Derb forgets that modern group socialization is relatively new:
That old Viennese witch doctor cast a long shadow. If I turn out wrong, it must be Mom and Dad’s fault! This cast of mind has influenced & distorted child development research for 60 years. Nowadays, however, there is a lot of counter-research, in which the influence of the home family environment, at any rate after age three, dwindles away almost (according to some researchers, anyway) to inconsequentiality. The big determinants of adult personality are (1) genes, and (2) group socialization. The home environment of the child comes in a distant third.
Probably the best thing we dads can do to give our kids a happy and useful adulthood is to make enough money that we can choose where to live, and then choose a district where our kids will be group-socialized to civilized bourgeois norms.
This strikes me as a shallow statement, given the way in which it assumes the sort of group socialization that only occurs when children are sent away to run around and learn about primate behavior in the temporary zoos known as “schools”. Given that parents control what sort of group socialization is permitted the child – and the admission that most parents choose the Lord of the Flies method doesn’t change the fact that they are choosing it – means that parental influence is absolutely vital even if Derb’s theory is true.
Now, I agree that parents do not establish personality. That is obvious to anyone who has ever observed an infant; it’s amazing to see how children demonstrate aspects of their personalities described by their mothers when they were still in the womb. But group socialization can only become dominant in those individuals permitted to spend the vast majority of their formative years in groups, an assertion so obvious it approaches a tautology.