How Rebellious? – A Theory

Sometimes the mind just thinks of stuff it previously seemed incapable of. On a lazy April afternoon, my mind wandered and I came up with a theory. It is about how rebellious or free-thinking a child can be, and what are the factors that affect it. Sharing it:

Let us assume that there can be two ways a child can be rebellious:

a. Born rebellious

b. Affected by environment

Now, there can be an inherent tendency in certain kids to question things around them. It can be their quality that they just do not take things on their face value. But this must be very rare as most of us derive our values, emotions even, from social conditioning. So, let us focus on the environment bit.

The major part of a child’s formative years is spent with his parents. Parents have the most influence on his or her psyche. Let us imagine a spectrum. We may place parents from one end to the other. The two ends ranging from most controlling and overbearing to most liberal and free-thinking.

Now, a child born to overbearing parents may not be able to develop the appropriate decision-making skills. The environment at home would suppress the child’s basic urges and this is likely to result in a conflict with society – since we cannot see a family as a unit in isolation. It has to function within the society. Once the child grows and comes in contact with the external society, he would learn about free-thought as a concept. The concept, made significant because it had been denied to him, will sound alluring. The child would rebel against the parents if the inner strength permits. This is where the inborn traits come into play. If the child does not have sufficient emotional endurance which again can be a matter of (a) inborn quality or (b) upbringing, the child would give in to the overbearing parents and give up on free thought.

Let us move to the other end of the spectrum and see what would happen here. In case the parents are very liberal and let the child make his own decisions, the child would end up developing good decision skills basically because of multiple hit and trial methods. There are a few holes here though. We do need our hands held from time to time. And since there is no authoritative guidance at this end of the spectrum, the child may fail more frequently than he succeeds. If demotivated from the failures, the child may turn out to be scared of his own decisions and live his life in self doubt.

The middle of this spectrum is where interesting things happen. If the parents are only moderately overbearing, the child might learn that that there is no absolute right in this world and develop the skill of critical thinking. If there is a healthy amount of conflict among the parents, it would lead to the child learning about conflict resolution through logical reasoning. If the parents keep fighting all the time though, it would not have the desirable effects on the child of course.

What do you think?

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