You Act Just Like Your Father: Genetics, Mannerisms, and Kids

 It is a horrible thing for a child to feel like they can't act or speak like the person who created them.

A long time ago, my oldest brother said something to me that changed the way I view relationships. He said, “People have the power to choose who the mother or father of their children will be. Yet, every day, people give away that power. They forget about the traits and mannerisms that automatically get passed down and how they have the power to control that.” Those words have been stuck in my head ever since.

The world of genetics has a funny way of passing down things to us that are way beyond our control. Every woman on my mother’s side of the family laughs exactly the same. Everyone on my father’s side has a deep love of great music. When my oldest brother smiles, I see my mother. And when my mother and I are in deep thought, we have an inclination to touch our chin and then softly drag our fingertips back and forth across our lips.  The day that I saw my grandmother doing the exact same thing, I realized that even mannerisms can be passed down through generations.

We all share parts of our mom and or dad. Sometimes it is the way that we look. Other times, we are connected through our laugh, the way we communicate, our sense of humor, our handwriting, our traits, or through our artistic or musical talents. But the reality is that we inherit tangible and intangible things from our parents and extended family members. I’ve even seen it happen with a father and son who only met twice.

When people lose their spouse or mate through a tragedy or unexpected circumstance, they are left with the memory or gift of children that look or act just like the person they lost. But when the child is created through a dysfunctional, broken, or short-term relationship, those same looks or actions can be quite the opposite of a gift. Instead, you see the person who did not want you, who cheated on you, who abused you, or who left you. It serves as a constant reminder of your choice.

The words, “You look just like your mother” or “You act just like your father” can be a blessing or a curse to your children. And it is a horrible thing for a child to feel like they can't act or speak like the person who created them.

Whether you are in a relationship or thinking about getting into one, take this time to understand the power you hold in determining what your children will be like. Regardless of how you raise them or talk to them, there will always be factors that determine their personality, their values, and their actions that you have zero control over. Everything from the way they stand, their sense of humor, their smile.... to things such as their temper, their attitude, and their gestures – can all be passed down from a parent to a child.