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Jiggy-Ninja

Parental influence

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Parents have absolutely no (or very, very little) influence on the development of their children's personalities.

I was reading book called "What is Your Dangerous Idea?" (I recommend you read it too), which is a collection of essays from leading scientists answering the title question. Several of these essays caught my eye because they dealt with the bolded statement above, which happens to be a bit of a personal topic for me.

Currently, it is seen that parents have total control over their children's development. Parent's attempt to take some portion of credit for a child's accomplishments, and are always assigned some bit of blame for a child's failures or misdeeds. Good kids are seen to be the result of good parenting, and bad kids are seen to be the result of bad parenting.

This is an enormous amount of perceived power. As was said in Spider Man, with great power comes great responsibility. What was not said was that with great responsibility comes a great deal of mental anguish, stress, and pressure. Because parents are perceived to have such a high degree of power over their children's development, any half decent parent is put under the intense pressure of having to do it just right, and make no mistakes.

I would liken this pressure to having to defuse a live time bomb with no schematics, no help, and no knowledge at all of what to do. If that doesn't stress you out, you're abnormal.

There was also an argument presented in one of the essays that this view may ultimately be harmful to the parent-child relationship. There is no other kind of interpersonal relationship in society that consists of one member attempting to subvert, dominate, and ultimately change the other's personality. It is a highly manipulative set up to have as the basis for a relationship.

What are your feelings about this?

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I feel that it's not just the parents, it's also everyone else, the environment, technically everything can cause either good, or a bad child, usually the bad child are either spoiled, or have not the greatest of parents, or even their school gives them pressure, or school kids ridicule, and mock them, which causes them to become a person no one would want as a child.

It's similar to the teacher, and pet, concept that there's no such thing as a bad student/pet, it's the teacher/owner, when the student fails, the teacher also fails, reason being is that the teachers job is to teach the student to succeed through what ever the teacher is required to teach.

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I might reply with more later, but I think parents have a HUGE influence on their child's behavior.

For example, I have a friend whose parents are devout Christians, and he has been brought up to be one (which personally I don't agree with, but I digress). They NEVER let him go out late on school nights (not even in high school) and always kept him from doing things with his friends on the weekends for "family time". The result? He doesn't ever WANT to do anything now but sit on his computer, draw, and do generally solitary things because that's all he knows.

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This is a very interesting topic. Also a perfect example of how a debate should be started.

Anyway, this also happens to be a very personal topic for me. I am/was what you would call a "good kid" and yes sometimes my parents were congratulated for being such good parents. Also as a father of a (soon to be) 4 year old, this is something that concerns me.

Now I'll start by saying that the hypothesis that parents have no or very little influence in their children's development has to be false. It is a general pattern in real world dynamics that things are not so clear cut. However, this does not mean that we cannot treat them in a logical matter. We just have to look for a different way of phrasing our statements.

Rather we must make statements with a touch probabilistic acknowledgement.

Now, I won't claim that this is the correct statement, but maybe we can come up with something that is close to correct.

The potential for a parent to influence their child in a positive way is small.

While the potential for a child to influence their child in a negative was is large.

Again, I am not saying that's what I think, but its the sort of statement we should be looking for.

The reason is that there are almost always exceptions. There are some cases where a child is influenced greatly by their parents. However, as someone mentioned there are other factors in a child's development. These factors do affect how influential a parent is.

When a child is born the persons who get the first shot at influencing the child (under most cases) are the parents. Depending on the parents, the influence they provide can either be mostly positive or mostly negative.

As the child grows the number of people who can potentially influence a child grows. The parents become 1 or 2 out of maybe thousands who influence their child. The sheer numbers of other people who can influence diminishes the potential for the parents influence to be successful.

Based on that actually I would say that a more correct statement is that the potential for a parent to influence their child decreases with time. Also another things I thought of is that what was bolded in the original post might be more correct if influence were replaced by control. Many parents try to control their child. However, trying to control a child becomes increasingly difficult as the child grows.

I'll add more stuff later.

