The psychological influence of parents on children

Assumption College Undergraduate

There’s nothing funny about biology What if you were to learn that your father was a tyrant, a mass murderer, a monster comparable to Stalin? What would it be like to hold a name synonymous with oppression, cruelty and terror?

Recently, Jay Nordlinger, American journalist, author and senior editor of National Review, came to Assumption and spoke about his new book “Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators”.

Nordlinger shared what he has learned from surveying the children of 20 of the most horrific dictators and what types of lives they made for themselves. Some were loyalists and succeeded their fathers, others were defectors, and almost all felt the effects of war, prison, exile or other types of turmoil.

Most of these dictators were evaluated and strongly believed by experts to have suffered from various personality disorders and psychopathic personality traits, which begs the question: Could these traits have been passed down to their children?

Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) suggest Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is strongly inherited, with both genetic and environmental factors very likely to be involved. Accompanying this research, the NIMH report finds that a person can inherit his or her temperament and specific personality traits, particularly impulsiveness and aggression.

In another study published by the United States National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, researchers found a significant genetic influence on distinct psychopathic personality traits.

Bachelors of psychology students who want to take a deeper look into topics like psychosomatic disorders, moral development, the formation of personalities, or how parenting styles and family dynamics impact adolescents, can also take Psychology courses at Assumption such as: PSY 351: Physiological Psychology, PSY 140: Psychology of Personality, or PSY 181: Psychology of Adolescence and Maturity.

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