How Parents Influence Their Children

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How Parents Influence Their Children|
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By Brittney Smith|

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How Parents Influence Their Children|
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By Brittney Smith|

DEP 2004: Class meets at 11:00 A.M.

April 13, 2013
Professor Perry Davidson
DEP 2004: Class meets at 11:00 A.M.

April 13, 2013
Professor Perry Davidson

For my research paper, I interviewed two people, a male and a female, from the adolescent, middle adulthood, and late adulthood age groups. 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...
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