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.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Good Parenting, Bad Parenting, Is There Really A Big Difference?”

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Lawrence D?Oliveirosays:

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?

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

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.


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.


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.


“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)


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.

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