The relevance of a parent

I read something years ago. It left me thinking, wondering, doubting: „Judith Rich Harris … came up with a … thesis – that adolescents are more interested in imitating and learning from their peer groups rather than their parents. This thesis unravels all the conventional wisdom about parents and family and child-rearing; it means that, in some key sense, parent’s don’t much matter. …
Research shows that in many cases of a child’s personality development, the parents seem to be irrelevant. …“

I am a sceptic if it comes to studies because: if there is a study there will surely be its counter expertise. A study depends very much on what I want to find out, what I choose to be the limits of my research field, how I evaluate my results – to say nothing of who paid for it in the first place … I don´t believe in neutrality or objectivity if it comes to a study. I am easier convinced by what I experience. Perhaps this is naiv and stupid – be that as it may.

How much – if measurable at all – am I a product of my parents, my upbringing, my surroundings? Where do my convictions come from? Who or what shapes me the most?

I disagree that it´s only a little percentage the parents and much more the peer group. This might be the conclusion of a study but therefore not necessarily the truth: My parents´ influence is still present in my life – after 30 years of not living with them – and sometimes I am not so happy about it. On the other hand: for my kids I hope I give them more than only half of what they need to make it, to decide for themselves, to become stable and mature personalities, in a world which gets faster and less reliable by the minute.

Perhaps it´s only my pride. I don´t want to accept that ultimately I am no more than a sheep in a big flock running along without any real sense of direction – let alone without any relevant value for those people I love and care for so much.

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