Even as adults, many of us carried the characters we once exhibited as children.
Do you remember some things you did as a child: like trying to protect a thing (maybe a toy) because you feared it could get snatched from you; lying to avoid being scolded; withdrawing from someone who has hurt you; refusing to get out of bed even though you know you should?
The list is endless.
Although we are not happy we still exhibited some of these characters, it seems as though we can't help it. The resultant effect is we suffer setback as adults because of these shortcoming. But where did we pick the characters from?
One common experience I remember as a child was running to my mom every time I get spanked by my father. And I would not want to do anything with him for the rest of the day. The only time I went back was if he bought me lots of biscuits and sweets. Now, that was my father's way of winning me over --though it was rare.
Fast forward into adulthood.
I did the same with my former boyfriend. Every time we argued, I would avoid him for the rest of that day. And even if he had forgotten about the quarel and came round, I still would not talk to him. I wanted him to say he was sorry --it doesn't matter if I was wrong or right; I wanted him to buy me a gift, something --anything--to win me over; I wanted him to be affectionate.
I wanted. I wanted...
But he never did any of that. He saw it like I was immature; like there was no need for those. As far as he was concerned, it was normal for adults to argue and disagree. I found out later this was how they lived in his family.
Study shows that we are basically the products of our parents or guardian. Good or bad, right or wrong, whatever they are is what we will reflect. Of course there are exceptions: some of us become rebels because of societal influence. We are the ones who would not agree with a parent because of the comparism we have learned to make of the world.
Here are four types of parenting styles and how they affected us:
Authoritative Parenting: -
I had a neighbour who believes in getting the best from her kids. She would set the rules and expects them to carry it to the letter. She is what you could call firm but loving. She taught her children that the world is guided by rules. Hence, she punish them when they break these rules, but she remained their best friend. The result: her kids learned to believe in themselves, and they learned to be very serious with life.
The authoritative parent brings the best out of the child. The child learns from an early age that the reward he gets out of life will always equall the work he puts into it. The child learns that he can be punished for commiting an offence, and that does not mean he is not loved. Such a child is mentally stable and relates well with everyone.
For these types of parents, anything goes. The happiness and freedom of the child is what they are after. They even almost --if not at all-- worship their kids.
In parents-teachers meetings, we often see the dramas whereby the parents whose children had complained about a teacher to them, come hard on the school authority to call such a teacher to order.
They often threaten that anytime their child complained about been scolded by a teacher or even punished, they will withdraw the child from the school. As far as they are concerned, the teacher has no moral right to discipline their child, except of course face his teaching task.
You would know these children --some of them now adults --by their rude nature. They are always the ones that broke the laws and damn the consequence. As a partner, they are self-centred, seeking only their own gain.
Yes, we know these ones when we meet them. They are often the loners. They seem to be lost in life, always withdrawn. They don't trust anyone. So, they often resort to drugs and crime to keep their minds away from the realities of life. We tag them public enemies, but in fact they have been hurt.
In my former neighborhood, I see young boys between the ages of eight and sixteen, who ought to be in school but are often lurking around corners doing drugs and illicit sex.
A close look at them and it's obvious they lacked parental influence. No one cared where they've been to; what happened to them, or if they are happy or sad. No one ask questions about their developing and the choices they make. These ones are the victims of bad influences, and they themselves influences others negatively.
We might despise them; try to avoid them, but something had happened to them --something not entirely their faults.
This one seems more nearer home than a lot I know. Here, we find parents barking orders, been quick to use the rod.
I call them the perfectionist parents who themselves are not perfect. They want us to be exceptional. They tell us the old story of how they had made their own parents proud. But looking at them, they do not live by the examples they expects.
These type of parents breaths down heavily on us at the slightest chance. They see everything to complain about us, and nothing to commend. If they had a bad day at work, we will be made to bear the brunt; if they had a quarel, we would be the ones to blame. They just don't get to do things right, because we are always standing in their way.
With parents like these, the children ends up becoming rebels or cowards. Children of such parents have difficulties relating with others. They often have problem developing a sound self esteem. And some times, these children grow up to become permissive parents because they don't want their own children to suffer what they themselves suffered.
Studies revealed that children who were raised by Authoritative parents tends to have a balanced approach to relationship and that they are open to communication, as well as explore the world in more positive ways. Those who were raised under Neglectful parenting, on the other hand, are most likely to withdraw or become resentful. This is because they did not get the attention they needed as children. And it is only natural if as adults they have poor communication skills, and don't relate well with others.
Then too, there are the pampered ones: those who were raised under Permissive Parenting. In this case, they were over indulged by their parents; they always got away unpunished after breaking a rule. These kids turn out to become self centered, lack discipline and self control. And many of them believe they can always evade the consequences of breaking the laws.
Finally, we have those who were raised under Authoritarian Parenting. This kind of parental style is most common in poorer societies. Yes, this kind of parenting expects so much from the kids in terms of adherring to instructions, but they give little in return by way of relationship. Children raised up in this manner grow up to become fearful, have low self esteem, and do not relate well with others. Such parents are always barking out orders, and are quick to carryout punishment at the slightest offence. So the children grow up becoming more cautious and withdrawn; some of them even become rebels.
Obviously these characters continue with a good majority of us well into our adulthood, following us into our marriages, and in our careers. But in fact, we have the power to determine which way our lives should go. This cannot happen though if we do not understand where we are coming from.
The whole idea of happiness and success in life is that we take charge of our destinies, and the way we allow others affect them. Rather than resort to destructive behaviours because of the experiences we encouter in day to day running of our lives, we could look back in time to how we had been shaped by our upbringing and decide if we will continue living that way.
What sort of a parent are you? Or put in another way: what sort of parents raised you?