How Parents Influence Their Children

Published: 2021-07-29 19:05:07
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As the interviews were written, I did not spend a great amount of time with the interviewees regarding the interviews, but I know each personally and was easily available if they had any questions or were unsure of the meaning of a question. I decided to conduct the interviews on paper because some of the questions could be considered difficult and I wanted the participant to have the time to think their answers through carefully and thoroughly.
In conducting this project, my main goal was to discover the general opinion of the influence that parents have on their children, the effects that different parenting styles have on a child’s development, and how the influence and parenting styles could be good and bad. I expected the answers to all be somewhat similar, as I believed the participants’ opinions on good and bad parenting to close to one another. The differences in opinions that I looked for in their answers, I expected all to be based on their age and gender.
The adult participants all have children of their own, so I expected theirs answers would reflect their experience just as I expected the adolescents’ (who are both childless) answers to reflect only what they believe to be true. Likewise, I expected the differences between the opinions of the opposite genders to reflect the differences between mothering and fathering parenting roles and styles. Adolescent Interviews When reading the answers given by my adolescent interviewees, I had to keep in mind where they were in terms of cognitive and social development.
According to developmentalist and psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, appropriate social and emotional development in adolescence requires solving the major challenge of ego-identity versus role diffusion. To resolve this challenge, adolescents must form an ego-identity, a strong sense of “who I am and what I stand for”, or they may suffer role diffusion (running from activity to activity), with a higher chance of them succumbing peer pressure. The premier adolescent interview I will be discussing is by the female (ladies first! . Overall, she, who requested that her pseudonym simply and humorously be So’n’So, believed that though parents aren’t always the best teacher, they are most definitely the most influential. At the same time So’n’So often stressed the fact that, sometimes even in spite of the parents and their influence, “there will be instances when the child has their own personality, values, and beliefs. ” A way in which parents often exceedingly purposefully try to influence their children is when passing down values.
So’n’So declared that parents should make sure to pass down some values, such as what they believe to be right and wrong, but the children will otherwise “be able to hold their own values”. Another way parents can influence their children, often without being aware of doing so, is through their own habits and self-talk. So’n’So stated that, “positive habits and self-talk can and will show their child how to view and show themselves independently….. and a parent’s negative habits and self-talk may end up sending their child’s self-judgment downhill. Parents also often attempt to direct their young children into acting like their gender should. On this subject, So’n’So said that gender stereotyping can be both a good and a bad influence on the child. “It affects the child positively by allowing the child to see how their gender should act. Negatively, it can cause the child to not be who they really are. ” She said that parents need to be aware of their own self-esteem and make sure to handle their negative habits when they are in front of their children.
When answering questions about the different parenting styles, she said that a constructive but firm parent (in other words, an authoritative parent) had a much better effect on the child than a deleterious and punitive parent (in other words, an authoritarian parent). So’n’So said that “A compassionate and concerned parent will, for the most part, affect the child positively in their emotional and social development” and “An unconcerned and passive parent will most likely have children…. that often turn to poor habits”.
However, she again strained her opinion that the child’s unique personality can often affect the extent to which a parent can influence their child’s behavior and development. She considers a parent that shows too much concern for their child hindering to the child’s development. When asked how much compassion and concern is ideal for the development of the child, she stated, “No care leaves a child feeling alone and neglected, but too much has the child wanting escape from their parents control. ”
Aside from being somewhat more blunt and assertive in answering the questions, the male adolescent interviewee (who said I just call him Han Solo for this report) had very similar answers to So’n’So. When discussing how parents influence their children, Han also said that the kids should have certain values that are their own, “values that they believe because they accept it, not because they were forced to believe it. ” But if it concerns values like “treat others how you want to be treated, then I think they should be passed down. When discussing how parents try to influence how the child should act based on their gender, Han bluntly said, contrary to So’n’So, that he thinks “nature pretty well takes care of that on its own. Boys stand. Girls sit. Boys prefer to roughhouse and play with cars, while girls prefer to play dress-up and play with dolls. ” Han recognized that there are exceptions, but didn’t see how the parent could make the child act in a way that wasn’t natural for them.
