Whose Reality

A child’s world is shaped by their parent’s reality.Jordan Djuric The birth of Prince George into the Royal family has created question on how a family who have rarely any privacy, could raise a child as normal as possible. The family could not even name George without approval from many others. But it brings up the question of, what is a “normal” upbringing anyway? If a normal upbringing is one which consists of two average paid parents, who live in a middle class suburban home, where they have two children who compete in several sports and go to an average school and grandparents who live close enough to see on a regular basis… I’d say my childhood was not “normal” either. Although parents are an overwhelming influence in dictating the moulding of our reality, as we progress through childhood our friends and role models also guide us. Before the age of five children don’t really have a choice in the actions that they do. They are their parent’s puppets, although this is usually to guide and nurture this can also have negative repercussions for the child.

Then as a child goes to school and starts to choose their own friends they then have peer pressure, which not only will they face when they are five but all the way through their life. Our first role model is the ones who we grow up with; our parents. The reason we learn to walk and to talk is because our first actions are to copy our role models and as we grow up this is our parents. But it’s not just these acts that we attain from our parent’s; we also gain our morals, our interests, who we support in sport and so on. A parent’s job is to love, nurture and teach their child until they learn independence, and what they teach is more than what is on the surface.

The way we act depends on our parents, our mannerisms and even our facial expressions. In Spies, Stephen often makes it clear that Keith demonstrates his father’s attributes. Not just in looks “He smiled his father’s smile” but also in morals. Stephen, like his parents displays loyalty, human kindness and sympathy. The attributes that Stephen shows are a reflection of the nurture that he received while growing up. We learn from our parents, but children would also attain any negative attributes from their parents as well. It cannot be denied that a child’s friends have a big impact on the forming of independence. Although from birth till the age of 5 a child’s decision is their parents, as soon as a child begins school they start to be influenced by external sources. All through school and later peer pressure is there.

Our friends can have an influence in the way that we think, the way we talk, our interests and hobbies. In Spies, Stephen is not the dominant figure in Keith and his relationship. “He was the leader and I was the led” so therefore Keith’s word was the law. Keith made the decisions in that relationship but Stephen had a clear idea in his mind of what he enjoyed and appreciated in life. Stephen acted to impress Keith; he uses the analogy when he finds the sock that it is he’s hunt that he will present to Keith for recognition. Keith shapes Stephen’s world for him, he persuades the way that Stephen perceives the word around him, for example saying that Mr Gort is a murderer. His friend dictates the way that Stephen sees the world. It is crucial for parents to set a good example for their children to mimic. If parents set bad examples then just as always their children will take them on board.

In Death of a Salesman Willy’s acts; trying to shape Biff and Happy actually has negative consequences. There is no doubt that Willy is a good father and loves Biff and Happy but he has a very select idea in his minds of how his sons are and doesn’t take in their opinions. Biff can’t keep a job and becomes a kleptomaniac because his father made this impression on him when he was young. Happy continually seeks the approval from his idol; Willy. Willy’s distorted view of reality tries to shape Biff and Happy into something they don’t want to be.

This has a detrimental effect on the outcome of Biff and Happy’s lives. Although Biff seems to have overcome his father’s pressures on his career choices, it is clear that Happy will never be able to become successful because of his father. If parents are too controlling this could lead to outlandish behaviour from the child. In “your shoes” by Michele Roberts it describes how a desperate and controlled adolescent had to escape the overwhelming force of her mum trying to guide her in the direction the mother wanted. In Spies, Keith copies his father more than just facial expressions. As he takes the “bayonet” to Stephen’s neck Stephen says “he’s seen this type of punishment before.”

Keith has absorbed this abusive, dominant side from his father. Parents have the majority of the say as a child grows but friends have a big part as well. There is no doubt that parents do shape the reality of their children. It isn’t always for the best but they will absorb both the bad and the good sides of any action they see. It’s not just parents that these influences come from though; it is also the peers that children grow up around.

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