2. How A Parent Connects With A Child Can Have Lasting Effects On A Child’s Relationships In Adulthood.
As a relationship therapist time and time again I observed the following:
Our first relationship is with our mothers then our fathers. The bond or connection that is created between a parent and a child even at the very early stages of a child’s life is extremely important. It’s important because a child’s relationship understanding originates from how they are nurtured. The type of connection that is established is important because a child develops relationships according to what they have observed and experienced at home. A child is taught how to connect with others from their parents.
Parents are a child’s role models and children are like sponges – they absorb everything both consciously and unconsciously. What occurs in a child’s life and what they experience through the relationship with their parents gets internalized and absorbed. It becomes the foundation from which they spring from.
A parent’s bonds with a child can influence a child’s self-belief and sense of self-worth. Being emotionally present helps a child build trust. It gives them stability and it gives them support. The messages a child receives about themselves from parents can affect a child’s self image and confidence. And this can have an impact on a child’s emotional development and relationships later on in life.
Unfortunately, the bond between parents and a child isn’t always perfect. Other commitments and priorities even other siblings, often have to take precedence over a child’s needs. Children often have to learn that their parents cannot be there for them emotionally every minute of the day. Therefore there will be times when a child may feel abandoned or rejected. How they manage these feelings will determine their emotional make-up and it will determine how they manage their relationships in adulthood.
In extreme situations and put rather simply: on one hand some people may become very needy hoping their relationships will give them the affection they didn’t get as children; on the other hand others may have trust and intimacy issues. Most adults lie somewhere in between these two extremes.
Our behavior and emotional patterns are mostly learnt in childhood. These emotional foundations can become behavioral habits. We learn to behave and deal with issues from what has been experienced in childhood.
Certain situations in adulthood, if similar to those experienced in childhood, can trigger knee-jerk reactions. They can trigger all sorts of negative feelings. Feelings we often don’t realize date all the way back to childhood.
Often these feelings have become so internalized that without realizing it they’ve become habits. They’ve become ways of behaving that we don’t even understand. Often we don’t even remember where they came from. We just feel or react without really realizing why or where on earth these feelings came from. And unfortunately these behavioral habits aren’t always helpful in adult relationships.
What is helpful is to understand where these knee-jerk reactions and feelings come from. This is certainly not about blaming your parents as they did the best they could. It is about understanding why you react, when and in what circumstances. And what patterns have you absorbed or internalized that may not be helping you now, in your adult relationships.
Learning what you have absorbed as a child is crucial to the understanding of your emotional blueprint.
Realizing that most of our emotions and reactions to situations come from our childhood experiences is the beginning of our understanding not only of ourselves but also how and why we relate as we do in the relationships we choose later on in life. Even Confucius said “Study the past if you want to define your future”.
So as a reminder: In each blog I will offer snippets of the insights in a step-by-step process which I developed as a relationship therapist. Snippets, which over many years and through a process of analysis and repetition, I have distilled, refined and extracted an essence and a systematic approach to how and why we relate as we do. How we develop emotionally, and how and why we choose our personal and business partners.
Note: © 2014 Information Copyright Deidré Wallace
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