Well-Known Member
I've heard this for years, from many sources, and phrased in different ways ... that basically, no matter what you do, your child will tend to take more after the same-sex parent! Or ... will be more influenced by the same-sex parent. Dr. Phil is very big on telling people this, but I've heard it long before Dr. Phil was around.

When my kids were young, I didn't believe this at all! I thanked God every day that my son was nothing like his father! In his case, that's a very scary thought! And I had so many "father-induced" problems with my daughter, I didn't think she would ever be anything like me! Out of spite, if nothing else! That's a very long story.

But now I'm not so sure. When he was younger, I constantly watched my son for any sign of his father "cropping up" in him, and didn't see it. I would get extremely upset if anyone even suggested that he was anything like his father, or even that he looked like him (he DOESN'T!). He's 26 now. What I do see is his irresponsibility with money and the immature "instant gratification" thing. Is that taking after his father, or just the stage of life that he's in? He had a VERY short, VERY disasterous marriage to a girl who should have gotten the "Best Actress" award that year. Some of you older members may remember how it ended up. But when he was planning this marrige, HE was the responsible one, HE was the one thinking ahead. And now he's back in his "Wild Oats" stage. And he (and his friends) do put away their share of beer, which scared me to death! His father is a raging alcoholic. Both grandfathers were alcoholics. But he seems to be pretty responsible about it and no way would I consider my son an alcoholic. I'm not happy that he drinks but he's an adult and there's not much I can do about it. But happily, those characteristics that make his father one of those "poisonous people" ... the rages, the abusiveness, the "mean streak", the lying, the 24/7 drinking and Rx drug abuse ... I see NONE of those in my son. They're just not there!

And my daughter, the one I was almost ready to give up on when she was a teenager ... the one who drank and dabbled in drugs, the one who was hateful and snotty and smart-mouthed to me (never her dad), the one who snuck in and out of the house and dated boys from the bottom of the food chain ... ? After several false starts when she was younger, she's 31 now and has been very happily married for three years to a wonderful man with unlimited prospects! These two are the absolute definition of "responsibility"! They both have good jobs and work very hard. She holds a responsible nursing position. They own a lovely home that they've worked very hard on fixing up and remodeling. They live 600 miles away and I dont get to see them often, but when I do, I am amazed to hear her talking because she sounds just like ME! So is this, like they say, her taking after her same-sex parent? Had she married one of the "bottom feeders" instead of waiting for "Mr. Wonderful", her life would have turned out much differently. Is it the influence of her loving, stable, reliable husband and becoming a part of his large, close family? Some of both?

Or is the old saying right? I still haven't decided, but it bothers me. What do you think?



Well-Known Member
My son as an adult male laughs like his bioDad laughs. I know it
sounds petty...but it drives me crazy. I almost have to turn away in fear that he will see a negative expression on my face.
As he ages (he's in his 40's) he bears a slight resemblence to his Father which was not there when he was younger. It is very

easy child/difficult child does resemble his in absentia bioDad a bit as he also matures. Sadly, he makes comments like "I guess I got the alcoholism gene from my Dad" or "I'm not motivated to amount to anything either..just like my Dad".

There is no doubt that there is a need to feel that a male bond
is there, even when the Dad is a sorry loser. I bent over backward not to badmouth any Dad but I sure hoped there would be
NO resemblence! DDD

Stella Johnson

Active Member
Well, I can see where it has happened with several ppl that I have known. My difficult child does have alot of the same personality traits as I do. I hope she doesn't make the mistakes that I did but...



New Member
I have two sons. The older one looks like his dad, the younger one favors my side of the family. The older one has a lot of his dad in him, but also there's a lot of me there, too. The younger one is my father reincarnate, and while he tries to get along with his father, he more comfortable with me and his stepdad.
I always identified with my dad, never my mom. My interests are my dad's (music especially).
So - I guess what I'm saying is, it doesn't seem to hold true in this family, but I don't have girls to compare it on.


