How beliefs from our childhood negatively affect our parenting

It’s not seldom you hear that self-esteem, bad thought patterns and how you see yourself are grounded in childhood. Some can even point out times in childhood that are causing a specific behavior, feelings or reactions in adulthood.

When a child is born, she do have a personality, a temperament, and a skill set but she doesn’t have life experience. The experience she gets from the people surrounding her will give the conditions for her to live her life to the fullest.

When growing up the people around us mirror us in how they treat us and respond to us. A child who often is met with critique will think she’s not good enough. A child who’s met with anxiety and nervous parents will think it’s something wrong with her or that she’s not capable of taking care of herself. A child who’s often met with anger will think she is the one to blame and that she can’t do anything right. A child whose parents aren’t present will believe she’s boring, that nobody likes her or wants to be with her.

When we interact with others, we tend to care more about body language, facial expressions and the pitch of voice than words, especially if words and actions don’t match. Imagine your parents daily telling you that they love you, but they show no interest in you or what you do. They ask you have you’re day was, but when you answer them “good”, they show no deeper interest in knowing anything else. They don’t ask you anything more, and you get the nagging feeling in the back of your head that they don’t really care or take any deeper interest in you. They don’t really know what you like, and they don’t seem interested in knowing your friends, they don’t know what music you listen to. They don’t really know you, and they don’t seem too bothered about it, and at the same time, they say they love you. What would you feel and what would you believe were true?

As we grow up our experiences with others slowly shape us, our beliefs about ourselves, what we think others think about us, our self-esteem and self-worth. This will affect us for the rest of our lives until we see it, accept it and are willing to work on it.

The child that grew up being criticized will not pursue her dreams because her capacity has already been limited before she even tried. Not because it’s anything wrong with her capacity but because she believes it to be limited. Her limits were in other words set in her head long before she even knew her dream.

This limitation affects us as persons, and it affects our lives since we only see our limited capacity in our minds, we don’t pursue our dreams, the jobs, and careers we want, the person we want to be, the life we secretly dream of. It affects our lives and quality of life, all because we are unable to see our true capacity.

It also affects our relationships and parenting since we live our lives in our minds instead of the real world. By this we’re creating another generation of children whose parent aren’t being mentally present. When pondering about what’s wrong in our lives and what’s the missing piece of the puzzle we continue blaming and comparing ourselves with others, feeling guilt and shame although it’s not constructive nor that there’s any reason for it. We feel like lousy parents even though we do a great job and fail to see our worth and value as the person and parent we are.

Becoming a parent is a journey in self-development like no other, suddenly we have children that always remind us of our strengths and flaws, we just need to be open and willing to do the work to become the person and parent we want to be.

It’s easy to find explanations for our less polished sides, but the greatest thing you can do for yourself and your children is to see them, accept yourself as you are, decide on who you want to be and do and go for it. And if you’re unable to overcome your false beliefs about yourself, don’t hesitate to embrace help from others. Remember that nobody is perfect.