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Well, bad parenting does not always result in bad kids, like the world believes. Just look at Dave Pelzer. He went through a living hell, and once he was out of it, turned his life around to help people. His story has inspired millions against the horrifying act of child abuse.

I believe that a good parent should always be proud of their children, even in the midst of their kid's failures. To have a parent be proud of you as a child generally makes you want to succeed, makes your determination and will to do better, stronger.

For me, as I went through HS and struggled in math, it was their readiness to help, and in the end, telling me to drop Geometry so I could take something beneficial and worth my time (Which was Psychology, since I'm studying to become a Psychologist, which I got 103.3% in as a final grade)

It wasn't them giving up on me or my ability to comprehend math, it was them wanting to see me do something I knew I could achieve more in. I agreed, and fought the school to drop the class. Which happened, obviously.

I believe that my parents were quite successful in raising me and allowing me to shape myself into a person I so chose to become; a girl true to her beliefs and failures, but also one who wants something realistic in her dreams.

They help shape a child's nature, no doubt, but they don't have control over us in everything we do: we're not puppets, we have a brain, and we have free-will. They can only help us along the way.

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Well, bad parenting does not always result in bad kids
Yes, this is true and one of the primary reasons why we must speak about potential, chance, etc. Even though a parent has the potential to influence their child negatively, that does not mean that it will stick. I forgot to mention that my parents are by no means "good parents", and none of me and my many siblings have turned out the way they wanted (4 so far but they have 4 to go o.0).

It is my experience in a large family and seeing the varied results that come from same pair of parents that indicates some of what I mentioned earlier. Of course me and my brothers had the same parents but we had different classmates who provided different influences, but even then, we are all only a few years a apart I am only 5 years older (I am the oldest) than the 4th child which is graduating from HS this year.

Right now, we are treading pretty close to the tabula rasa issue. Also we must think about what exactly the definition of "good child" and "bad child". I don't think there is a set definition. In fact, there were times when some of my teachers would tell my dad what a good child I was and congratulate him, then my dad would go on to explain why I was not a good child. The expectations of my dad were different to that of my teachers.

That parent's influence their child, I think is not questionable. That its in the way they want, that's very questionable.

But then again, as a parent I think that there should not be any "what I want for my son". I think that I should do my best to help my son be successful in whatever he want. We saw an example of this attitude above and it does seem to create a "better" parent-child relationship than the one postulated in the OP. This is because of the difference in attitudes that a parent can have. Parents who look to control their child have a high probability of failure, IMO. While parents who seek to help their child have a higher success rate, since their definition of what success is, is as flexible.

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Well, my parents influence my personality. I won't give any examples but by the way they act, is how I act in real life. My online life does not reflect my personality whatsoever. This is a concept I'm really scared of because when I am going to be a father, I want to be a part of my child's life, and if I had no influence towards their personality then did I do a good job? All I know is that statistics show that good parents equal good children and the same way the other way around. Fatherhood sure does scare me.

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I guess I'm just the "apple that fell off the tree", but nothing my parents have done influenced me significantly.

They raised me to be a "good, God-fearing/loving, Christian". Instead, I've traced my roots back to old Cherokee Wise Women, and Celtic healers, preferring to follow old traditions and beliefs rather than the "norm" of society today.

They raised me to be racist, intolerant, and homophobic. I will admit I can be a tad bit racist at times, but I keep it to myself. Homophobic? Hah. At least half of my friends consider themselves gay.

They raised me to live to please others. That may be the ONLY thing I've kept to, even in a minor degree. I love pleasing people, helping them and making them smile. I do not, however, live to please them. I gave up on that a long time ago.

To me, it just seems to depend on the child in question. Many of us will take what our parents say with a grain of salt. Many of us hang on their every word. I'm nothing like my parents wanted. One of my friends is everything her parents raised her to be. I love and respect my mother and father, but I do not let them control me. I do not let them influence me in negative ways. I know they've made mistakes, and I use that to teach myself not to do the same thing. Yes, some kids will strive to be JUST like mommy and daddy. I'm not one of them. Many people I know aren't. :/

But, that's just me, and I have been known to act a little batshit crazy. >_>

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I know they've made mistakes, and I use that to teach myself not to do the same thing.