New Member
I would be happy if my son took after husband, but he seems to be just like MY dad-someone he hasn't been around enough to have been influenced by. They never got to know each other on more than a superficial level (we lived 400 miles away from the time difficult child was six months old until he was seven). My dad is kind of distant by nature (as was his father), so difficult child never really got to develop a grandfather/grandson kind of relationship with my dad. So it's odd (to me) that that's who difficult child takes after. He doesn't look a lot like my dad (but his looks definitely come from my side of the family), but his attitudes are my dad's (including the distant personality, and the holes knocked in the walls-something I can remember my dad doing until he was in his mid-twenties). I suspect now that my dad might also have bipolar, so maybe those are the traits I'm seeing (my dad dealt with what was diagnosis as depression while I was growing up, but I'm not so sure now).

However, if you ask husband, he will tell you that difficult child acts just like me, which he says is why we (difficult child and I) clash so often, lol.


Active Member
There are many ways in which someone can resemble someone else. It could be as simple as skin or eye colour, or as complex as personality. I inherited a tendency to allergies from my mother; I inherited her dark hair and dark skin but I got my pale eyes from my father. I'm more pragmatic than my mother. I get music from both sides, artistic talent from both sides.

But I have a lot of brothers and sisters. One brother is a lot like my father in personality, the other is very different indeed. Of my sisters, they're a mixture. I'd say over half are more like our mother than our father, but one sister shares with me a personality more like our father than our mother.

In our kids - it's hard to say. They're still works in progress. I can see evidence of similarity to grandparents. At the family party tonight we saw that the daughter of husband's cousin bears a really uncanny resemblance to easy child (technically, they're second cousins; genetically, first cousins). The laugh was the same, the voice was the same and the quirky humour and personality too. So when people tell me that easy child is so much like me - no, she's not. She takes after her father's side of the family somewhere.
difficult child 1 is like my father.
easy child 2/difficult child 2 is most like my sister's daughter. Admittedly this is the sister I'm most like, but she has some things that I don't have, but easy child 2/difficult child 2 has them too. Temperamentally though, easy child 2/difficult child 2 is like husband's mother.
difficult child 3 is very much like husband's father.

So on reflection, although I quite like Dr Phil, either I've misunderstood the quote or I think Dr Phil is blowing smoke out of somewhere very private.



Well-Known Member
I'm not sure that I agree with it either, but I've heard this from lots of other places, long before Dr. Phil. I think they mean personality traits more than looks. My son would never purposely try to imitate anything about his father ... their relationship is outwardly civil but my son KNOWS what his father is and what he's done to him - he just would prefer not to confront him.

As far as looks, that's a toss-up. I always had very dark hair - both kids were blond, but tend to have my facial features. If I ever wondered what I'd look like as a green-eyed blond, I just have to look at my daughter! My two brothers and I all had dark hair. We have a total of eight children between the three of us and and all but one was or is blond! And you can put them all together and you still can't pick out the siblings from the cousins ... they all look alike, even as adults!

One thing that still seems odd to me ... my dad had these very distinctive pale gray/blue eyes. No one else in the family ever had them, even cousins. Then, five years after my dad died, my son was born, and there were those same familiar gray/blue eyes!

This stuff is so strange ... my younger brother has a daughter in her early 20's who is an exact ringer for one of our second-cousins when she was the same age! They could be twins! She's in her 60's now but this girls' mom and our mom were first cousins - not a close relation at all really. But if you look at pictures of the two of them at the same age, the resemblance is almost spooky!

And I recently saw a picture of a man who put together a very detailed family tree from my paternal grandmothers' side and put it out in a little book form. My cousins and I share Great Great Grandparents with this guy ... and he looks exactly like some of us! You could put him in with my uncles and not be able to tell which one was a v-e-r-y distant relative and which ones were brothers!


Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
I dunno if I agree or not. But your post got me to thinking. I look at my own family as well as my kids. And yes, I see what they're talking about. I do see this tendency.

My brothers turned out to be very similar to my biodad. (not a good thing for them) This is odd as the younger one wasn't raised around him.

