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In the last couple of years, I’ve heard a particularly disturbing, ignorant phase more than a few times. That phrase is something to the effect of “Parents don’t affect how a kid turns out.”

This usually comes up in a nature vs. nurture discussion on a podcast or radio program.

And it seems many of experts served up by popular culture have come down pretty firmly on the side of nature.

There’s usually some back and forth clarifying the statement – indicating that the evidence shows that parenting style and doesn’t matter much with the exception of an abusive parent.

That kids grow up how they’re going to grow up and that we should all just relax because we’re putting too much pressure on ourselves.

I agree with some of that relax part – There’s way too much helicoptering going on and it does neither the parent nor the child any good to helicopter since it not only stresses the parent but creates fragility and excessive dependence on the parent.

But I disagree with the part about regular, non-abusive parents having little to no effect on how a kid turns out.

It just makes zero sense when talking the bigger picture of how individuals are shaped by the groups they’re in.

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My boys love to tattle. They tattle over small stuff. They tattle over big stuff. They tattle to one-up their brother. They tattle to get back at their brother. They tattle to show their parents how much better they are than their brother.

Tattling may seem annoying to us as parents, but I think it’s much worse than that. It can lead to much larger life problems down the line.

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The Waltons family

Raising kids in today’s fast-paced, modern-world can be incredibly challenging, tiring, and frustrating. However, one need not look to far into the past to find something that can be an big help: living near the extended family.

Having the larger family around not only lightens parents’ load, but also helps kids feel part of a larger social unit, exposes them to those who have accumulated lifelong wisdom, and can help reinforce a good value system.

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