Introduction to Parental Influence
Parental influence refers to the effects that parental (or caregiver) behaviors have on the development of offsprings’ future behavior, preferences, and personality traits.
There is little debate that parents have a profound effect on the development of their offspring. Indeed, human infants are among the most helpless newborn species and their survival to maturity is categorically dependent upon the presence and investment of parental caregivers. The first 5–7 years of a child’s life is a time of considerable neuroplasticity, thus, depending upon what the child is exposed to during this time, parents will have considerable influence on the child’s development across a variety of domains. These include the language a child speaks, the child’s food preferences, the child’s future religious beliefs, and, indeed, enduring aspects of the child’s personality (Maccoby 2000).
The Role of Parental Investment
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