Lesson 3 of 21
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Upbringing and Family

Word list (20 words)

Upbringing (noun: countable) /ˈʌpbrɪŋɪŋ/

The way you are treated and educated when you are young (especially by your parents).

Psychologists are still exploring the ways that our upbringing affects what kind of adults we become.

  • difficult/ harsh/ relaxed/ strict + upbringing

Inherit (verb) + traits/ characteristics /ɪnˈherɪt/

To inherit particular characteristics is to receive them from parents through genes.

Do people inherit their intelligence from their parents?

I inherited my love of music from my father. 

Inherit + traits/ characteristics

inherited (adjective): As well as inherited characteristics, environmental factors play a large role in determining children’s lives.

Environmental factors (noun: countable) /invaɪrə’mentəl.’fæktəs/

The aspects of your upbringing that determine who you become.

As well as inherent characteristics, environmental factors play a large role in determining children’s lives.

Cultural norms (noun: countable) /ˈkʌltʃ(ə)r(ə)l.normz/

The shared expectations and rules that guide the behaviour of people in social groups.

When young people travel abroad, they need to get used to a new set of cultural norms and values.

Out of touch (adjectival phrase) /aʊtə.tʌʧ/

(Opposite: be in touch)

Not informed or not having the same ideas as most people about something.

Older parents tend to be out of touch with what their children are interested in.

  • out of touch + with (someone/ something)

Generation gap (noun: usually singular) /ʤenəreɪʃən.gæp/

A lack of understanding between older and younger people that results from different life experiences.

The generation gap is smaller between children and younger parents, which means it is easier for them to relate to one another.

  • bridge + the generation gap

Innate (adjective) + characteristics /ɪˈneɪt/

(of a quality) which you are born with or naturally present.

Some children have an innate ability to do well in school.

  • innate + ability/ sense/ capacity/  characteristic

Raise (verb) + children /reɪz.tʃɪldrən/

To take care of children until completely grown.

Parents in different countries often have very different methods of raising their children.

  • raise + children/ a family/ (someone)

Spoil (verb) + children /spɔɪl.tʃɪldrən/

To treat someone too well, especially by being too generous.

Spoiling children can have a knock-on effect later in their lives.

  • spoil + children/ (someone)

Spoilt (adjective): Spoilt children tend to be demanding and needy.

Learned behaviour (noun: countable) /lərnd.bɪ’heɪvjə/

The behaviour and characteristics we learn as a result of experience.

Learned behaviour from teachers can have a large impact on the way children develop.

Peer (adjective) + influence /pɪə.’ɪnflʊəns/

The influence that people of the same age/ social position have on each other.

Peer influence also has a large impact on a student’s ability to perform at school.

  • peer + influence/ pressure

Peer (noun: countable): Children are more influenced by their peers than their teachers.

Infancy (noun: uncountable) /’ɪnfənsi:/

The time when someone is a baby or a very young child.

Many parents spoil their children during their infancy.

  • during/ in + infancy

Infant (noun/ adjective): Many parents treat their adolescent children like infants.

Adolescence (noun: uncountable) /adəˈles(ə)ns/

The time in a person’s life when they are developing into adults.

Adolescence can be a stressful time for young people. 

  • early/ during + adolescence

Adolescent (noun/ adjective): Many parents treat their adolescent children like infants.

Mature (verb) /məˈtʃʊə/

(opposite: immature)

To become more developed mentally and emotionally.

Spoilt children will take longer to mature.

Mature (adjective): Mature children often prefer to socialise with adults rather than their peers.

Gene (noun: countable) /dʒiːn/

A part of the DNA in a cell that controls the physical development, behaviour, etc. of an individual and is passed on from their parents.

Our personalities result from the complex interplay between our genes and our environment.

  • carry/ pass on/ contain/ inherit/ human/ single/ selfish + gene
  • gene + controlling/ encoding/ editing/ therapy/  bank/ pool

Genetics (noun): She writes about the effects of family genetics on the choice of career.

Genetic (adjective): She was born with a rare genetic disorder known as Adrenoleukodystrophy. 

Phase (noun: countable) /feɪz/

A stage in a process of development.

Many adolescents go through a rebellious phase. 

  • go through/ enter + a phase
  • different/ distinct/ late/ new/ early/ initial/ primary/ critical/ passing/ development + phase

Adoption (noun: countable + uncountable) /əˈdɒpʃ(ə)n/

The act of taking another person’s child legally into your family.

Adoption is becoming more common in certain countries.

  • put up for + adoption

Adopt (verb): Many adults who are concerned with the growing population choose to adopt children instead of having their own.

Nuclear family (noun: countable) /nju:klɪə.fæmili/

A social unit of two parents with their children.

With the divorce rate increasing, the traditional nuclear family is becoming much less common.

Single-parent family (noun: countable) /sɪŋg(ə)l.fæmili/

A family that includes either a mother or a father but not both.

It can be tricky for single-parent families to juggle raising the children and earning a living.

Extended family (noun: countable) /egˈstendɪd.fæmili/

Family that includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.

Young people who travel abroad will find it harder to stay in regular contact with extended family.

Personalise the vocabulary

A proven way to learn vocabulary is to personalise it. Type your answers into this form and print it off as study material. You can also practice these IELTS style questions with a partner. You can only save and print your answers if you do this activity on a computer (not a mobile phone). You will not get tutor feedback on your answers. This activity is simply for you to practice the vocabulary. 

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