Parental influences

Influence or brainwashing? Brainwashing or influence? This was on another blog and it really got me thinking. When I had Jason one of the first things he got was a Viking and Twins sleeper. He had North Stars stuff and so did Toby. Is this brainwashing or just general parental influence?

As it turns out, both of our boys are politically on the same page as we are. I know I’m the opposite of what my parents are so how does that happen? We all like boating, swimming and sports. I’m the only one of the 4 of us that enjoys reading. Jason and I share the same types of music and movies.

How does this happen? Do you think most families have the same political interests? Do religions stay the same once grown? The arts or sports? How are you the same as your parents and how are you different? What about your siblings? Did they follow the same path as your parents or take another fork in the road?

Does your family wear the same colors?

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10 Responses to Parental influences

  1. SKL says:

    Interesting question. I’ve read somewhere that political leanings are partly genetic – but I’m not sure how much stock I put in that. Definitely we influence our kids – for better or worse. We teach them the ethics and priorities that shape their beliefs. For example, I was taught that you need to study and work hard to get what you want – that if you don’t, well, don’t expect much. Made sense to me – so I never became a “bleedin’ heart liberal.” I admit that there are factors that make it harder for some people, but I still believe work ethic is a choice and a key determinant of success. And this is what I teach my kids – intentionally and overtly. So that’s one example.

    You can get kids to “rah rah” with you when they are little (like when I taught my kids to say “No-Bama”), but they need some consistent underlying principles to carry the parents’ beliefs into adulthood. If the parents can’t articulate the foundation for their beliefs, I think the kids are more likely to be swayed by other influences as they get older. And that’s both good and bad. I’m glad I never really accepted some of the racial stereotypes I heard while growing up. But I’m also glad that I accepted my parents’ principle to put my future ahead of momentary temptations.

    When it comes to sports teams, I’ll say that the main reason I became a fan of a particular team was that it was the only team I knew a lot about. I knew the players as humans, as nice guys. The other guys were mostly just brutes who kept trying to sack our beloved quarterback. Ya know? It’s fun to root for a team, but I hope most of us don’t take it so seriously that we really think one team has better people on it than another.

    • SKL says:

      Oh, and as for my family, we are all fans of the same football team (with the possible exception of one brother who never got into it), same with baseball though we’re not nearly as rabid about that. Religion-wise and politics-wise, we are all on the conservative side, though one brother strayed a bit after marrying someone much more liberal and tending atheist. I still don’t know if he’s reconciled with religion, but he did have his daughter go to church and get baptized and confirmed. With politics, as my mom predicted, he came back around after he became a homeowner / taxpayer! None of us is a liberal, though of course we don’t subscribe to all the elements of the conservative platform.

      When I say “conservative” about religion, I mean we aren’t the “anything goes” kind of people. We believe there’s such a thing as right and wrong. In my case at least, I don’t believe any organized religion is 100% right while all others are wrong. But I do believe in the basic principles that are espoused by all the major religions, and some of those are considered “conservative” in the USA today. I have siblings who probably think non-Christians are wrong. But none of us is particular about the “denomination” of church we attend (other than avoiding certain ones). For that matter, my parents are open about this too.

  2. Jenny says:

    as far as sports teams goes I think parents do influence the child. We like to watch soccer and our favorite team is Liverpool. Hunter loves watching it and he even says that he’s gonna play for Liverpool one day. He’s so cute when he’s outside kicking the soccer ball around and yelling “Go Liverpool!”

  3. Laura says:

    As long as Josh grows up to be a Bears Fan, everything will be fine.

    To answer your question, I think it’s kinda half and half. We can instill our values, work ethic, etc., like SKL said, but at some point, we all have to make our own way. I know people who were raised with “republican” values and are absolute Obama-koolaid democrats, who would never dream of voting outside the democrat ticket for anything, from school board up through POTUS. I know people who were raised to be devout Catholics who now espouse Pagan beliefs and traditions.

    And I know others who share many of the same outlooks as their parents. I think it’s as much what we learn after we leave our childhood home – who we hang with, how life treats us – as it is what our parents taught us.

    And then there are ‘traits’ – book reading, for example, or musical taste. I think that’s more passed down like a personality trait, as opposed to a learned behavior or view like religion or politics.

    • Joy says:

      LOL about the Bears fan deal. You better pray for a nice mate. That would have to be the worst. To not like who they picked out. I’ve been very lucky.

  4. Sue says:

    Things like buying your hometown sports teams apparel and watching their games isn’t brainwashing in my book. You usually gravitate toward people who share similar interests as you whether that’s in your family or with your friends. I didn’t grow up watching sports (because my parents didn’t) but I played them by my own choice and have come to love football.

    In my family, it seems like 3 out of us 4 kids do similar things. My dad was in band in high school while my mother has zero instrumental talent (but sings pretty well). Me and my oldest sister and younger brother all played an instrument while my sister Julie had no interest. My 3 siblings can all draw (as can my mom) and I got the short end of the stick there! 3 of us are tall while my oldest sister is the shorty. 3 of us are blonde while my sister Julie is a brunette. 3 girls, 1 boy. 3 of us can be outspoken while Julie was/is pretty quiet. My mom wears glasses as do us 3 girls while my brother takes after my dad and doesn’t need them. I’m the only one who watches professional sports (that comes from Toby!) regularly and I’m the only one who played sports all through school. (Jr high my oldest sister and younger brother were involved, but they didn’t stick with it.) 3 of us like to read, Tom not so much! Politics are the only thing I think we’re all split on, and I honestly don’t ask what everyone is! Easier to avoid arguments that way!

  5. Nikki says:

    It could go both ways. For me, I grew up in a house with 49er and Giants fans. Now, I can’t stand them. I really do not like the Giants, except I do like one of their pitchers. I wish we had him, but he’s not Twins material.

    Growing up, my mom didn’t really listen to music, she was always working. So, I can’t say I grew up with any one type of music. We didn’t watch movies, so I didn’t see a lot of the classics until I met Jason. Come to think about it, I think his family influenced me more than anyone!!! And I’m okay with that…

    Ever since Bailey was born, we’ve watched the Twins and the Vikings, so of course he’s a die hard fan. Our first love is baseball, and so is his. We all can’t stand Basketball, I’m sure that influence came from us too. Music, he is his fathers son! Rock and Roll all the way, but he like country and some pop also.

    I think it all depends on how hard core a family is, whether the kids take on those same likes and dislikes.

    • Nikki says:

      I couldn’t even begin to tell you about my siblings!!! We all lived very different. My brother has stuck true to his 49ers and Giants, hates country, doesn’t read…him and I are total opposites. My 3 sisters…we grew up separately so I don’t know.

  6. I don’t think it’s brainwashing, but I also don’t think that it’s an accident that children often share political views or interests with their parents. I’m a big believer in nurture having a lot to do with a child’s development.

  7. Laura says:

    I think you hit the “brainwashing” title when you look at groups like that Westboro Baptist Church. Or Nazis. When you get to the point where your basic belief (Christianity) becomes so twisted and perverted that you use it as a tool for hate, control, etc. It’s one thing to raise a child “in the church” – to follow the Ten Commandments, to understand charity, community. It’s another thing entirely to use those tenets to decide that an entire group of people should be wiped from the face of the Earth. It makes me so sad to see people at their rallies, protests, etc., who have placed signs into those children’s hands. Kids walking around saying “xx should die”.

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