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Family Influence

BY PHILLIP WITTMEYER

Probably the strongest influence in our lives is the family we grew up in. Our birth order, the personality's of our parent(s), the way we were treated by our siblings, the socioeconomic status of the family, their education, the place we lived all of these shaped us at the time when we were most vulnerable to being shaped. Besides these tacit influences, our parents taught us all the basics of "proper" behavior. When we were small children, we jolly well did whatever impulse entered our heads. We did not know that it was socially unacceptable to eat with our fingers, to play with the vase on the coffee table, to hit our brother, to break our toys. These and a million other rules were drummed into our heads by our parents. Some of this is OK, some not so OK. Either way, it is often difficult to change things inculcated at such an early age.

It has been said that parents always screw up their kids, it is just a matter of how bad. Some seventy to eighty percent of families are considered "dysfunctional" by family therapists. It is probably true that no matter how well intentioned and how well informed parents may be, they cannot know exactly the correct way to rear a particular child. Many parents are not so well intentioned, and few are well informed. Consequently, most children grow up with a considerable burden of False Personality. Are you one of these? Was your mother alcoholic, her unpredictable behavior making you indecisive? Did your uncle molest you, making you mistrust all men? Was your father cold and distant, making you cold and distant? Was your sibling the gifted or favorite child, making you feel inferior or unwanted? Did you grow up in poverty, causing you to feel insecure about money and possessions? Were you a weird kid that other kids made fun of, making you shy? Did your strong-willed father dominate your weak-willed mother, making you a male chauvinist pig? There are books and support group organizations that will help one overcome the effects of all these and many other instances of False Personality if one so desires.

 Next page | Acculturation & Peer Pressure

 
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Phil Wittmeyer is a longtime Michael student and scholar of the teachings.  He can be reached at: wittmeyer@hotmail.com

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