Children are lucky if they can look back on their formative years and embrace memories of a good childhood with positive role models. How many of us can say we had good role models growing up?
I think a generation makes a big difference. Values change through the generations, through society, through influences: with influences comes change, change not always for the better.
Whether parents are good role models or not, what children learn stays firmly etched in their psyche. If children have two parents, both parents will contribute to the relationship, not necessarily together but will sometimes send out mixed messages as their children try to compete.
Teachers will influence children as will grandparents, anyone we hope will influence our children positively. But there will always be people who don’t make good role models. Families and institutions may not always make the best role models.
When it comes to parenting, we get one shot at making a difference in our children’s lives, although we will never know until our children are through the other end whether we’ve been successful or not.