This is just a ramble of thoughts I wanted to write down. Totally my own opinion. I know it’s controversial…
Our parents are our biggest influence. Are they? Really? Over the years I’ve come to realize it’s not that straight forward. Now of course this is a diabetes blog, and I would like this to be a diabetes post and I am writing this with diabetes in mind, but it really doesn’t mention diabetes at all.
As young children, sure, most kids are around their parents more than anyone, so the parents could be the biggest influence. But not always. And does it really stick into adulthood? Not as much as we’d think.
I think the reason I believe we can’t “blame the parents” as readily as we’d like is because although they are the forefront of a child’s rearing, they certainly aren’t the only influence in their life. Not even close.
It really does take a village to raise a child.
And let’s not forget that everyone, even children, have their own brains and make their own decisions, even at a very young age.
The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And even when he is old he will not depart from it.” I believe there is some truth in this. But not all truth. At any age if you learn something, anything, good or bad, that makes a mark on your heart or brain, you will stick with it until which time you make the conscious effort to change.
Now, of course, it makes no difference if what you learned came from Mom, Dad, or anywhere else. What matters here is that it touched you enough to become a belief, a habit, a lifestyle.
But even when a child is taught to believe something, or behave a certain way, and it is embedded in their psyche and a prominent part of their lifestyle, they can, and many times do, abandon it at adulthood, never to return.
It all depends on soooo many factors. Not just the parents.
Then there are our emotions. I know a million people, including myself, who are influenced more by their emotions than anything or anyone else. In my childhood it made no difference to me who was trying to teach me what; all that mattered was how I felt about it. And those feelings determined how I reacted toward that thing for the rest of my goddamned life.
Don’t misunderstand me here, our parents teach and influence us profoundly. But they are by no means our only influence, and it remains to be seen if they are our strongest. We love our parents, we trust our parents, and up to a certain age we believe our parents to be all powerful, all knowing. But they do not have quite as much of an influence on us as we would like to think.
You have to bring into consideration personality type (both parent and child) as well as culture, religion, discipline style, and a million other factors. These all have an effect on influence between parent and child.
I think one main thing that effects influence is whether or not the child is a “sheeple” or a “free thinker”.
A sheeple will be easier to influence, more obedient, more impressionable, and eager to please. A sheeple type person goes with the pack with no question, no thought, they just want to belong.
A free thinker is less able to be influenced by anything or anyone, they will question, analyze, be more critical. A free thinker cares more about truth, knowledge, and independence than belonging and obeying.
Most of us are some level of mixture between the two.
You see, there are so many factors, so many types of people, types of families, sources of influence, that it can not be solely the parents that influence the child. Yes, they are a big influence, but not the only, not even close.
Yes, sometimes the parent(s) is/are the biggest influence. But because there are so many types of families, cultures, and so many other factors, this isn’t always the case. I know a million parents who hardly ever see their children because of work, etc., and I know a million other parents who you might call helicopter parents who don’t even let their kids think for themselves let alone interact with anything or anyone who might influence them in another way.
All I’m babbleing on about here is that it’s not as straight forward as we want it to be. Life just isn’t that simple. Psychology, behavior, upbringing, it’s all just a jumble that is influenced by EVERYTHING, whether you want it to be or not.
My parents influenced me profoundly in many ways. Some of those influences I still hold on to today. But a lot of them I have given up. And there are many things my parents influence didn’t affect me on, I went with other influences. Some stuck, some didn’t.
That’s life. And it’s a good thing most of the time.
Some parents want their children to believe what they believe, to live how they live. It’s almost like they want carbon copies of themselves. They want little robots they can control and never let think for themselves. But the good parents understand and embrace that their children are their own individual beings who have their own brains, desires, and paths to take in life.
There needs to be a balance. Teach your children good from bad, right from wrong, how to be decent, helpful human beings. But also teach them to think for themselves, make their own decisions, teach them to question, study, and learn on their own.
Because yes, parents have an influence on their children, a powerful one. But don’t delude yourself into thinking parents are the only influence that matters.