, 2017 at 2:26
  • It is very hard to tell. There are very few things we know that are strictly genetic or certain aren't influenced by genetics. Twin studies have even cast weird light on things that are implausibly genetic like names.
    – user26011
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 18:56

1 Answer 1


I think that seeing as we have used selective breeding to breed animals with desirable behavioural traits, such as docility amicability, that it would not be too unrealistic to suggest that some behaviour is due to genetics. However, based on what you say about your family, I would guess that there is a decent amount of nurture affecting this behaviour.

If you are interested in learning more about this a good book to read would be How Genes Influence Behaviour

It won't answer your specific question, but it will help you to understand a bit better how much genetics do influence behaviour.

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