Family Democracy

Fred Strodtbeck, “Family Interaction, Values, and Achievement,” in Talent and Society: New Perspectives in the Identification of Talent, Princeton, Van Notrand Company, 1958, 189

…power balance in the family is of importance in giving a child ideas which will bear on his later success or failure. And oddly enough, it is the power balance that is correlated with the ideas and not whether those same ideas are held by the parents or not. A clear case of the children believing what the parents do and not what they say! For example, a father may…believe that one can control his destiny, as perhaps he himself has done in achieving a high-status occupation. But is his son likely to accept this belief if his father pushes him around all the time? Apparently not…The son is more likely, at least in this stage of his life, to resign himself to the notion that there are forces beyond his control—in this instance, father.

This analysis immediately suggests the popular notion that there is alternation of generations in the production of great men in a family…


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