Social Question

whitecarnations's avatar

The way your kids act is a reflection or your parenting: True or False?

Asked by whitecarnations (1635points) April 4th, 2012

Obviously kids have their own personalities and respond differently to certain situations but they are also shapable.

So when you see kids in public being all wild and reckless, at such an early stage from toddlerhood through teen-hood, would you say it’s more or less a reflection of the parenting style? I pretty much already know the answer but I’m curious as to others opinions. Thanks!

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28 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

Good question. It is my opinion that the way a child acts up to about the age of 12 is a reflection of the parenting they received. After that…toss it in a fan.

tom_g's avatar

Not an either-or. It’s both. Nature plays a big part in many personality traits, but parenting can certainly exacerbate a behavior “problem”.

Also, I’m probably a huge exception in that I don’t see kids-being-kids as one of today’s societal ills.

tranquilsea's avatar

All I know is I thought I had parenting under control after child #1 and 2. Then I had #3. He is very intelligent, very emotional and very passionate. He has a temper like my mom’s. My whole role has been to help him get his feelings under control. He has been much harder to parent than my first two.

Yes, parents have a big role in how children behave but so do their genes.

tom_g's avatar

@tranquilsea – I feel for you. I have 3 kids, and they were all born with such distinct personalities. I have a kid (or two) who have presented me with more of a challenge, but they have also given me some perspective. When I was a young shit, I would see some kid jumping around or freaking out in public and I would think that this was a result of “bad” parenting. I now feel for parents – not that there aren’t “bad” parents. I just know how immensely complex the whole exercise is. I also realize that every kid is different and has unique needs. There are sensitivity issues, various hyperactivity levels, etc. Parents, for the most part, are tasked with dealing with their kids as human beings – not dogs to be “broken”.

SpatzieLover's avatar

when you see kids in public being all wild and reckless, at such an early stage from toddlerhood through teen-hood, would you say it’s more or less a reflection of the parenting style?


Behavior is communication. If the behavior is bad often there is a communication issue or a developmental issue. I do not assume bad parenting nor do I assume bad kid. I just see behavior.

Fly's avatar

Yes and no. For me, it depends on how their parents then handle their behavior, assuming that the parents are present. If they are not, then I do not make an assumption other than the simple observation that the child is ill-behaved.

marinelife's avatar

True for the most part.

Blackberry's avatar

Neither true or false.

Bellatrix's avatar

I don’t think it is as simple as just blaming parents. Certainly parenting plays a role in how our children behave but there are many other factors, personality, mental health, peer pressure, alcohol and drug use amongst other things. I believe we give our children values and guidelines, but once they reach a certain age, we have limited control over how well they apply those values and guidelines.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Bellatrix That’s what I said…after the age of 12, toss it all in the fan!

john65pennington's avatar

That’s a big 10–4! Well, most of the time.

I have arrested police officers kids for crimes and I have arrested preachers kids for committing crimes.

But, overall, in general, a delinquent child is the product of their environment.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

It depends. I may not be a parent, but I do recognize that there are things I do that have nothing to do with my parents. There are things I have done when I was a child that my parents would not have approved of if they knew as well.

tom_g's avatar

Those of you in the “nurture” camp….

a) Do you have kids? And if so, were you aware of distinct personality types and needs that were present from birth?

b) Is it just “bad” behavior that is the result of parenting? The flip side seems to be that good behavior is merely a result of “good” parenting. If so, how were you as a kid? How are you now? If you had ADHD, was that a result of bad parenting? If you are currently making under $100k/yr, is this because of “bad” parenting? How much of “you” is just a product of your parents’ style of raising you?

SpatzieLover's avatar

Ironically enough, I answered this question while I was looking up templates to make up autism awareness business cards for our family and some other families of my son’s social skills group.

Usually I wonder if the kid or parent is just super tired, having a bad day or if the child has an invisible disability.

The last visit my husband & I made to the grocery store there were several screaming children. one in the checkout wailed for a good 15mins straight We both chalked it up to nap time grocery shopping. We didn’t think less of the parents or the kids.

wundayatta's avatar

Interesting question. I don’t see how you could say that parents don’t make a difference. The question is what is the base line? Better parents will deal with whatever child they are given better. If the child has ADHD, the better parent will handle it more effectively than the worse parent.

The question becomes: can you look at a child and say whether the parents are good or bad without knowing what challenges the child presents? Clearly not. There are children that will be difficult and that will behave in challenging ways no matter how good a parent you might be.

