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ChocolateReigns's avatar

How much of our personality is actually influenced by how our parents raised us?

Asked by ChocolateReigns (5609 points ) October 21st, 2010

I was thinking lately about what I’ll do differently that my parents, and thinking about how much I’ll be like them or not. Everybody says they’ll do some stuff differently than their parents did. But they’re still being influenced a little bit by their parents. So, is every single aspect of our lives affected by how our parents lived and raised us? What do you think?

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15 Answers

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I have to try very very hard to not be my father.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Tons! What you don’t buy and adopt for yourself, you react against and by that learn degrees of what is acceptable and/or workable about those things.

zophu's avatar

As influential as parents can be, they can potentially be a smaller part of a child’s life compared to other influences. Sadly, most parents seem to serve as supervisors more than teachers. It’s whoever and whatever teaches a child that most influences them.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

My parents were a huge influence on my life. Believe me. I think I’ve paid for at least 2 cars for my therapist over the years.

josie's avatar

Your personality is yours. How you make decisions and act on them may be influenced by others.

meagan's avatar

I think people are a product of their environment. But once you acknowledge that something is “wrong”, people grow from it. ( I hope )

Jeruba's avatar

Parents’ influence is considerable, but it is not the only determining factor. If it were, we’d see far less difference among siblings. The same parents raised Billy Carter, a beer-guzzling good-ol’-boy clown of a public figure, and his older brother Jimmy, 39th president of the U.S.

zophu's avatar

@Jeruba That’s assuming parents generally treat there children in similar ways, and that children generally react in similar ways. It’s possible for parents to be the primary influence for all siblings while great differences still exist between them. Maybe there would be more similarity between siblings, generally, if parents were always the primary influence. But I think most families have social dynamics where perceived roles greatly diversify how children are seen and how they see themselves.

Jeruba's avatar

It’s not assuming any such thing. The OP did not qualify the parents’ role in any way, and several comments likewise make no distinction. I said the parents’ influence is not the only determining factor, and it seems that you agree with me, @zophu.

In fact, I think the makeup of the individual is a bigger factor than parental influence. Personality can be shaped only so much by external forces. You’re simply starting with different materials, and even if they’re subjected to the same conditions (which they can’t be, because every child in a family has the other children as part of his or her environment—hence it’s different for each one), they won’t turn out the same.

weeveeship's avatar

Partly. One commonly used model of personality is the MBTI. Nurture could have an influence. An example:

Introversion vs. Extraversion
Let’s say that a parent keeps her kid secluded from the rest of the world. It’s basically home and school and nothing else. No sleepovers. No going to friends’ houses. No extracurriculars or social clubs. The kid might grow up more introverted. Even if the kid is a natural extravert, the kid might lack adequate social skills.

Judging vs. Perceiving
Let’s say a father makes his kid always keep schedules of everything, even for minor matters. This would train the kid to be very organized (Judging according to the MBTI) and could inhibit flexibility (Perceiving).

I would say, though, that more often than not, a kid’s true self emerges during college. That is why a lot of kids who were otherwise sheltered and kept secluded become the biggest partiers in college. I personally know this classmate who was always quiet and laid back in high school, but became rowdy and comedic in college.

Austinlad's avatar

For me, lots. I have a mix of traits inherited or osmosed from each parent, and frankly, I cherish even the ones I sometimes wish I didn’t have.

john65pennington's avatar

You may want to be some other person, but your genes will control you personality.

I attempted to be a “stuck up” in high school, but the genes from my parents took over and i was given the title of Mr. Personality in my yearbook.

So much for a change of face.

efritz's avatar

I feel like parents sculpt what you’ve already got. Whether you rebel against it or accept it or something-in-between-it depends on you in the first place. And I don’t think “every single aspect” of ourselves is influenced by our parents . . . not every experience you have includes them.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

I hope I am never like my mom. If I ever become like my ungrateful mother I hope I get a nice slap in the face. But I am heavily influenced by my Dad. All my life I have followed his words and never doubted him. But I am not exactly like him and I don’t think any child completely follows every footstep of their parents. Eventually every child sees things and makes their own perspective on it.

Aster's avatar

I didn’t notice much of anything until I got older. Now I keep seeing things in me that are just like my dad. More than I’ve gotten from my mother. But life events also shape our personalities. I love watching similarities unfolding.

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