“You’re like your mom/dad!”: How Kids Learn From Parents

There’s actually a psychological mechanism how kids discern and choose which parent to learn from.

Sometimes, our kids pick up some personalities, mannerisms, and habits from us. They pick up the way we talk, walk, do things, and sometimes — it’s not always good. If we’re prone to swearing in the house out of shock, they’re going to pick it up too. But we also notice that some of our kids may reflect more of one or another parent. We’re going to break down how kids identify with parents and learn from us.

Daddy’s Girl, Mama’s Boy: It’s all about Identification

We’ll have to tackle a bit of Freud to understand how kids identify with their parents. Freud explains that they hit a stage wherein they try to find a parent model themselves after. Usually, it’s boys try to identify with their dad and girls with their mom. But it doesn’t always come out that way. Instead of identifying with the same-sex parent, they sometimes identify with the opposite sex parent because there are some traits that are more desirable to them.

Kids can choose traits?

Everyone goes through the process of wishful identification. It’s when they want a trait of someone they admire so much. While most studies usually cover that through media and video games, it happens also now within our families. Especially since we’re all stuck at home, kids tend to model themselves after their parents through Social Learning. With little to no physical contact with peers, kids will learn from us, parents, and eventually nitpick which traits they want.

We can blame some of it on genetics

Personalities can be passed down genetically usually when we’re more inclined to do something than another. We’ve heard the usual one-liners like, “ugh, you’re so (insert trait here) like your dad/mom!” and it’s no surprise. Sometimes, our preference to do a certain action depends on genetics but it also depends on how often it happens. Although some parts of our kids’ disposition can be explained through genetics, it also depends on what events activated it in the first place.

How knowing this can help our kids learn from us

Parenting can take a toll especially if you meet resistance from your kids when trying to teach them. But it’s not always because you’re not explaining it right. Sometimes, it depends on who is explaining to them. Parenthood is supposed to be teamwork with us and our partner. And although it hurts to think that our kids don’t want to learn from us, we just need to communicate with our partners on how we can get our message through to our kids.

More lessons about parenthood? Here’s more

5 Things Parents of Younger Kids Will Relate To
Troy Montero and Aubrey Miles On Parenting Across the Lifespan
The 4 Parenting Styles Explained and Made Easy

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