He also adamantly encouraged parents to practice positive self-esteem and habits, at least when in front of their child. He thought that the parent’s self-confidence would have a huge impact on the child’s later self-confidence. He thought it made sense that if the parent didn’t believe in themselves, then they wouldn’t encourage the child and, therefore, the child would end up having low self-confidence later in life. Similarly, he thought that a confident parent would be encouraging and their child would end up having a lot of self-confidence.
When answering questions about different parenting styles, he basically had the same answers as So’n’So, saying that a concerned and compassionate parent will affect the child in a positive way and an unconcerned and passive parent will affect the child in a negative way. In other words, he said agreed that, overall, an authoritative parent would be the most beneficial to a child. He said that his ideal level of concern for the child would be “total concern because it’s MY child. ” He believes that kids learn a lot from their parents. He believes that kids learn what is ok behavior from watching their parents and their habits.
To finish off the interview, Han made this interesting statement: “Think of kids growing up as like a lump of dough. How they are cooked and everything will determine how well they come out. Upbringing is everything. ” Middle Adult Interviews While interviewing middle-aged adults, I had to keep in mind where they were in their emotional, social, and cognitive development. Erik Erikson stated that the primary psychosocial task of middle adulthood is to develop generativity, or the desire to expand one’s influence and commitment to family, society, and future generations.
The middle-aged adult who fails to develop generativity experiences stagnation, or self-absorption, with its associated self-indulgence and invalidism. Other influential issues that middle-aged adults run into are adjusting to physiological changes, reaching and maintaining satisfaction in one’ s occupation, helping teenage children to become responsible adults, achieving adult social and civil responsibility, relating to one’s spouse as a person, and developing leisure-time activities.
Like I expected, it was immediately obvious that the middle-aged adults had more experience with parenting than the adolescents. The female middle adult, whose pseudonym will be Michelle, gave her experienced opinion on how parents influence their children, as well as how different teaching styles affect children. I know for a fact that, not only is she a parent herself, but she also has experience working with children in a daycare setting.
When answering the questions, she often included her own experiences, explaining how she sometimes did things, what her mindset was when with children, and even how she would do things differently if she could. When inquired about how parents should pass on their values to their children, she replied, “Even though parents are usually eager to pass their values on to their children, parents make mistakes and do not always live as the example that they would wish for their children to follow. She then interjected her personal experience, saying that, “I’ve always expected complete and immediate obedience and respect from my children, but I have always understood that my children are individuals and that they are ultimately responsible for their own belief system and daily choices. ” In saying this, Michelle pretty well agreed with what the adolescents believed about parents influencing their kids’ values. She then went on to answer the questions about how the parent’s own self-esteem and habits can influence the child.
Michelle said that, “A parent with confidence will be a better decision maker and will be more apt to take chances and accomplish more in life…Having a positive attitude can help to make many things in life bearable and even more pleasurable. ” She then said, “A parent with low confidence will probably not get out much and won’t take chances or be very successful in life…That parent will probably not encourage or challenge their children to be better either. ” She then made an overall statement, declaring that, “Children learn everything from their parents. Michelle believes, when it comes to different parenting styles, that a stern but compassionate parent has the best effect on a child. She says that she “believes in correcting her children so they know what they’ve done wrong…I want my children to make healthy choices but I also realize that making mistakes is the best way to learn…along with compassion can go a long way to helping my children to accept responsibility for their mistakes and to hopefully make better ones in the future. ” She also said that this correction and compassion can go a long way when it comes to discipline.
Again, she explains how learning from mistakes is the most important aspect of disciplining acts of disobedience. Her general statement regarding how parents influence their children was, “They learn what is acceptable and they form a view of what life is supposed to be like through the relationship and behavior from their parents. ” The middle-aged male adult, who said for his pseudonym to be Charles, puts emphasis on the importance on both the influence of the parents on the child and the independence of the child.
