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Do psychologists think that we become like our parents?

‘The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’ is a common saying. Is it true?

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An American family is pictured in their living room around the piano in 1904.

An American family is pictured in their living room around the piano in 1904.

Wikimedia Commons

Gwendoline Riley released two books that were reviewed by The New York Times. Both of these books, “My Phantoms” and “First Love,” trace the idea that we become like our parents. The books explore whether or not we can escape becoming like our parents and reflect back on how it makes children feel to recognize how they are like their parents.

“First Love” deals with how one daughter “is tracing the contours of her parents’ histories partly to understand her own.” The daughter’s childhood habits resurface in the plot of the book along with her journey to understand why she is the way she is.

This daughter is influenced by her parents. Are we all destined or doomed to become like our parents?

Do psychologists say that we become like our parents?

According to Psychology Today, there are replicative scripts, corrective scripts and improvised scripts that families create. These scripts refer to behavior patterns or behavior changes. A replicative script is behavior from your parents that you repeat. An improvised script is a new script born out of necessity, while a corrective script is consciously choosing to do things differently than your parents did them.

The author of the article says, “The truth is that no matter how much you think you are ‘not like your parents’ or you will do things differently, scripts don’t go away. Most of your relationship behaviors are inherited.”

These scripts are ingrained in us and they are hard to overcome. Psychology Today also added, “Since scripts are unavoidable. Sometimes the best you can do is improvise on your replicative and corrective scripts so you can pass on a more adaptive and flexible script to the next generation.”

In other words, it’s inevitable that we will try to be like our parents.

Mel Magazine quoted Diane Barth, a New York-based psychotherapist and psychoanalyst, saying, “Almost all children sound and act like their parents at some time and in some way. Both biological and social interactions can lead you to pick up some of your parents’ characteristic ways of interacting with the world.”