The Influences That Parents Have On Their Children
Influence is a word that can explain many things in today’s world. Influence explains why people do the things they do. A child’s influence on how he/she perceives life will stay with them for the rest of his/her life. But a more important question to ask is where does that influence come. Does it come from the parents of that child or does it come from that child’s peer group. Although children are influenced from the outside world, ultimately a child learns right from wrong, good from bad, love and caring from their parents. I hope to prove to you, the reader, that influence, does in fact, come from the parents more than what people think.
First, we must talk about the influence that comes genetically. The parents DNA already have influenced a child from birth. The child can be shy, outgoing, perceptive, or absent-minded, but those characteristics will be shown later in the child’s lifetime. If you look at a family, you can tell what types of characteristics the children have. Then you can ask the parents who in their family have those same traits. I am sure that the parents can think of someone in their family, if not them self, to answer that question. What about the influence a child receives after birth, if any, from their parents.
Right after birth takes place, the mother typically shows the child love by holding the baby, kissing it, singing it to bed, etc. Showing a child love from the day the child is born and continuously throughout childhood, will have a better positive effect on the child later in their own life. Judith Rich Harris, in her book “The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do; Parents Matter Less The You Think and Peers Matter More” believes that the love a parent gives has no effect on the child later in life. So far, to this day, studies show that if a parent show love and support towards their child, that child becomes less aggressive says John Gottman of the University of Washington. To quote Rosie O’Donnell in the Newsweek article, The Parent Trap, of September 7, 1998 on page 58, “You’re born with a personality that’s defined by the tenderness, love, support, and care you’re give.” She also goes on to say, “…Children could just be born and put in day care and become who they are. But that negates the value of love.” O’Donnell believes that the love a parent gives to their child is the foundation of that child’s personality. Her thoughts along with other scientists, parents, and young adults around the world suggest that parents do influence the children of today.
Another influence that parents have on their children is the teaching of right from wrong. Parents teach their kids that stealing is bad or hurting another person is wrong. Parents also teach their children that helping another person is the right thing to do. It is from this concept, that children develop a more in depth conscious. If a person of any age does something wrong or thinks about doing something wrong (i.e. stealing), that person will think of the consequences that go along with that crime. Most people won’t commit the crime because their parents influenced them that stealing is bad. Some people will go commit the crime, but if you ask the thief of what their childhood was like, they would probably say that they had no parents to guide them. So that would lead to society bringing up a child to fend for himself.
Another influence that parents give their children is the distinction of good and bad. This is somewhat similar to right from wrong; it is just a little different. There are no severe consequences that come along with these actions. A parent will praise their child for obtaining good grades in school or doing chores around the house. Some parents, in order to teach children good things, will give rewards (i.e. money, toys, etc.) for any action to the child as long as that action is good. A parent might punish a child for doing something bad, such as getting a bad grade in school, or coming home late at night. A parent will do this to help the child understand what they did was wrong and not to do it again. Parents try to teach their children what they should be doing later in life. Parents give their children guidance and prepare them for adulthood. Some people will argue against that point.
People might argue that children entering young adulthood make choices due to their friends and/or society. At this point in a child’s life, there are many choices that one must make. Who to be friends with; How do I dress today?; Do I find myself attracted to that boy/girl? A child will base their answers on what they feel. That child’s parents have helped them gain knowledge in all those areas whether it was subliminal or not. Other peers might influence a child to a certain extent, but those peers cannot change what a parent has taught for the past 10 years or more. Once that child becomes and adult, he/she will understand then why parents have done the things they have. The parents have done these things to set values their child’s life and have those values continue on through adulthood. Michael Jordan describes this best by saying, “ I know that no one has had a greater impact on me than my parents. Their ethics and morals are my ethics and morals. It’s funny, but you don’t realize how much they mold you until you get older and begin to see them in the things that you do…”(Newsweek, 9/7/98, p.58)
Parents will have an everlasting effect on their children no matter what. If the parent was good then the child will turn out to be a good adult. If the parent is bad, probably the child will turn out to be just like their parents but you never known. Maybe society had a positive effect on that child’s life. All a person can say is that what a parents does to influence a child will never be forgotten.