He doesn’t mention his experience outright in his answers, but he informed me beforehand that his opinions would be greatly influenced by his experiences as a father. “Parents have such a strong influence that even though children can understand that their parents may not always be right about decisions and lifestyles that they choose, it still sets the standard for what seems acceptable. ” Charles accepts as truth the idea that the child will be influenced by the parent no matter what.
Because of this, he believes it is important for parents to establish independence and self-confidence in their children. He says that this can be accomplished by “helping to direct a child in an appropriate and loving way…parents can establish good self-esteem in their children by having a positive attitude themselves. Being positive can naturally rub off on children and help them to develop healthy and positive thoughts and actions. ” Likewise, a parent who has a negative attitude will also rub off on their children, passing down negative and self-destructive thoughts and actions.
Also, Charles talks about how parenting styles can have a big effect on a child’s self-worth and confidence. “Parents who express concern and compassion for their children…encourage their children to excel and help to build their self-worth and self-esteem. ” Similarly, “when parents are passive and do not express an interest in their child’s life this can cause the child to lose interest in trying new things or in trying to succeed…it can lower their self-esteem, confidence, and feelings of self-worth. He thinks the ideal level of attachment, which allows independence and parental influence, “should be one that consists of a balance between being observant and compassionate and allowing the child to experiment and build their independence and abilities with direction and advice without being controlling or instilling fear in a child for wanting to try new things. ” Another way this can be instilled, Charles believes, is through correct discipline.
“A child who learns to behave in social situations is one who has had consistent and loving direction, discipline, and boundaries and who has had to learn self-control and obedience. He states that the key to a well-behaved child is a parent who will teach their child what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior and who disciplines their child for unacceptable behavior. Charles also believes that a great way for a child to learn is by watching how their parents handle situations and how they manage under stress. “A child can learn patience and can learn to become an effective problem-solver from watching their parents handle stress the right way. Charles says that the right ways for parents to handle stress in front of their children is by talking and calmly solve problems without making it difficult on their children or others around them. ” Late Adulthood Interviews When reading the answers given by the interviewees in late adulthood, I had to keep in mind where they were on their emotional, social, and cognitive development. Erik Erikson suggests that at this time it is important to find meaning and satisfaction in life rather than to become bitter and disillusioned, that is, to resolve the conflict of integrity versus despair.
A stereotype about elder generations that is widely believed is that intellectual changes result in reduction of ability. This isn’t necessarily true. While fluid intelligence (the ability to see and use patterns and relationships to solve problems) does decline in the later years, crystallized intelligence (the ability to use accumulated information to solve problems and make decisions) has been shown to stay the same and, in some cases, even rise slightly. The two interviewees that were in later adulthood used their experience as both parents and grandparents.
They’ve not only experienced parenting themselves, but they’ve had their children grow up, move out, and be parents themselves. Even so, there were a lot of similarities in the answers given by the elder adults and the middle-aged adults. The elder female interviewee, whose pseudonym shall be Debbie, agreed that children won’t always have the same values that they’re parents do. But, she also agrees, that children will tend to value many things that their parents do.
In order for a parent to establish good self-esteem in their children, Debbie believes that parents should “practice positive behavior, praising their kids for positive behavior, and by providing a loving and understanding environment. ” A parent’s negative self-talk and low self-esteem can “promote destructive habits” and a parent’s positive self-talk and high self-esteem “provides a good role model for the child”. Overall, Debbie concluded that “children are heavily influenced by their parents.
