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Posted by james on Dec. 1, 2000

I've never given much thought to parents' influence on a person growing up. I assume there is some connection... a child takes on personality and values from their parents. But recently I started to think about the whole of what a person is, and how much a parent can affect that.

Your parent shows you how to think and what things are ok. You don't take your morals straight from them, but you learn to judge things inside and outside of you according to the things you've seen them do.

If your parent is very lax about certain things, you learn to be very light or carefree about them. What happens if your parent is very wrong about something? Not only in their moral views, but in their lifestyle? Or if the life they lead conflicts with the morals they claim to have?

If a child grows up seeing their parent say things, do the opposite, and then justify and rationalize, then what do his insides become? The parent has an internal struggle and choice to do something they know is wrong, and as much as they rationalize it they know they're dong wrong (until they're calloused against it). But a child sees nothing of this internal struggle, and only sees their role model in a few conflicting roles with the knowledge that somehow this must be ok. How do they put together their right and wrong when their eyes are full of compromise and rationalizations?

Maybe they grow up with an assemblage of conflicting views and rationales which come out as insecurity and hypocrisy.