Nature-Deficit Disorder: Nature vs Nurture

As parents, we want the best for our kids always. We will want to do anything to keep them safe even if that means keeping them indoors constantly. This is the very opposite of what should be occurring within our kid’s childhoods. In addition, nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and even adults. “Kids who play outside are less likely to get sick, to be stressed or become aggressive, and are more adaptable to life’s unpredictable turns,” exclaims child advocacy expert, Richard Louv.

He is also the author of, “Last Child in the Woods,” which introduces and examines the idea of the term, “Nature-deficit disorder.” Moreover, Richard Louv states, “Nature-deficit disorder is not a medical diagnosis, but many think it should be. However, this term is used more as a metaphor to describe what many of us believe are the human costs of alienation from nature: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses, a rising rate of myopia, child and adult obesity, Vitamin D deficiency, and other maladies.

” The New York Times newspaper states, a third of all American adults are obese, however, it just went up to 35.7 percent. The absence of nature even disables kid’s creativity. He argued that certain behavioral problems could be caused by the sharp decline in how little time children now spend outdoors.

For example, a fifth-grader interviewed for a similar article in a San Diego, put it succinctly: “I like to play indoors better ‘cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are.

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” Children and almost everyone else is addicted to technology, in other words, this is called, “digital heroin.” The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need. “The average young American now spends practically every minute — except for the time in school – using a smartphone, computer, television or electronic device,” Nature is relaxing and marvelous and we as humans need to break this split between nature and us and stop taking nature for granite.

Technology isn’t the only one to blame, for every screen-dominant upbringing is an overly cautious parent. But understandably, parents want to protect their kidsfrom “ot there” variables. Furthermore, studies show exposure to the randomness of nature may actually boost the immune system rather than damage your health. So for example, it’s better not just to play in dirt, but to eat it. In addition, research shows that less than 10 percent of kids nowadays have played in a natural place but compared to their parent’s childhoods were 30 percent or higher. Overall, adults are suffering from Nature-deficit disorder almost as much as kids are.

Within the last two decades, society and trends have changed so much and we are beginning to lose the ability to engage with nature. Not just people suffer from the separation of humans and nature, but along does nature itself. However, environment-based education can be one solution to this problem, where nature is then used as a classroom. Studies on this shows that environment-based education helps improve student’s achievement, test scores, helps develop problem solving disabilities, and critical thinking skills. The societal structure of America teaches adolescents to stay within confines that block out the natural world. Although not intentional, this norm is apparent in schools, familial relationships and even organizations that patronize nature. This structure is embedded into our culture so that many children today will not experience the same sort of relationships that many modern young adults remember in their pastime.

Arguments to contradict this topic of nature-deficit disorder and nature’s importance may include that kids just refuse to go outside, or that it’s not safe outside, that a kid could possibly be prone to getting skin cancer, or maybe kids have lots of homework or other things to do that draw children away from enjoying the outdoors. “Passion does not arrive on a video tape or cd, passion is personal, passion is lifted from the muddy hands of the young, and travels along grass strained sleeves to the heart,” exclaimed Richard Louv. Passion is the fuel we need to save what we have left of our environment. Passion is the key to the solution.

Nature-deficit disorder can be reversed but the cure does not come in the form of a medication, but it is rather cured by getting up and going out to adventure and enjoy nature through real life experiences. In 2003 environmental psychologists reported that nature around the home and a view of a window or plants, helped the psychological well-being of children. In Richard Louv’s book it informs us that researchers have found that children with disabilities gain enhanced body image and positive behavior changes through direct interaction with nature. Studies of outdoor education programs geared toward troubled youth — especially those diagnosed with mental-health problems — show a clear therapeutic value.

Nature has been proven to relieve stress, deepen the spirit, and even improve creative thinking skills. Moreover, nature also enhances and betters one’s mood, one’s sleep, increases energy level, and also improves concertation- even for kids with ADHD. Natural views can also useful for better performance in attention demanding tasks. An experiment was done by Temmessen and Cimprich to see how nature effected concentration while test taking. They did this by dividing university students into two groups; one group had natural view and the other group had a non-natural view. They then gave both the two groups test papers and afterwards would compare the results of the two groups. The researchers found that the group with natural view got higher scores than the group without the natural view. Allowing people to immerse in nature in work time can reduce tension and improve competence and productivity. Research also found that by comparing neighborhoods with trees or flowers close by to those without natural settings, people living in greener places presented lower levels of fear, less rude and violent behavior and fewer crime events.

The evidence shown in these studies demonstrates that nature is truly beneficial for the mental and physical well-being of people. Within the process of bringing nature’s well-known importance back to a wider variety of people starts with us as parents showing our children, the new generation, how stunning and valuable nature really is to us. Without nature we would physically not be able to live. With this movement being expressed and created it’s not just the younger generations job to fix the problems of the world and society. It is a multigenerational effort to improve the trends of nowadays society. In other words, everyone is needed to help make the world a better and more beautiful place and it starts with you. Are you going to go green?



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Nature-Deficit Disorder: Nature vs Nurture. (2022, Feb 14). Retrieved from

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