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October 4, 1998

Between Parents and Children

by Haryo Prasetyo

[English summary by the author]

Briefly, I wrote about Judy Harris's article, her expectations before it appeared in Psychological Review and her disappointment after that, that it received so little attention. Then she wrote The Nurture Assumption, and so on. She gave answers to my questions via e-mail.

I then asked for comments about Judy's article from Indonesian developmental psychologists: Seto Mulyadi, a very famous child psychologist in Indonesia, and Siti Rahayu Haditono, senior lecturer in developmental psychology in Gadjah Mada University. I asked whether it's culture free or not and whether it could be applied in Indonesia's environment.

Seto Mulyadi in the long run agrees with Judy's article and so does Siti Rahayu. But Seto did not agree that parents have no influence at all on children's personality. He referred to Freud's theory of development, that in the first five years the role of the parents is very important and that this phase is very critical for the child's personality.

Siti Rahayu perceived that the research findings have to be critically viewed from Indonesia's perspective. She noted that Indonesian parents are very different from American parents in how they raise their children. But like Seto, Siti Rahayu is open to the possibility that in the long run parents have no important impact on children's personality.

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