Parents are a child’s teacher first and for the most amount of time. Therefore, parents are the greatest influence on children.
Every choice a parent makes affects a child’s development. These choices range from what television show they watch, the decision to place a kid in private school and the type of neighborhood a child is raised in.
Parents create a trickle down affect on a child’s development. Every other influence, from community to media, follows from a parent.
Likewise, a parent’s absence stimulates a strong influence. Just look at Lafayette from There Are No Children Here. In the final chapters of the book, he enters into an altercation with his dad because of Paul’s absence and negative influence in his life.
Before children can speak or think maturely, parents are making decisions that affect their futures. As we read time and time again in the textbook, families are the main social agents for children, they provide stability and they create a democratic system for kids to model.
To further assert that parents are the number one influence on a child’s development, think about a child, teen or young adult you know. For each person, think about their main successes and their main challenges they’ve encountered. Can you link any of these back to their upbringing? Mostly, the answer is probably yes.
Since parents are the number one influence on kids, it’s important to give parents support and resources to make their jobs less challenging. This is where communities, media, schools, macrosystems and peers come into play. By providing resources, values and opportunities that enhance parenting, all of the systems link and create, diverse, successful children.