, Research Paper
The Similarities and Differences Between Parents and Their Children
The transition from childhood to adulthood is a journey undergone by all, but all in a different way. While some people believe that the maturation process is a time for one to develop one’s individuality and uniqueness from one’s parental figures, others believe that growing up is a fine-tuning of beliefs, morals and ideology passed down from generation to generation. The old saying “A chip of the old block” in most cases applies to every human, regardless of how different one may seem from one’s parents. Qualities are inherited that cannot be suppressed and will always prevail despite how much one may want to differ form one’s parents. While protruding into this topic, valuable issues must be discussed; moral ideology, lifestyles, social influences, and physical attributes are all factors in the distinction between a child and his/her parents.
Morals are one of the key ingredients in raising a child. These thoughts are passed from the parent to the youngster from birth and possibly even as far as death. Parents are always helping the development of morals weather intentional or through actions displayed by the parent. Although a parent may not even realize that morals are being taught, the idea of “good” and “bad” are presented even in the act of disciplining a child. Kids grow up learning how to handle situations from past experiences and the lessons that have been attained. Perhaps a simple example of this rational is the lesson of truth. When a child lies to his/her mother, the mother reprimands the child and disciplinary action may be taken. If appropriately used, the punishment will teach the child that it is unacceptable to lie. As time progresses, the child will usually develop an understanding to tell the truth. This is important in comparing a child from a parent because if the parent never learned that it is inappropriate to lie, then the child will most likely understand the importance of truth because truth was not a moral prevalent in the child’s upbringing. Although parents most often teach commendable lessons, negative morals can also be developed in a person due to actions taken by the parent in the past. For example, it is a possibility that a parent is always pushing a child to attend church. When the child loathes attending services and tries at all costs to avoid them, a resistance to religion can be formed. The child can develop excuses as to why attending church is pointless and begin to believe these reasons. Further down in life a complete opposition to religion could possibly be established based on the roots of a boring mass. Now the parent whose morals are set in organized religion has a child who has drifted away from religion and entirely new ideas are developed in his/her mind. Morals play an important part in comparing and contrasting the similarities between a parent and a child. The presence of morals usually is passed down to the child, however sometimes the moral ideology presents itself in a completely different manner that proposes opposition between parents and children.
While morals are very relevant to the discussion of behavioral similarities and differences between parents and children, lifestyles and the reasons behind a chosen lifestyle is also a prevalent topic in the discussion. Some people tend to choose a similar path that their parents have chosen, while others choose to break away and take a completely alternate route. The way one lives depends largely upon his/her personality and motivation, which in turn, is greatly effected by the parents. If one is brought up in an environment that is very neat and tidy, most likely that person will follow the habits of growing up in that manner and will continue to keep things orderly. The effect can be best described in terms of the word imitation. Because the child is so used to doing things a certain way, when the absence of the parent arises, the habits are carried over. Usually this process goes either one of two ways: the child either mimics the parent’s habits or the child develops a resistance. Typically when youths reach college, they are so tired of doing things the right way that a form of rebellion occurs. The whole lifestyle is rearranged now that the parental figure is missing, and things are free to go as they please. This typically happens when one is forced to do something against one’s will. This occurrence is very similar to the changing of morals due to a disliked aspect of life. Another example of this is displayed in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use.” In this story, Dee, one of the daughters, leaves home due to her strong-willed ways (exactly like her mother.) Dee leaves the home for city life, a completely different lifestyle, and returns with the same hard-headedness. However, she now leads a life entirely opposite to that which she was raised in. Dee’s new name, Wangero, is possibly a sign of rebellion from her mother. The two are so much alike that they are torn apart because they both stand up for what they want, regardless of the reasons that they hold. The path in life that one chooses is most definitely caused by the way one is raised, weather or not the path is similar is dependent upon many aspects of growing up.
Although “Everyday Use” presents the suggestion of changing lifestyles in the ascertation of similarities and differences between a mother and a daughter, the story also shows how the changing of society can cause parents and children to resemble or differ from one another. Part of the reason that Dee went through such an extravagant change was because society was also going through changes. When generations develop new ideas and trends also develop, such as in Dee’s case of trying to stay up to date in what was going on in her environment, children begin to differ from their parents. While this makes parents and children different in the sense that their likes and dislikes are not the same, it also makes them similar because every generation is prone to societies influences. For the most part, younger generations participate in the changing of the times and this does cause differences in attitudes between children and parents. There are some cases, however, where because a child does not participate in the evolution of society the child is very similar to the parent in one aspect while a sense of individualism is never achieved. In William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily,” Miss Emily is stuck in a society that was present when her father was still alive. Miss Emily’s immaturity to face real issues drive her to insanity because she never fully develops her own self and her own personal strengths. She does not face society after her father’s death because she never really adapts to society in the first place. While her father was alive, Miss Emily led a somewhat normal life, however she never fully adapted to social interaction, therefore, when her father died, she was unable to handle life in a society. While Miss Emily is very proud of her father and family heritage, just like her father was, she is also very unstable because she lacks her own identity. This is a rather extreme example of how social interaction within a culture can distinguish between the similarities and differences between parents and children, however it is a beneficial example in proving how people develop due to their upbringing and society’s impact upon one’s lifestyle.
Aside from the way a child is raised and the presence of parental supervision in one’s life, there are more obvious factors that allow for similarities in a child and his/her parents. There are certain mental conditions that force a child to act in a similar manner to his/her parents. Some aspects of one’s personality are passed down and are usually surfaced in one’s character. A simple example of this is alcoholism. It is a theory of many people that alcoholism is a genetic inheritance. Therefore, if one is a child of an alcoholic, one is prone to become an alcoholic following in the footsteps of the parent. There are also mental disabilities that are thought of as genetically inherited such as ADHD and Turret’s syndrome. These mental disorders are yet another example of how one can unintentionally mimic some behavioral patters of one’s parents.
Some people think that children can grow old and never contain any similarities as the parents. I, however, feel as though the parents play an important role in the development of a child. Children learn from their parents, therefore actions, attitudes, and feelings are grown surrounded by the already-learned lessons of the adults. Aside from the morals, lifestyles, and social influences, children are a part of their parents. Character traits must be passed down and similar ways are learnt. The old saying “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” is definitely a statement that should be taken with some true consideration.