|I agree with you (again). I think this is exactly analogous to becoming an attachment-style parent even though you weren't raised that way. You simply LEARN, because you are motivated to be different. "But my parents didn't teach me how" is I feel as irrelevant to financial management as it is to gentle discipline. I just shake my head when someone says, for instance, that they hit their kids "because that's all I [the hitter] know" and yet they, the hitting parent, says she wants to be different. Then be different! If you find it difficult to be different, then go read a book or join a website and learn! (And I am saying this as a child of abuse, who has never even yelled at her child, and frankly finds it pretty darned easy to avoid becoming an abuser.) We are far, far more capable and informed than that; our learning didn't stop at our birth-home walls.
This is a great viewpoint if: 1) you are motivated to do so; 2) if you can break out of the cycle; and 3) there are available resources or outside mentoring that point people in the right direction. While I agree that many people have been able to rise above the most dire of circumstances and become responsible, moral and compassionate adults, I also believe that behaviors are passed down from generation to generation for a lot of families. If this were not the case, we wouldn't be dealing with persistent poverty and ill-guidance on so many levels in our society and in our world. Most of my lessons in life were learned either from experience or mentoring from someone who took the time to advise me that there was a better way to do things. This doesn't mean, though, that my own experiences are a reflection of society as a whole. In most cases, I feel out of the norm and wonder why I was so fortunate in my station in life.
I don't underestimate the fact that many people have epiphanies about direction in life or that they see something inherently wrong with the way they were raised. But, in my business I'm constantly bombarded with the overwhelming number of people who never break out of that cycle. The lack of literacy and basic critical thinking in this country (US) is profound, and the emphasis on greed and the acquisition of material things at all costs is disturbing. I don't think our country would be in the financial straights that it is now if many individuals and the people who run corporations had any basic sense of responsibility or an inherent desire to do the right thing. Something is wrong under the surface and whether it is a parental problem, an educational problem or a lack-of-consequences problem, it has to be addressed soon.
I do think that parents play a huge role in how you learn to address certain issues in life. I don't think anyone here is blaming their parents for how they turned out in life, but I can't blame those same individuals for not having the proper tools at the get-go. If they do acquire the experience and don't learn from their mistakes, then of course I would feel differently. I think that learning from mistakes is a powerful tool, but I think ultimately it is a parent's responsibility to place their children into society well-equipped to make the right decisions and to think critically.