Opinion | Parents can’t be your scapegoats forever

By Rachel Starcevich, Columnist

At one time or another, everyone is guilty of blaming their unethical actions on the way they were raised.

When we’re young, the parents of bullies are held accountable for their child’s malicious actions.

On the other side of that scenario, parents of the bullied are blamed for allowing their child to be mistreated. Until a certain point in time, this is fair. At such a young age, it really is a matter of whether children were effectively taught right from wrong.

This is just one example of how parents can be held responsible for the way their children act. As I stated, it’s reasonable until children are old enough to start making their own decisions, but people can often get away with using their parents as scapegoats for everything, forever.

When you reach a certain level of independence, your parents are not responsible for the way you act anymore. You can no longer blame them for the way you treat others or the way you allow others to treat you.

Though our parents often do have a very large impact on the people we become, they really don’t have to if you don’t allow them to. What many people fail to understand is that just like behavior is learned, it can also be unlearned.

There are so many influences in our lives outside of the household, and it is completely up to you to decide which values you want to take away.

On paper, it sounds fairly easy — if your parents aren’t good people, don’t listen to them. But I understand it’s never really that simple, especially when negative behaviors and opinions start getting drilled into you from the moment you’re born. In cases like this, it’s important to find your own good influences.

When you’re young, of course, you don’t know to do this because you think your parents are right about everything. But once you are old enough to understand right from wrong even without sufficient parental guidance, you have no excuse not to seek your own role models. We are not our parents, and as much as some of them may try to make us exactly like them, we never will be. Americans have a natural desire for individuality, so why do we let others dictate so many of our choices?

Things happen to you every day, and you meet new people all the time. These experiences are opportunities to start creating our own paths.

Eventually, it becomes your own decision whether you hold onto what your parents taught you, or learn new things and form your own opinions and values. You have the power to choose who you become, and as tempting as it may be, you can’t use your childhood to excuse your bad behavior forever.

Rachel is a freshman in DGS. 

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