How Kids Become Happy, Responsible Adults… or Not (a Synopsis)

Parenting, Heredity, Environment… All Just Half the Battle

Editor’s note: This is a summary of a more comprehensive article that I posted today on my other site: Noble Savage World. (Read the longer article… )

What’s the biggest influence on our attitudes, personalities, and behavior patterns as we grow from childhood to adulthood?

If your answer is parenting, you’re not alone in your belief… but you’d be wrong.

I’ve found that many forces shape our growing lives… and our parents might play a surprisingly small role.

Best-guesstimate percentages developed while reading lots of brilliant articles, especially a synopsis of

Best-guesstimate percentages that came together for me while researching articles and books for this post.

My aim, by the end of the article, is to remove most of the mystery from that big, blue pie piece and replace it with forces that most experts overlook as they study the shaping of human personality and attitude.


Parenting experts talk of several distinct styles that parents employ, which help to shape their kids’ attitudes.

Four parenting styles are often cited for shaping kids’ attitudes and behavior in distinct ways. The bottom row contains terms I might use. Savage child-rearing would work best if we lived in a purely savage, dog-eat-dog world. Noble child-rearing would work best in a paradise world in which love, trust, good will, and moderation were a universal way of life. The “authoritative” approach seems best suited for this noble-savage Earth.

Four parenting styles are often cited for shaping kids’ attitudes and behavior in distinct ways. The bottom row contains terms I might use. Savage child-rearing would work best if we lived in a purely savage, dog-eat-dog world. Noble child-rearing would work best in a paradise world in which love, trust, good will, and moderation were a universal way of life. The “authoritative” approach seems best suited for this noble-savage Earth.

  • Authoritarian parenting shapes children to be obedient and proficient in school, but anxious, withdrawn and unhappy in social relationships. In the USA this kind of parenting is sometimes called “tough love” (though the emphasis is on tough, not on love). In China it’s often called “tiger parenting.” (Read more about the pitfalls of tough love… and tiger parenting… )
  • Authoritative parenting helps children to be happier and more self-confident and capable when facing challenges. They have well-developed social skills and control their emotions appropriately. (Read more about balanced, assertive parenting in relation to the other forms… )
  • Permissive parenting causes children to be generally unhappy and to have troubles controlling their emotions, even though they often have high self-esteem. (Read a more upbeat, thoughtful study on permissive parenting… )
  • Uninvolved parenting produces the worst results overall. (Read more about uninvolved parenting… )

Taking findings like these too much to heart, it’s easy for parents of problem kids to blame themselves. Fortunately, more comprehensive studies that consider the broader environment, genetics, and other factors have found that parenting doesn’t have all that much to do with how kids turn out.


Society can provide a toxic environment in which to grow up… not just chemically toxic, but spiritually and morally toxic. A few examples:

  • Overpopulation and its resulting famine and disease. Kids born into overpopulation hardly get a chance to survive childhood. Forget about growing up to find romance, prosperity, and success.
  • Poverty in urban communities of unattached, testosterone-driven men. Here, kids live in broken homes. Their dads, uncles, and other male role models include drug dealers and pimps who are strong and ruthless enough to squeeze wealth from a bleak environment… by turning their women into addicts and whores… and moms.
  • Prevalence of alcohol and drug use, foul language, promiscuous behavior, and violence… and popular media that glorify them. Kids growing up under these conditions (as in western society today) lose touch with respect, trust, good will, and other qualities that keep society stable. Their lives throughout adolescence and into adulthood can easily veer off-course into addiction, crime, neurosis, and general unhappiness.
  • A nomadic (for example, military) childhood. Relocating from city to city, kids have to adjust to new peer groups wherever they move, always starting at the bottom of the pecking order.

Environmental factors like these can influence kids more profoundly than their parents do.

(See a concise list of environmental influences that can affect kids…   and an article about media influences in particular… )


Geneticists have isolated individual characteristics that are not shaped in any significant way by parenting nor by family nor by any other known environmental conditions. They are largely (but not entirely) genetic… inheritable from the family line. They include:

  • general intelligence,
  • musical and artistic talents,
  • athletic agility,
  • attractiveness and charisma,
  • openness to experience,
  • conscientiousness,
  • extroversion-introversion,
  • antagonism-agreeableness,
  • neuroticism, and
  • susceptibility to nicotine, alcohol, and other addictive substances.