I believe that you missed the "influence" part of the title. Influence, by definition, is the power of persons or things that affect others. You by learning what not to do have been influenced by your parents greatly.

Many people seem to believe that teaching is synonymous to "to influence"; in a way it is, but not completely. Teaching is passing of a skill to another, like influencing, but influencing is affecting someone, whether they learn what is expected, or they learn something completely opposite.

Also one can not fully evaluate the influence of a child until they have reached full maturity. Everyone knows that how one acts depends upon their age. As a matter of fact I find that it is quite possible that, while very few during puberty and shortly after, once someone's child that has grown they will at least slightly reflect their parents in more than just appearance.

Of course, I understand that a child is influence by many factors; I find it hard to believe that someone could find their parent's behaviors so morally repungnant that they could not, and would never, emulate them in any way later in life.

PS: I am very much so influenced by my parents. My behavior has been critically compared to my father's pubescent years, and I am more attatched to my mother than my father.

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Yes, this is true and one of the primary reasons why we must speak about potential, chance, etc. Even though a parent has the potential to influence their child negatively, that does not mean that it will stick. I forgot to mention that my parents are by no means "good parents", and none of me and my many siblings have turned out the way they wanted (4 so far but they have 4 to go o.0).

It is my experience in a large family and seeing the varied results that come from same pair of parents that indicates some of what I mentioned earlier. Of course me and my brothers had the same parents but we had different classmates who provided different influences, but even then, we are all only a few years a apart I am only 5 years older (I am the oldest) than the 4th child which is graduating from HS this year.

Right now, we are treading pretty close to the tabula rasa issue. Also we must think about what exactly the definition of "good child" and "bad child". I don't think there is a set definition. In fact, there were times when some of my teachers would tell my dad what a good child I was and congratulate him, then my dad would go on to explain why I was not a good child. The expectations of my dad were different to that of my teachers.

That parent's influence their child, I think is not questionable. That its in the way they want, that's very questionable.

But then again, as a parent I think that there should not be any "what I want for my son". I think that I should do my best to help my son be successful in whatever he want. We saw an example of this attitude above and it does seem to create a "better" parent-child relationship than the one postulated in the OP. This is because of the difference in attitudes that a parent can have. Parents who look to control their child have a high probability of failure, IMO. While parents who seek to help their child have a higher success rate, since their definition of what success is, is as flexible.

Ah yes, the John Locke theory of personality development, that every human being is born with a clean slate. Tabula rasa.

And we also, then, by looking at the theories of personality development (John Locke: tabula rasa, George Herbert Mead: the looking-glass self, Charles Horton Cooley:learning to see self as others see) also look at the personality of birth order and how that affects a child.

First born - authoritarian

Middle born - balanced

Youngest born - risk-taker

To sum them into one word, there.

Also, what gives rise to our personality? We also studied this in Sociology: Nature vs. Nurture.

Nature: our environment + social learning

Nurture: the generic characteristics given by parents

The answer is, both. We studied this through the example of the Arapesh and the Mundugumors.

Family is the principal socializer of young children, teaching children how to act in socially acceptable ways, develop close emotional ties, and internalize the values and norms of society. Other socializing factors include the peer group, school, mass media, religion, and total institutions.

Also we must remember the problems that many adolescents today deal with - suicide, runaways, dating, drugs, crime. It's a messed up world,. and they have to learn the hard way with how to deal with it.

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Also, what gives rise to our personality? We also studied this in Sociology: Nature vs. Nurture.

Nature: our environment + social learning

Nurture: the generic characteristics given by parents

The answer is, both. We studied this through the example of the Arapesh and the Mundugumors.

Actaully, I think Nature vs. Nurture is separated more like this:

Nature: Genetic and physical characteristics of the brain, aka "Being born that way."

Nurture: Environmental influences such as friends, teachers, parents, etc.

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That's more of how I see it too, Jiggy. What I gave were examples from my Sociology notes.

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I think it very much depends on the parents.