But let’s look at a child that everyone says is a model child. What if that child has a sibling who is also a model? Can we say the child’s parent is an excellent parent just because the kids are such model children? Would you say that the child was always good? Born that way?

Probably not. Children don’t know anything when born. However they behave, a lot of that has to do with what their parents have taught them. I child that behaves well has to have been taught well and raised well. That doesn’t come from nowhere. The parents have to accept the responsibility for that training.

But we still don’t know the baseline. Do we have an autistic child who behaves well? Wouldn’t that be a sign of extraordinary parenting?

And what about children who don’t behave well and who have no illnesses. What if they live in poverty and aren’t raised to value education because their parents don’t have any education? What do we say about the parents? Are they bad parents?

I guess compared to good ones, they are. But perhaps they can be excused for being poor and uneducated. Then again, perhaps there are poor and uneducated parents who do a good job. But then, are they really uneducated if they do a good job? Perhaps these are terms that define each other. It’s a tautology of sorts.

In the end, I think you can’t say for sure what role the parents have played until you have a greater understanding of family life. You need to see the relationships in action. You also need to know what challenges the child faces. Then, I think, if you have all that information, you might be in a position to judge. Not that lack of information ever stopped anyone from judging, anyway.

So it goes.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Frequently it is neither. A parent can only impart some portion of their beliefs to their children, however, science says that most children reflect the views of their peers more than they do the views of their parents. This seems to be especially true of teenagers.

whitecarnations's avatar

@Linda_Owl Ahh, hence the reason to put kids belonging to rich parents in private schools and private colleges eventually.

Cruiser's avatar

The parents can and do exert tremendous effort creating a “box” of expected behaviors they desire their child to exhibit. For better or for worse there is a whole world that exists outside that box that attracts and or distracts the attention of that child that challenges the child’s learned behaviors and invites/tempts that child with new behaviors and experiences. As @Linda_Owl points out children can and will reflect behaviors of their peers.

DaphneT's avatar

True. To an extent. Then they are simply reflecting societal choices.

josie's avatar

True. Our times certainly make parenting more difficult than it once might have been, but lots of things are harder than they used to be. So what. Just a good incentive to get better.

Coloma's avatar

True & false. As has been mentioned all kids are different and while certain basics such as good manners, politeness, etc. can be a barometer of parenting attention, after a certain age it’s outta your hands. Good parents can have bad experiences with kids that end up in trouble through no reflection of their parenting.

Last week two local 19 year olds flipped their SUV after drinking and the passenger was ejected and killed. The boy driving is now in jail and up for some serious consequences. Tragic, and in no way would I blame the parents.

likipie's avatar

To an extent, yes. Parenting can make or break the child. But it’s not all the parent’s fault, the child has to choose to act the way they do. If it’s mental/physical damage, they don’t have a choice in the matter but as far as behavior goes, the child decides. I knew a guy once who had grown up in the worst situation possible and instead of following the rest of the people who chose drugs, violence or crime, he joined the military, straitened himself up and grew to be one of the most respectable people I’ve ever known. So yes and no.

augustlan's avatar

Before I was a parent, I would have said it was true. After having 3 children in the space of four years, all with the same father, the same rules, parenting styles and environment, I have to say… it ain’t that simple. All 3 of my girls had very distinctive personalities and behavior styles from birth, some more challenging than others, and they persist to this day. I try very hard not to judge parents based on their children’s behaviors, but on their actual parenting.

Coloma's avatar

@augustlan Haha, I like your disclosure that they all came from the same father. lol Cute! Lest anyone think you’re a serial breeder. lolol

augustlan's avatar

Haha, I just meant to point out that all the factors were the same. :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Serial breeder….that’s GOOD!
Hey…when I was substitute teaching full time in Wichita I found that in some classrooms I had to open up Q & A about myself. I was in one such classroom and I said, “OK. Ask what you want.”
One kid asked, “Do all your kids have the same dad?” Kind of sad, really…that question
I said, “Yes…... But….. One of my kids has a different mother.”
Brows furrowed all around, so then I just grinned and waited for the light-bulbs to come on in a head or two…heh…. :)

Safie's avatar

Partly, i instill good values in my child they have very good manners…My parents bought me and my brothers and sisters the same way instilling good values…so yes it starts at home and after that you hope those values along with their own when they grow up will be good and they become well rounded members of society.

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