Has My Childhood Impacted My Adult Decisions?

I have often wondered how my own very dysfunctional childhood shaped my own adult behaviour, and how would I end up dealing with my own children when I became parent?

Growing up, as I have written on a number of occasions before, was tough to say the least. There was certainly no 2.4 family in my house. Not that there is anything wrong with that, because truth be known I would have killed for that as a child. Well not literally killed, but I’m sure you know what I mean!

My father was absent from a very early age and if he did turn up, he would be gone again in a blink of an eye, and by the time I was eight years old he had gone completly. In fact the next time I saw him was when I was 14 years old. If it was not such a sad moment for me then it would actually have been quite funny.

I had saved all my paper round money and raised money in general to buy myself a racing bike as I’d always wanted one, and it had taken a long time, so I was very proud of myself. I joined a cycling club and my father totally out of the blue offered to take me. I’m all for giving second chances, the mug that I am. So I said yes.

Looking back this was obviously a mistake. He turned up drunk, that I might add was nothing new. So I joined in on the cycling track and an hour later I finished thinking that my dad would be waiting to see me, and ask if I enjoyed it. What a fool I was. He was gone. It really shouldn’t have surprised me but it did, and hugely disappointed me. The feeling of hurt and upset would stay with me for a long while. Needless to say I was left to find my own way home. It would be many years before our paths crossed again. 

As I said from the age of eight there was no dominant male figure or father figure in my life, which I believe left me at a disadvantage when I became a father myself.

I hadn’t experienced the role model of a dad, that as you grow into adulthood we all tend to mimic and apply some of those dad things that you saw your dad do. Of course sometimes you don’t have a clue how to handle a situation and some advice from your dad is invaluable.

As a child I always felt isolated from everybody else and at times detached from society. I found it easier not to show that I cared or show any love. After all I had never felt it back in my own childhood, well certainly not from my parents, and the occasions when I did show love towards my parents, I was always left wanting. I knew that when I became a dad I wanted to be different to the way my parents were towards me, but unfortunately in those early years of life your mind and feelings are shaped so dramatically by your family circumstances changing that is difficult. It almost felt like I was cleansing my thought patterns to start fresh with my own children.

My grandmother was the biggest influence in my life and looking back she brought me up for about 70% of my childhood as my mother would be off with her lastest man. I would be dropped off at my grandmothers house and picked up whenever my mother came back. My grandmother taught me family values and the importance of being there for family no matter what. I will be eternally grateful to my grandmother. She without a doubt prepared me better for adulthood and ultimately fatherhood than my parents ever did.

When I became a father for the first time it was a difficult adjustment for me. I needed to re-learn to care and love for another human being. It was a very difficult transition. I believe I have got there, but I still make similar mistakes that I saw my parents make when I was a child. I wonder if these are imprinted on my mind forever because I learnt these examples of parenting when my mind was so easily impressed.

My own childhood left many positives and negatives about parenting. Thankfully I believe I have only taken the positives as a father, but every now and now again a negative rears its head and I feel disappointed in myself.

My own parents totally inadequate ability to be a parents  gave me one massive lesson. Be there for your children always and forever. I may be getting older,but my childhood not necessarily on daily basis lives on in me. Which have left me with some very unpleasant memories. Which of course my parents never gave it a second thought, when I was growing up. 

I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you think your childhood has impacted your adult decisions when it comes to being a parent?

One Messy Mama

15 thoughts on “Has My Childhood Impacted My Adult Decisions?

  1. Great post Nige! I think our childhood’s certainly shape how we are as adults. It’s impossible not to.

    I remember I always used to say I’d take the best parts of my parents and step parents and try and take out the parts I perhaps didn’t agree with although I see them creep out every now and again.

    Furthermore, when I was being punished in my childhood, by my stepfather who has since passed away, I seek comfort in realising he was teaching me valuable lessons and values I seem to benefit from now.

  2. Great post, my childhood has definitely had an impact on me as an adult. I set my expectations far too high and feel awful if I don’t meet them. I show the girls as much love & affection as I can as the lack of it growing up hurt me the most. I like to think my crap childhood has had some positives too but it definitely does have an impact in some way.