Heredity can play a big role in these human qualities… but there seems to be something even bigger at work behind the scenes… and whatever that mysterious influence is, it is not shared by siblings.

(Read more about genetic influences on kids growing up… )

Mystery… Spirit?

So, what’s that big 40 to 50 percent that the experts can’t get a handle on? Obviously (to me), it’s spirit… a subject that’s preposterously taboo among social scientists.

Spiritual influences on kids:

  • Souls reincarnate, bringing the personalities, dispositions, and artistic inclinations from their previous lives into their new lives. Brilliant souls who die often reincarnate as child prodigies. Murderers and other violent criminals who die often reincarnate quickly… whether determined to make amends in a new lifetime, or resigned to resume the violence once again as they grow into adulthood. (See exactly how reincarnation takes place for some people on the other side… )
  • Reincarnating souls also bring their karmic assets and liabilities from previous lives. If they neglected their soul purpose in the previous lifetime, they may try again in this lifetime. If they lived a life of poverty in one lifetime, wealth might come easily to them in the next. (More about karma from an ethereal view… )
  • Ethereal beings (angels) sometimes choose to incarnate as a learning experience for themselves and other ethereal beings close to them. These angel-incarnate children are sensitive and wise beyond their years… and they often choose to die at a young age rather than endure the noble-savage rigors of terrestrial life. (Read more about ethereal beings incarnating as brilliant children… )
  • People who spend a lifetime excessively attached to worldly thinking and worldly things will often remain stuck near the Earth after they die. Instead of detaching from the Earth and moving to finer realms of spirit, they remain in a dense spirit body and move in and out of our world as “ghosts.” They’re often troubled and confused, and they often latch on to carnal bodies, especially of children. Their confused thoughts and unnatural compulsions boil over into the minds of their host children… affecting the kids’ thoughts, words, and actions. (Read more about spirit attachments… )

The best way to minimize the presence and impact of troubled spirits in kids’ lives is to keep the children immersed in love, moral teachings, and other noble human behavior… at home, in school, and in society. It’s a simple rule, and it’s been the teaching of every great religion and spiritual tradition throughout human history. Any form of abuse or treatment that instills fear, guilt and shame in children begins to open doors to the darker realms of spirit.

The more we learn about spirit, the more we begin to see the profound influence which invisible beings inhabiting the various spiritual realms can have on our lives. (More about the spirit realms… )

Spirit is the missing link in modern understanding of the influences that affect kids as they grow into adulthood.

My afterlife research over the past 25 year has convinced me that spiritual influences can have a more profound effect on children’s personalities, talents, thoughts, words, and actions, than do the influences of their parents, teachers, environment, and genetics.

About Mark Macy

Main interests are other-worldly matters ( and worldly matters (
This entry was posted in environmental influences on kids, genetic factors in kids' personalities and behavior, karma, nature vs nurture, parenting styles, reincarnation, spiritual influences on kids. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How Kids Become Happy, Responsible Adults… or Not (a Synopsis)

  1. I’ve been looking back into my childhood recently to gain some understanding of why I became the person I did, and what influences it might be better to let go of, and I remembered how much I was wrapped up in, and affected by fairytales and myths, not the watered down ones but the older versions that I grew up on. As a very solitary and withdrawn child in an orphanage, I was left alone much of the time, so much of my life was lived inwardly, in a world of metaphor, symbols and mythic motifs, occasional visions and midnight visitations. More than any other influence, these moulded both my understanding of the world and my persona. Genetics and teachers certainly played a part, but my reality remained (and to a degree, still does) an imaginal reality in which everything is symbolic of something deeper. Henri Corbin wrote a book called All the World an Icon. That is it exactly. The influence of a child’s inner life and imagination should never be underestimated.

  2. Mark Macy says:

    I agree, Tosca. Children’s ‘invisible playmates’ should also be encouraged, or at least not discounted. When children talk about their invisible friends, I think it would be helpful to encourage the children to describe them, to convey what is said. And always to approach the children with curiosity and genuine interest, never with fear or belittling…………

What do you think? Comments?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s