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Dutchess_III's avatar

Is raising children a form of brainwashing?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42477points) August 14th, 2016

Your thoughts?

Most of us try to teach them right from wrong. We teach them what is acceptable in our society, and what is not. Most of us try to teach them empathy. Some teach their kids greed and selfishness.

Is it just brainwashing?

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24 Answers

Mimishu1995's avatar

Only people who don’t let their children grow up in the natural way are brainwashing. Teaching and brainwashing are two different things.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

AS most know I don’t have children, but I really like @Mimishu1995 answer for me it seems spot on.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

If brainwashing is using coercion, manipulation and persuasion to influence how our children think and behave, yes. We do try to mould our children into adult humans who care about other people, are considerate of others feelings, and are conscious of how their behaviours affect others. I know I would have manipulated and coerced my kids to do things they didn’t want to do at times. “Matthew, let Jimmy play with your favourite toy”. “Dan, how would you feel if your friend behaved that way?” And so on. I’m pretty sure their natural tendency would often have been to do what met their own selfish desires and needs rather than being considerate of other people. However, if we’re going to call it brainwashing, It’s brainwashing used for good, rather than evil.

flutherother's avatar

No, we try to teach them what they would learn for themselves in time anyway. We teach them from love and not from ideology.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t know if they’d learn things on their own @flutherother. By their nature kids are very selfish. It’s a survival thing.
We tell them over and over, “Be nice. Be nice. Be nice,” until they become nice people (hopefully.)
Isn’t that brainwashing?

Yes, we teach them from love, most of us. That isn’t really relevant, though.

flutherother's avatar

Selfish kids aren’t liked by other kids and it isn’t good to be selfish. I think most kids will learn this the hard way in time but it is better if the parents tell them first.

Seek's avatar

It’s definitely programming. I call my kid a “wetware android” sometimes.

Otherwise, I agree with @Earthbound_Misfit

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Only if you don’t let them form their own opinions.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me, that is a good point, but in the end, aren’t their opinions just a result of what we taught them growing up? Whether it is “God made the world in 6 days, ” or, “I accept the evidence for evolution.”

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

My parents did not do that. I think they took special care to let us discover the world on our own. It is possible to not brainwash your kids. It made the brainwashing at school painfully obvious.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t see it as brainwashing at the school, any more than any other subject. They’re teaching the children how to read facial expressions, just like they teach the that certain letters make certain sounds.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Part of that conditioning can relate to encouraging your children to analyse, evaluate and to use evidence-based reasoning. That was certainly how my father operated and I’d like to think I did (and do) the same thing with my children. They could argue anything they liked, but they needed to back up their ideas with some evidence. We had many debates and discussions around the dining table. And we would go and find out the answers to questions. Again, modelling behaviour we hoped they would adopt.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think my dad did the same. But…we all still believed in Jesus and stuff. It just wasn’t questioned.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Oh, brainwashing at school does happen. I remember my sister telling dad he was going to hell for smoking. she was five They pulled her out of the christian pre-school promptly.
Don’t even get me started about k-12

MrGrimm888's avatar

I think it is. But only at first. The idea,I would think, is to teach the child how to observe and understand their own world. That way they can make their own decisions and follow their own beliefs.

If you’re teaching them things that will help them be an independent thinker,then no. But if you’re intentionally keeping them in one mindset (that of your own) , and deliberately keeping them from information, then yes.

stanleybmanly's avatar

You say potato, I say pototo. Those doing the brainwashing will always claim to be teaching.

MrGrimm888's avatar

That’s probably true @stanleybmanly.

Brainwashing is hard work though.
The beatings will continue until morale improves.

kritiper's avatar

Yes, it is brainwashing, but the brainwashers have been also been brainwashed. And not knowingly.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Yet one more reason why I chose NOT to have children.

Coloma's avatar

It’s the opposite. Children brainwash their parents. BC before children you never feel guilty or question yourself about much of anything. AC after children you are full of constant self doubt with a side of guilt. haha

Mariah's avatar

Most children do grow up to have the same political/religious/etc beliefs as their parents. I think this happens whether we purposefully try to instill those values or not. Children will be influenced by the people they spend time with, that’s just natural, and I can’t imagine how we’d prevent it. We can’t exactly isolate children from our beliefs. I guess the best we can do is tell them that we’ll love them no matter what they believe in.

In the cases where children are pressured to have the same beliefs, such as parents who say they’ll disown their child if they leave the church / come out as gay / etc etc etc….that is brainwashing and, I think, child abuse.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Mariah good answer.

It seems like religion is an accepted form of brainwashing for much of the world. Kids are pressured into believing things that can’t possibly be true. It’s really weird when you think about it.

But we also “pressure” kids into behaving a certain way, or to discontinue certain behaviors (like biting other humans! Little shit!)

But some parents pressure their kids into anti-societal behavior, by treating them with mindless violence or neglect.

I guess it’s all programming in a way. I wonder if it would help some parents to be more aware of themselves and their actions if they viewed it like that?

Sneki95's avatar

You are right, it is brain washing. We need to wash our brains. There is too much filth in there, which can destroy the humankind if we contaminate it with it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The filth is often brainwashed in.

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