They do though don't they though

In the opening chapter his book, They F*ck You Up, the psychologist, Oliver James, explores the truth behind the 'nature versus nurture' debate through the parents of John Hinckley, the man who tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan.

In 1985 they published book where they traced the roots of his murderous personality. Unsurprisingly, they refused to shoulder any personal responsibility and instead looked to his DNA and genetic make-up as the cause of his pathology.

James' point is that we tend to support one side of the debate to keep our illusions about ourselves intact - principally that we're good people, that we care and that we are supportive, loving parents.

Believing in genes removes any possibility of ‘blame’ falling on parents. The development of a child becomes unchangeable, natural destiny.

For those of us who believe in nurture, our capacity to create and support change - in ourselves and in society - is fundamental to the way we live.

So while we can admit that our parents have f*cked us up, we also believe that we possess the ability to transcend our upbringing, rise above our misfortune and embrace a future full of unwritten possibilities.