What comes to mind when you think of childhood? Playing outside, getting dirty and not caring, the innocence and laughter and imagination. Childhood years are knowns the fundamental years. These are the years when children are learning and developing daily. They are new creatures on this big green Earth and amazed at laying on the grass watching the clouds move, hopeful about seeing a unicorn and believing the many fairy tales and stories they are told.
Let's take a moment and go down memory lane. What was your earliest childhood memory? Who were the people who you were around you and what was happening? Basically, what messages were you receiving both indirect and direct from adults in your life? Children look to the adults in their lives as being guidance, the one to provide and secure safety, nurture and love them.
Now, let's take a moment and reflect on your developmental stages in life to the present time. Are there any continued patterns you can identify. Is there a connection you can see?
Children are resilient and are known to "bounce back" quicker than most adults during a difficult situation. However, that is not to say what happens during those early years does not leave an imprint in one's life.
Children like sponges taking it all in, the laughter, the fun, the words, the emotions, and feelings a child's environment leave an imprint on their lives. Think of it this way no matter how many times you try to rinse that sponge off there is still some residue deep into the core of the sponge. The analogy I am trying to make here is children are taking it all in even the stuff that we are not intending for them to soak up and there are residual effects from what they see, hear and experience.
This does not also mean that you should have to "walk on eggshells" in fear of damaging your child or causing them psychological harm. This post aim is to have you reflect on what are the cues and messages your child is receiving from their environment. What is your parenting style, how is your attachment to your child? Do you allow for self-exploration and positive feedback or is your child feeling criticized and not good enough.
If a child is encouraged they can be anything they desire to be in life, the world is big and full of endless opportunities, you can do this and you got this while instilling a sense of responsibility and ownership will grow up with a more positive outlook on life. This child will grow up and during times of distress or failure will have an optimistic look at their mistakes and continue.
On the other hand, let's take a child that is told they are not worth anything, they will never amount to anything and they will fail at life will struggle with faulty thinking. This is not to say that this child will not prove otherwise and soar in life because they very well may. However, the inner struggle of self-doubt, self-esteem, low self-worth and so much more maybe something they struggle with no matter how successful they may become.
The early memories are stored in your subconscious. For instance, take your computer for example. The computer may be running slow and not functioning as properly as it should be due to the hard drive which stores all the data, the websites, the downloads and anything you have ever done on the computer sealed inside. While you are unable to see the stuff that is on the hard drive or no longer uses it, it still impacts the performance of your computer. This is the same way your subconscious still impacts the performance of your thinking, behaving and believing, your core belief system.
Despite what you have been through or where you are at in your life healing is possible. Healing those childhood wounds, reframing your mind to cope with hurt, pain, and trauma that may have been projected on you or maybe your parents or family were doing the best they knew how with the internal resources they had. No, matter what the scenario is with therapy, healing, and acknowledgment you can re-write your story.
Insight and self-awareness are key to understanding what is happening in your life and sometimes that is getting to the root of a problem. When working with clients I conduct a brief psycho-social assessment that gathers information about childhood, sibling and other vital information that are foundational in helping clients dive deeper into themselves.
Eric Erickson Stages of Human Development is a good tool to refer to in understanding the various life stages https://www.learning-theories.com/eriksons-stages-of-development.html. There is also a quick spreadsheet available that is an easy read. It will help you get a glimpse of what is or what was happening during different developmental stages of your life. Another tool that I want to share is the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study also known as ACES https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/acestudy/index.html This valuable information helps you to understand how different experiences during childhood impacts your mental and physical health. We all have the innate ability and power to heal our wounds. Seeing a therapist is a form of self-care and self-advocacy.
Above all your story deserves to be heard!
- As always, all my very best,