Childhood conditioning

Whether you’re a child or a parent, you will have spent some of your time observing your own parents. It’s how we learn.

As I began to observe my parents growing up, it was obvious there was more that they didn’t tell me than they did. Although I was conditioned and was expected to conform, I was never prepared for adult life, but we only know that when it’s our turn to navigate adulthood. Looking back now I can clearly see that I was completely ill prepared for the task ahead.

Over the years I learned more by what my parents did and how they behaved than by what they said. The fundamental discussions parents should have with their children such as personal integrity; finance; work ethic and relationships were never discussed. I think as children we learn how to observe our parents.

We also learn to observe how our parents fight, how they make up; how they interact with each other; how they show compassion and how they deal with their children. Fundamentally though, our parents shape our world; shape our thoughts and shape us, regardless of whether we come out prepared for adult life.

Unfortunately, our parents’ bad habits become ours; their conditioning behaviour becomes ours until we learn to change. I do think though that when our parents make mistakes, they in fact make it easier for us to change the way we do things. Although there were lots my parents left out that I was affected by, it was the things I didn’t agree with that made me more determined that I needed to change.

As we go about our daily lives and with new experiences, we physically and emotionally grow. Our parents influence us, but I believe we have the capacity to think outside the box and change ourselves so that we get to live the life we want to live.

I believe that as an adult, our lives are our responsibility regardless of those earlier influences.


19 Mar, 2013

4 thoughts on “Childhood conditioning

  1. I agree with you. It is our responsibility of how we live our lives.

    My daughter moved away to learn to live her own life but is still dependent on my mother and on me to some extent, but it’s her choice.

    I was lucky and had good models from my parents’ life and how they lived. I try to be like them when it comes to my marriage especially, except for the expression of affection. They didn’t show their affection that much around us or in public, but I’m just the opposite of that.

    I show my affection for my husband openly, (not grossly though!) I learned to be caring of others and a loving person from my parents and to trust in GOD.

    1. Thanks Lisa. I think you’re lucky that your parents were good role models for you and that the way they chose to live their lives agrees with the way you choose to live your life now.

      Even if our parents have something to do with the way we live our lives as adults we have to be happy about it. If we’re not happy, then we have to change certain aspects to make ourselves happy.

  2. My mother was a very compassionate person, that is how her parents were.

    My father on the other hand had a mean father who I was scared of. I understand how my father came to be how he is because of who was in the household and how they treated people. Thankfully it will end with my father.

    I am nothing like him, neither is my brother. We take after our beloved mother. We both know how to treat people in order to have friends and people around us who care.

    1. I have experience of what you’re going through but I would never condone mean behaviour from anyone.

      It’s all learned behaviour that needs re-learning again. Your father has taught you a great lesson, how not to do things!

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