For me, my parents split when I was about 6. My mom is super easy going and lets me stay up and go out with friends and do pretty much whatever I want. My dad is strict, doesn't believe in staying up late (hypocrite), and has anger issues (not violent, more just yelling).

From my own experience, its made me very easygoing and I very much like people who are also easygoing. It also makes me avoid people who yell even the slightest bit.

In my opinion, parents should not get any credit for the achievements of their children. Probably 90% of the time, the achievements of the children had nothing to do with how the parents affected them, and even further, if a parent tried to influence a child's development, it probably backfired during the teenage rebel stage.

Regardless, the parents of children have huge influences on them, but not in intentional ways. I knew someone in middle school who was a total loser but didn't really mind. He went to an all boy, highly sporty and competitive high school. He was really excited because he loved sports. Unfortunately, his strict religious upbringing and the way he looked (always slouched, glasses, bracers, playing games on the computer, no enthusiasm during school) caused him to be hazed significantly more then the usual for that school. He committed suicide in middle sophomore year at age 16, without ever having a girlfriend.

I'm fairly certain the parents didn't intend that to happen, but it did. And its entirely their fault. If they hadn't been so strict and religious, he wouldn't have been as hazed. If they hadn't pushed him so hard to do sports when he was younger and ignored all his grades, he might have been more motivated in school. If they had given him more opportunities to play on a computer at home, maybe he wouldn't have done it so much during school.

Thats my story. Not very scientific, but its late. Tomorrow I'll write some more thats not based on experiences.

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I don't plan to go into this discussion too much, at least for now... But Okami, why is the youngest considered a risk taker? I understand the other two...

...Ugh, I feel like I'm post stalking you. ><

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*laughs* It's okay, Zaf.

The youngest child is known as a risk taker because they have to live up to the standards of the older sibling(s). Have you ever heard of a boy named Kip Kinkel? (If not, I suggest you look him up; his story intrigues me) He was the younger brother, and his parents had very high expectations of him because his sister did very well in school and was fairly athletic. He, on the other hand, was nothing compared to that, and on top of it, had a learning disability.

Basically, they become risk takers when they don't live up to those standards, finding themselves a disappointment in their parents eyes, and will take any way out to get attention.

That's how I understand it, at least. If I had an older sibling who was the valedictorian of their class and was good with whatever came their way and then I got like a 1.7 GPA in following their footsteps, that would be rough. I can only imagine the shame I would feel. I would do anything to prove to my mom and dad to show them that I could become better.

(Of course, with my parents, they love me just as I am, nothing I do could change that in them. I have amazing parents, and am so blessed to have them on my side through everything!)

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I believe that everything effects the development of a child and that parents have a tremendous influence. Even you kuoleva, your parents raised you far differently then who you are and that was influential because you knew that you didn't want to be like that. (Although I dont necessarily think the path you chose is the right one) I still think that although you might not like to say it your parents influenced you because they showed you something you didn't like so you went against it.

The outside world such as friends, peers, teachers, laws, rules, places, and other things all play roles in influencing kids. If your friend swears a lot you are probably more likely to do the same. If you're peers play lots of jokes then you probably will too. If your teachers are strict you'll probably be a strict person too. Lots of people and things influence you both negatively and positively. Even food, you could try something and say..oh I love that and maybe its the meal you could end up making for your kids the most or something like that.

Parents (since you're around them a lot) have a major influence. That's all I have to say.

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i am kinda indefrinet on this one i dont think parents have no influence on their kids yet i dont thik they conroll it either i can understand either side

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Quite frankly I find my own mind and will more capable of forcibly changing itself than anything my parents have ever done. They say parents know best, I tend to disagree. I have managed my own grades much better since they've gotten off my back about it. Of course, they still don't want to give me credit where it's due, but the truth still stands. As of now-- I appreciate them for the things they do for me, and tell myself I'm willing to do the same thing. Unfortunately, my parents have dug their claws so far into the controlling and strict side of things I don't ever think I'll have a relationship with them that isn't a civil war or of any kind of influence outside of emotional stress.

** They are slightly responsible for me removing a large portion of my emotions outside of the ones associated with being cynical.

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