PARENTAL INFLUENCES

How does a mother influence her husband’s negative message to their son?

This situation is poison for a family.  The father may be abusive or alcoholic.  On the other hand, he may be well-meaning, wanting to teach his son—but he teaches all the wrong things.  The consequences can be devastating to a boy and last his entire life.

The problem becomes more thorny when the husband has his own strongly-held world view and spends a considerable amount of time alone with the boy.

I’m exploring this issue in my novel.  Zachary views life as a constant battle and intends to teach Nate to survive it.  He wants to make him into a man, but his definition of manhood is limited.  Zachary hides his emotions and can’t express human love.  He bulls through life, oblivious to joy.  Big and powerful, Zachary has made it through by fighting many battles.  Nate, on the other hand, is small for his age and brilliant.

Rebecca sees her husband’s world view as hateful and wrong.  It’s clear to her that Nate doesn’t need that kind of teaching.  She detests the fact that Zachary is using his time with Nate to teach his world view.

What should she do?

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22 Comments

Filed under Characters, Conflict, Games, Influence, Relationships

22 responses to “PARENTAL INFLUENCES

  1. Melissa Hart

    Well, first of all, I think Zachary is trying to teach what he thinks is right, so there’s no reason to split up the family over it. I bet Rebecca has a lot more influence over Zachary than is mentioned in the article. Let her get stern and assert herself! Also, she can influence Nate directly.

  2. Janet Case

    When you’re writing this, make Rebecca stand up to her husband. Be firm. She won’t put up with any nonsense. Let her get physical if that’s what it takes.

  3. Ann Brice

    I was surprised to find your article. My husband seems to think that being a man means being tough. It can be difficult. I don’t want my 12 year old to grow up that way.

  4. Lauren R

    As a parent of three sons, I think my kids mimic their parents actions much more than they heed any advice we give them. Zachary may be coaching Nate on his view of life, but it’s Zachary and Rebecca’s actions that will most influence Nate. Unfortunately, if Nate views Zachary’s actions as necessary or even reaping him some benefit, he’ll mirror them.

    • Thank you for that thoughtful comment. I’ll let you in on something: Zachary is modeling his behavior to Nate from the start and the boy is in real danger of picking up a negative world view. On the other hand, Nate has a strong personality and is deeply influenced by his Christian mother. As early as page 12, he announces to his dad, “I’m working on you.”

    • Ann Brice

      I agree, that was an inciteful comment.

      I don’t think it’s a healthy situation for a young boy. You don’t wang to split up the family, but can’t Zachary be talked to? Our church has counselors for that kind of thing.

      Is there any other way to transport that boy home from school? I realize that won’t solve the problem of his father figure, but it would reduce the boy’s exposure.

  5. Melissa Hart

    One problem is that Nate is an only child. He may be more liable to model his father than a group of three boys.

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