Sis who is 5 yrs older than me is a carbon copy of our mother. (minus the mental illness)

I take after the grandmother who raised me. I'm told all of the time I remind people of her. My handwriting is even close to hers. (I take this as a compliment)

The sis I have left....hmmmmmm. Not after Mom. She is a wild card.

My kids.... T is his Dad to a more severe degree in many areas, better in others. easy child I'm not so sure she takes after me. We do share interests. N is me all over again.

I don't think it always has to be the parent the child takes after. I couldn't get more opposite than my mother. Yet on the same score, I'm very much like my grandmother. husband is like his dad in some things, but in others.....well, let's just say I WISH he was like his dad in those areas. lol

I think this is the old Nature vs Nurture argument. As in any theory you will have those that don't fit the rule.


Well-Known Member

We have often talked about this in our family because of having the three boys. Billy is mine from my first marriage and Jamie and Cory are my current husbands. Billy was only 10 months old when his father left and he never saw him again until he was 9 years old and that was only for 1 week...the next time he saw him was maybe 2 years later for another week and then not again until he was 23 I think. I can count the phone calls on one hand that they had growing up. When Billy was in high school his dad would contact him sporadically on the computer but it wasnt enough to influence him at all.

If anyone should have been an influence it would have been my husband and the two younger boys. Billy is a carbon copy in so many ways of his father. Not only does he look like him, he has the same likes, some of the same mannerisms, some of the same attitudes, some of the same problems. Its eerie.

Jamie and Cory look very much alike and everyone thinks Jamie looks so much like his dad until they see Cory who is an exact replica! However, Jamie acts more like his dad. We say Cory got the worst parts of both of us in the way he acts. Cory can act more like me at times because he is my shopper. Both Jamie and his dad think shopping is like getting a tooth pulled. Jamie is more responsible...Cory isnt but he is getting there. Both Jamie and his dad took to responsibility at an early age with no problem. Cory and I took a bit longer.


My son has many personality traits and mannerisms and even his voice is like my brother's--but he has never met my brother, he lives in South America. Weird!


Well-Known Member
I think that Dr. Phil was referring to tendencies and not absolute facts.
I think absolutes like "always" and "never" get people into trouble.
I think human beings have limitless potential and can change their lives if they really want to.
I think it's good to pay attention to a child's development if s/he is unduly influenced by an ill-behaved parent, and that we as parents must steer the child toward a better role model, and encourage the child to observe other parents. and develop autonomy and independence.



sadly my two sons are taking after husband (soon to be X-husband), husband is a drug and alcohol addict, and my difficult child I to my knowledge has not gone down that path yet, but I am fearful. And difficult child II will be even harder as he has husband temperment big time!


New Member
My easy child hasn't seen his bio dad for about 5 years(easy child's choice).His dad is a hard drug user,and I think that easy child witnessed something that scared him out of going to visit. I see alot of characteristics in easy child that are alot like his bio dad, but none of the bad ones so far. He's totally against drugs because he sees what they do to you. But as for, sometimes it's just like looking at his father at the same age (we met as teens). The laugh, his looks (for the most part) and the way he looks when he's mad is like a de ja vu. But as for inheriting the bad things, I haven't seen it yet.


Well-Known Member
He's totally against drugs because he sees what they do to you. But as for, sometimes it's just like looking at his father at the same age (we met as teens). The laugh, his looks (for the most part) and the way he looks when he's mad is like a de ja vu.

Catwoman, this is a great example of nature vs nurture. He's got the laugh and the looks but not the drug use. The best of all worlds! Way To Go.


Active Member
ant is his dad. his dad is HIS dad. all difficult children

however my other son is me. he looks like me, acts like me. thinks like me a lot.


Active Member
My son is too much like husband. Hopefully not too much so, as their childhood are drastically different. husband was horribly abused, physically and emotionally. difficult child has not been. No one ever got husband help for his issues, or would even acknowledge them (he only does this occasionally even now). I hope my sons life will be different than his fathers, his uncles, and almost all the other men in the family. This does not sound too hopefull does it?