Re-Parenting Yourself: How Childhood Impacts Your Adult Confidence
Our childhood impacts each of us a little differently, but usually affects all of us in adulthood more than we actually realize. Most of our habits, defensive behaviors, and insecurities have their roots in our childhoods — and they can be tricky to spot, because they’ve worked their ways more deeply into our subconscious than other habits. However, when these childhood habits negatively impact our adulthood, there is hope: we can re-parent ourselves into kinder and healthier ways of living.
But first, let’s take a look at why and how these childhood circumstances so deeply affect us.
How Confidence and Self-Esteem Develop
As children grow, they develop a sense of self. They then put this self into context in the world around them, based on how the world responds to their presence in it. This is where the roots of self-confidence lie. They mirror the behavior of their parents and the people in their lives and observe what responses these behaviors elicit. As they grow and begin to be able to accomplish more tasks on their own, their self-confidence grows, boosted by positive feedback and acknowledgement of their accomplishments by outside parties such as their parents.
In the process, children also observe how the adults around them react in order to learn how to respond to certain impulses. Have you ever noticed how very young children will look to their parents immediately after taking a hard fall, before they even display an emotional reaction? They are watching their caretakers for their cue how to feel about their stumble: if the parents freak out, the child is more likely to start wailing and crying. If the parents remain calm, the child will also stay more calm. Similarly, children absorb the self-deprecation, criticism, and indifference of adults and incorporate it into their own behaviors.
Over-time, these accumulate in a child’s self-esteem. Children with parents who talk positively to themselves and their children are more likely to have higher self esteem, as are those with parents who are specific in their praise, show interest in their child’s interests, and emphasize effort over perfect results. This, in turn, becomes a positive feedback loop of self-esteem and…