Positive influence can create children who have integrity while negative influence can create children who have utter disregard for others. ” Debbie also had similar views on how different parenting styles can affect children. She believed that how a child treats their other relationships often mirrors how the parent treats the child. She said that a parent who shows concern and compassion for the child will result in “a child that learns from their parents and thus incorporates concern and compassion into their relationships. In the same way, an unconcerned and passive parent will teach their children to be aggressive and unconcerned towards other people they encounter. She also made a point to state how lack of discipline can affect a child: “Children will have no self-discipline and lack accountability. ” Debbie continued and said that two other very important aspects in parental influence are focusing on education and learning how to set goals. The male in his later years of adulthood, when asked what I should call him in my report, he jokingly said that he would like to be referred to as Geezer.
He was thrilled when I told him that I actually would be allowed to do so if he didn’t mind, so that’s what his pseudonym shall be for the purpose of this report. When inquired about children taking their parents values as their own, he said that “it would be shame on me if didn’t receive my values, which include respecting others and working hard to achieve your goals, but for children whose parents have values such as take what you can get and live off the benefit system, it would be much better if the children wouldn’t believe what their parents do. Geezer then makes his statement on how a parent’s self-esteem affects the child and their self-esteem. He starts by putting his own definition to the word ‘self-esteem’: “Self-esteem comes from knowing that you can do things accurately, successfully, and independently.
” He believes that the best way to build a child’s self-esteem comes from reward systems, which make the child realize the span of their own capabilities. “One understanding that I have thought of as useful, from dealing with my children and other youngsters of the family, is that istakes are meant to be learned from. ” He then goes on to explain how he believes a parent’s own habits and self-esteem can affect the child. He says that the effect on the child depends on the level of concern and compassion the child is exposed to. “For instance, if a parent is so compassionate that they never want to see their child cry. The child gets what the child wants because it breaks the parent’s heart to see the child ‘suffer’ even the slightest bit. ” He then adds his personal experience: “For me, it was a constant balancing act.
I was constantly weighing out how much or how little to show, because every situation was different. If I didn’t get the balance right, chances of something affecting my child’s development negatively rises. ” Discussion When looking at the answers of all of the interviewees ‘answers side-by-side, the different age groups gave very similar answers. They all agree that children will have their own values, no matter what. At the same time, parental influence is inescapable. They all agree that compassion and concern are, if not taken too far, are much more beneficial to the child than disregard and passiveness.
They all agree that failure to discipline unacceptable behavior affects the child negatively and that behavior should be explained, so that the child understands why certain behavior is either acceptable or unacceptable. They all agree that parents should monitor their own self-esteem and habits when on front of the children, as negative self-esteem can give the child low confidence levels. The main differences in their answers seem to originate from level of real-world experience. The adolescents weren’t able to incorporate as much experience as the adults, so their answers weren’t as detailed and opinionated.
Differences also stemmed from the participant’s stage of development, stages that Erik Erikson explained. These stages helped me to understand the three different age groups and what their mindsets were when answering my questions. Everything they said went along with what the theories in the book. The only way I really tried to ensure honesty in my interviews was by interviewing people I am personally familiar with. When choosing participants, I chose people that I know for a fact would tell the truth.
Anyway, I am already familiar with them and their opinions, so if they were to say something they didn’t believe, I’d like to think that I would know. I also gave the interviews on paper, so that the recipients would have time to think through their answers. I wouldn’t want them to say something they didn’t think through or have them leave out information because they didn’t have a chance to think it through. The most difficult part of this project was trying to come up with effective questions to ask my interviewees.
I wanted questions that would altogether go to show the general opinion on how parents influence their children. After that, getting the interviews completed was simple, as they were written and didn’t require much time, and the report came together very quickly and rather nicely, I think. Overall, I learned exactly what I expected to learn. I discovered the general opinion of the influence that parents have on their children, the effects that different parenting styles have on a child’s development, and how the influence and parenting styles could be good and bad.
Like I stated before, most major opinions were shared and the only differences in answers were due to age and experience variances. Upon completing this report, I realize that it has helped me to understand my parents and grandparents and reasons why they raised us kids the way that they did. The most important things that I’ve learned through this project though, are things that I will be able to use when I become a mother, a teacher, and, eventually (and hopefully), a grandmother.

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