A conditioned life

I remember watching a documentary written and presented by Lord Professor Robert Winston who was looking at the differences between human and animal characteristics.

It was absolutely fascinating. I believe from an early age, we’re conditioned to behave and do things a certain way. Up until I moved away from home at the age of 25, my decisions were my parents’ decisions. After 25, although I no longer lived at home, I was still expected to conform. That wasn’t negotiable.

A parent’s role should solely be a supporting one so that they help, encourage and guide their children through their own journey. For many of us, life never works out like that. We conform because we have no choice and because we’re expected to. Drawing comparisons with animals. Animals are abandoned by their mothers at an early age and left to fend for themselves.

Although this may seem cruel to some, it allows them to make their own decisions and mistakes as they approach adult life. It seems appropriate, therefore that children should be encouraged to make their own decisions with the help of their parents. Making mistakes is the only way children really learn. We do the most learning when things go wrong.

As a parent, I support and encourage my children and as long as they’re not harming anyone, they need to experience and make their own mistakes. I also encourage them to make their own decisions, stand by their decisions and accept full responsibility for the decisions they make.

When we fail to make decisions for ourselves, we will always look for approval. Children need their own approval first, then a parent’s approval just to confirm they agree.

Animals in some respects are luckier. They live their own lives and don’t take 18 years to learn how to function independently.


7 Sep, 2012

6 thoughts on “A conditioned life

  1. I agree. I wasn’t allowed to make my own decisions until I moved out and got married and then my father was there to catch me if I fell!

    My mother wouldn’t let my daughter live her own life and make her own decisions until about 2 months ago when my daughter left the community and moved in with her boyfriend about 3 hours away.

    Now my 24 year old daughter is having to make her own decisions and finding it difficult. of course her nanny (my mother) is there to help and look after her even if it’s from afar.

    Our children need to be encouraged to make their own decisions and make their own mistakes from an early age,
    while we stand by only up to a certain age like may be 16, depending on the child’s maturity level and medical history.

    Our new son has many problems, but I let him make his own decisions about things and he has the consequences to face for his decisions even though he is only 5.

    Of course I do help him along the way for now but I’m hoping he will mature enough to understand things about life and make his own decisions without my help.

    1. You’re right Lisa. I think we’re never too old or too young to learn. Children still need to learn responsibility particularly for their behavior, even if they are 5.

      I think as parents or grandparents we need to let go of the control factor so that we allow our children/grandchildren to make decisions for themselves. It’s not surprising your daughter is now finding leaving home difficult. I am sure she’ll begin to work things out sooner or later.

      We have to encourage independence as children need to be encouraged to want to be independent.It has to work both ways.

  2. Lisa, it sounds very much like you have learned from how you were parented and are changing things for the better with how you parent your daughter and your son.

    That in itself is a hugely positive thing.

    1. I am sure Lisa will agree and may perhaps respond to you. Changing anything that helps us parent better or live better lives has to be altogether positive.

    2. Thank you. Ive learned to let go, especially of my daughter and to let her live her own life and my mom is finally letting go of her, which is a big deal because my mom has cancer and I think she is waiting for my daughter to be taken care of to get her life together.

      My mom doesn’t call her anymore, she waits for her to call and when she doesn’t hear from her for days, she asks me about her. I think that’s just Sarah learning to live her own life and I’m proud of her for that.

      Thanks again for the encouragement.

      1. I completely agree with you. Spiritually I believe your mom is wanting to know that your daughter will be okay in her life. We tend to hold on for as long as we can, just to make sure things will be okay. I believe that.

        I also agree with you Lisa that Sarah is being Sarah. Her behavior is the taste of a new freedom and independence. She’ll work out things eventually.

        You should be proud of her.

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