DailyDirt: Good Parenting, Bad Parenting, Is There Really A Big Difference?

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Who can really say what effect parenting has on the development of a child? Presumably, the parents of Ted and David Kaczynski didn't raise their sons in dramatically different ways, but these brothers ultimately live very different lives. It's sometimes difficult to define what a good parent is, and it may seem like it's easier to point out bad parents, but the distinctions may not be as clear-cut as everyone thinks. (Who is qualified to judge, anyway?) Here are just a few links on the topic of raising kids. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

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  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 18 Mar 2014 @ 6:43pm

    Peer Pressure

    There was a study by a psychologist, reported in New Scientist a few years ago, which claimed that peer pressure was responsible for essentially 100% of the influence on a child’s upbringing—parental influence was so low as to be within the experimental error.

    Peer pressure can make people do the most unbelievable things, as Stanley Milgram discovered all those years ago. How else to explain why your Congress, discovering that researchers were reporting that stricter controls on guns would be a good idea, decided to ban such research?

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    • identicon
      Emil O. W. Kirkegaard, 18 Mar 2014 @ 6:57pm

      Re: Peer Pressure

      You are talking about Judith Harris. But yes, parenting is a shared environment effect, and shared environment has no effect on adult IQ or five factor personality.

      See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nurture_Assumption
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin_study

      Harris is right about the shared environment being approximately 0 for many traits at adulthood. There are some that show shared environment effects, e.g. criminality, but it is not necessarily due to parenting.

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    • icon
      Lance (profile), 19 Mar 2014 @ 5:09am

      Re: Peer Pressure

      Yes, peer pressure can be a great influence on a child; and that influence seems to grow as a child enters adolescence. That is why it is imperative upon parents to be more engaged in the early years of a child's upbringing.

      A child that is raised to have a greater sense of self, and is encouraged to recognize his/her uniqueness, is not affected to the same by peer pressure. Making sure that Susie and Billy know that they are just part of the pack, and insisting that they adhere to all of the social norms, is a great way to raise a child that will succumb to peer pressure. On the other hand, raising a child with that sense of self awareness, and the license to express his/her uniqueness, are a good way to prepare a child to deal with the pressures that often are exerted by the crowd around them.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2014 @ 4:06am

    Are you kidding me? I taught kindergarten for the first time this year - there was a student on day 1 whom you would think has no parents. She had no concept of acceptable social behavior, no experience with listening to others, no concept of rules...she was way behind in development compared to the other five year olds. Since she had no peers or schooling of any kind yet, this can only be the fault of the parents.

    I will grant you that two completely different behaviors can arise from the same household. But let's not pretend that parenting makes no difference.

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 19 Mar 2014 @ 9:27am

      Re:

      "Since she had no peers or schooling of any kind yet, this can only be the fault of the parents."

      This is clearly jumping to conclusions. There remain a lot of other possible factors that influence this -- including just plain chance.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2014 @ 7:02am

    "she was way behind in development compared to the other five year olds. Since she had no peers or schooling of any kind yet, this can only be the fault of the parents."

    How about genetics and/or a brain disorder arising from genetics or a head injury? From the sparse evidence you provide it's impossible to tell but surely those should be discounted? Or is that too logical ? (In at least one large state in the US teaching 'critical thinking' is deemed to be a Bad Thing)

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  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 19 Mar 2014 @ 9:25am

    Parental self-perception

    I've long ago noticed that parents tend to take both too much credit and too much blame for how their children turn out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Carel (profile), 19 Mar 2014 @ 7:52pm

    Ted Kaczynski

    Kaczynski was admitted to Harvard at age 16. As freshman he was asked to volunteer for some psychological experiments, more or less based on what was understood to be "brainwashing" in those days. After having been subjected to a series of rather brutal psychological experiments, intended to mentally break the subjects, the volunteers were left to their own devices with no option for counselling/debriefing. Not an excuse for blowing people up, but surprising that it is rarely mentioned as a possible contributing factor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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