Are Parents Really to Blame for Their Kids’ Behavior?

Vanessa Olson Mrs. Novak September 17, 2012 Final Draft Are Parents Really to Blame for Their Kids’ Behavior? Watching how children, or even teenagers my age, act, I wonder how or why their parents let them get away with their behavior. What causes some kids to talk disrespectful to others or throw temper tantrums for the littlest reasons? My parents would tell me how, when they were my age, no one acted out like how children do today; that parents do not have the morals or values that the earlier generations have.
After all, I personally would never allow my children to act in such ways. I started to research if parents were really to blame for the way their children act, or if kids act in their own ways no matter how their parents raised them. At first I searched through Google to see if I could find articles debating whether parents were really to blame for how their children behave. Most of the results came out to be that parents were responsible and that children acting out is usually because there is little discipline at home.
I was not satisfied with only these results; I felt that there are exceptions to how children behave that are not solely in result of how they were raised by their parents. School, location, ethnicity, age, and religious factors all influence how we behave. Children are like sponges-they model everything a parent does and incorporate what they see into their own lives (Erikson 5). Reading this article, I was almost convinced that parents were actually really the main reason for children to act in the ways they do.

After all, negative examples can be unhealthy as a child will mimic these and lead them to bad behavior. I continued to read on what types of factors would influence negative behavior. I found out social skills, stress, discipline, fighting, and child abuse are all major factors that children are exposed to that result in their behavior. Social skills, such as a simple “please” or “thank you”, can be positively influential to kids; they will model what they witness their parents doing.
According to the website More4Kids info, a parent’s reaction to stress affects the way a child reacts to stress (Erickson 6). If they believe they are the reason for yelling or lashing out, the child will sometimes shut him or herself down. Discipline, such as pking or physically harming one’s child, does not teach that child how to modify their behavior; time-outs are alternate forms of punishment that can change their behavior in a calm manner. Verbal and physical fights are extremely hard on kids.
Children may develop low self-esteems and may even behave violently toward other children (Erickson 6). Sometimes when children are abused, they shut down and try to understand why they are getting abused. Reading through this article on how all these factors really influence how children act, I started to believe that mouthy children are the result of bad parenting. Still questioning if there were any other reasons for children to act out I continued to look at other articles online. According to Oxford University, poor parenting is not the reason for increased problem behavior in kids.
They found out that there is no general decline in parenting. Parents and teenagers are choosing to spend more quality time together than in 25 years ago (Oxford 3). The most recent studies show how parents now a-days are more likely to know where they children are compared to what they are doing in the 1980s. I found this information to be particularly surprising because I feel that parents were much stricter in earlier generations then compared to now. The most interesting article I found on who is to blame for children’s behavior is on The New York Times website.
Dr. Richard A. Friedman, M. D. , talked about a patient he had that dealt with depression and anxiety due to the fact that her son that had been a generally rude and unkind person his entire life. “I hate to admit it, but he is unkind and unsympathetic to people,” said his patient (Friedman 1). When tested, the results came back saying he was in the intellectually superior range and that there was no evidence of any learning disability or mental illness. These same parents raised two other children who were socially and intellectually normal.
How do parents raise two other well-behaved children while their other one turned out to be so misbehaved? When I read this, I felt that this was the truth. As I began to read the article Accepting That Good Parents May Plant Bad Seeds, part of me agrees with Dr. Friedman; sometimes good parents do have toxic children. Reading multiple articles arguing why parents are to blame for how their children act or how other factors can influence kids, I feel that both are to blame. On one hand, parents are to blame if their kids have no self-control and get away with acting out.
But on the other hand, I feel that some kids are just bad kids; they choose their own path to follow. For better or for worse, parents have limited power to influence their children. This is why they should not be so fast to take all the blame or credit for everything that their children become (Friedman 3). Vanessa Olson Mrs. Novak Annotated Bibliography 22 September 2012 A Selected Annotated Bibliography on Parents Influence on Kids’ Behavior Friedman, Richard A, M. D. Accepting That Good Parents May Plant Bad Seeds. 12 July    2010. Web. 13 July 2010. http://www. nytimes. om/2010/07/13/health/13mind. html? _r=0 This article was published in the New York Times and Richard Friedman, M. D. , explains the experience he had with one of his patients. She claimed to be depressed due to her son’s behavior. He talks about how their one son is not a nice person but they managed to raise two other well-adjusted children. I think this article is helpful; it explains how parents are not always the reason for how every child behaves. Also there is information of another set of parents who have been ignored by his son, having no phone calls or e-mails returned.
The best part of this article is that it says that not everyone will turn out nice and loving, and that it is not necessarily because of parental behavior or their environment that they grew up in. Erickson, Rose. Parents Effect on Child Behavior. 21 Jan. 2010. Web. 14 Sept. 2012. http://www. livestrong. com/article/75282-parents-effect-child-behavior/ In this article, parents are to blame for how their children act. It states how negative examples from parents have a great effect and can cause children to develop bad behavior. The author gives particular topics in day to day life that influence how one behaves.
I think this article is useful because out of all the articles about children’s bad behavior being a result of their parents, this has the best reasons why. I like how she used examples to show how each topic is the cause and that she backs up her statements. Also I like this article because Rose does not use words that exceed the average reading level. Oxford University. Today’s Parents ‘Not to Blame’ for Teenage Problem Behavior. 31 July 2009. Web. 14 Sept. 2012. This website talked about how most people believe that parents are much worse now than they were in earlier generations.
It has statistics on how even though most believe it to be the other way around, teenagers and parents are much closer now than in earlier generations. Parents are more likely to know where their kids are and what they are doing. I found this article to be useful because it talks about how there are other factors, such as cell phones, television, and the internet, that can influence one’s actions no matter how they were raised. I like this article mainly because it talks about what most articles do not; the comparison between earlier generations and this current one.

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