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Personality Theory "because of/in spite of"
Every person comes into this world with a unique set of genetics. Yet, genetics do not determine all aspects of a person’s personality. The argument between environment verses genetics has had psychologists at odds since the beginning of psychology.
For decades behaviorists have proven in controlled experiments that a person could be conditioned to respond a certain way to stimulus. An example of this type of experiment is John B Watson’s little Albert experiment. Abbreviated; John B Watson introduced small white furry animals to an 11 month old male human named Albert. When introduced to these creatures Albert showed no fear or adverse reaction to the animals. Then Watson reintroduced the animals to Albert while creating loud noises that scared Albert. After repeating this process Albert would cry at the sight of small furry animals. Thus Watson had stimulated Albert's reaction to the animals, and possibly scaring little Albert for life. The implications of this experiment are obvious; people can be conditioned to feel, think, and react a certain way. How does this apply to parenting?
THEORY OF BECAUSE OF AND IN SPITE OF:
Although, I have discussed this theory with many people, I have never written it down anywhere publicly. The theory of “because of and in spite of” works like this; you are taught things during your childhood, these things are recorded in your mind, throughout your life you make decisions based on what you have been taught either because you were raised that way or inspite of how you were raised.
Parents play a roll in this theory by providing the groundwork for your thinking. Every person functions within a paradigm between conforming to what they are taught (because of) or rebelling against what they were taught (in spite of).
Because of ---------------------Middle Ground -------------------------In Spite of
I have never met anyone who functions in the middle ground, this leads me to believe that all people either function with the ideas they were raised with (because of) or against the ideas they were raised with (In spite of).
Here is an example:
There are two children raised in a church going religious family. One child follows the family values to an extreme (because of), the other child rebels and becomes an atheist (in spite of). There is another aspect of this theory, that is, all people are born either conformist or rebellious by nature. If you have a wonderful loving family and they have a rebellious child, that child may stray into drugs and alcohol in rebellion. By the same token if you have someone who was raised by drug addict drinkers and that person is rebellious and they may pursue a higher level of success in rebellion. When you consider all the people you know, all the people in your family, they will all fit into one category or another, either rebellious or conformist. Most conformists are going to function in the "because of" side, and most people who are rebellious will function in the in "spite of" side.
The statement worked something like this “In spite of the fact that both my parents are Christians, I have become an Atheist” or “Because I was a taught that drugs are ok, I do drugs”. I want people to understand that as my high school psychology teacher Steve Dunn Stated “every person is responsible for themselves”. The theory does not negate responsibility in actions. It only explains how some people end up with a child who is not living the same standards.
Children born with a rebellious spirit may have moments of conformity toward what they were raised with however, they will always ultimately end up rebelling against the way they were raised and going a different direction. The same may be true to cor conformist children who may go through a short lived rebellion but, quickly return to what they were taught.
I am rebellious to the way I was raised. My parents were 60’s hippie, atheist, democrats, who smoked weed, and sang. I am a hard line republican, who has never done drugs, and believes in God. In spite of what I was taught, I have rebelled. As you can tell rebellion is not always a bad thing. It can bring about positive results at times. My parents are not disappointed that I rebelled against some of their examples.
I see this theory working in the lives of my children as well… Lord help me.