  3. My own childhood has had definite impact on my own parenting experience. I struggle a lot with how much discipline is too much? We started positive reinforcement to avoid discipline but sometimes its a case of are we spoiling them. With no positive examples from my own childhood to follow I have no idea which is the right balance. I feel incredible guilt if I think I’ve gone wrong with them. I have learnt some lessons though, I always try to ask them about their day and try hard not to let them feel ignored. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  4. This is really thought provoking. I’ve maybe an opposite end spectrum thing. As kids my sister and I were mollycoddled totally. I got to 17 with never having done anything around the house or cooking etc. My parents though had both passed away by the time I was 18 – total shock to the system and I had no clue how to do anything at all!! In turn I’ve encouraged my 4 to learn all the household chores , deal with money and cook…just in case!! I think it’s natural to try and take your childhood , learn lessons then improve it for our own!!

  5. I think your childhood does impact on adult decisions. And I never realized how much until my child was born. I took some time out to try to understand exactly what my childhood impact was and now focus every day to raise my child differently. #globalblogging

  6. Adult life is an extension of your childhood so I think it’s inevitable that your childhood impacts your adult life. I’m sad to read about your childhood experience but I’m glad to hear that you’ve taken the positives with you.

  7. Ah I’m so sorry to hear what a tough childhood you had. Our own upbringing definitely impacts how we parent ourselves – I think we try to emmulate the good bits and we try to improve on the negatives. And it’s a case of learning all the time too and trying to get better at it. It sounds like you’re doing a great job #triumphanttales

  8. Hey! Sorry that happened to you, but it sounds like you had a great grandmother! And you what? So did I! I had two great ones that I spent a lot of time with throughout my childhood.
    No, my parents weren’t divorced or on drugs or alcohol, but my mother was a little crazy. (Ok-A LOT CRAZY). As an only child, I experienced her wrath on the daily. Now that I’m a Mom I try to be the parent that I needed when I was a child. That’s pretty much my mantra.

  9. I came from a broken home. Like you, I have had to learn to love others. But I think the negativity of our young lives teaches us to be the bigger man and the better parent.

  10. Popping over from #TriumphantTales to say Hi.
    I grew up in a 2.4 family, with a father whose only goal for me was to marry well and a mother who really wasn’t a good role model. I don’t have a close relationship with them at all, or other family members. however my kids have been in a one parent family, a 2.4 family, a divorced life and new marriage, with us as their parents living 1000’s of miles away, yet we couldn’t be any closer in communication and all value the time we spend together. I’m sorry to hear your father wasn’t around for you, but it’s what one does now that matters. i read your post about needing to be there for your wife and the twins when they were born early and how your older children rallied around with support and understanding. On the surface you look like you’re spot on with your own parenting.

  11. I do really think your childhood impacts on your role as a parent. It’s not until I read other people’s stories that I realise how truly lucky I was as a child. I am the youngest of two children and my parents have been married for 48 years this year. They are as close now as they have ever been. They sacrificed everything when my Sister and I were growing up so that we could have a wonderful childhood, and I really did. We didn’t go on flash holidays abroad but most years we got away to the seaside and I have many happy memories of holidays spent in caravans – to the point I still love a good caravan holiday. Next month we are taking the Little Man away to the Isle Of Wight, one of my favourite holiday destinations from my childhood. I can’t wait to relive it through him. I just want to give him what my parents gave me. Love and security. I’ve learnt from some of the best there is. A lovely heartfelt post. Thank you for linking up to #TriumphantTales 🙂

  12. Yes my childhood definitely effected the way I live my life now. My dad wasn’t there for the majority of my life which changed my perspective on parenting and in general, men. I’ve been reading your blog for a little while now and it sounds like you have a lovely family now and are an amazing dad ; ) thanks for sharing with #GlobalBlogging!

  13. Oh Nigel, that was one tough childhood. I think it’s impossible not to be moulded one way or another by how our parents were and then I think a lot of it comes down to individual character. I was raised by the same parents as my siblings were yet I look at my sisters who somehow seem to have for the most part very much risen above/moved beyond our volatile upbringing. Me meanwhile…I’m my mother and father (after spending my 20’s and 30’s saying I’d never parent like them). The very fact you have a blog dedicated to being a father while your own father couldn’t spare an hour at a race track (forgive me) speaks volumes. #globalblogging

  14. Such an interesting piece as usual Nige. I 100% think my childhood has impacted on my adult decisions. Some positive and some negative. I think it must do for all. Thanks for sharing with #globalblogging

  15. My childhood has definitely impacted my adult decisions. I for one know that if me and hubby divorced there would be no bad mouthing in front of Ben. I will make every conscious effort to see him if I dont have full custody unlike my father.
    We have also discussed chores around the house and how I was made to do my siblings share as they were either too young or too old and out with friends with no pocket money in sight. This was on top of my GCSE’s. Yes I know how to run a household due to this but a 15 year old shouldnt know that kind of thing or be expected to without some reward.
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back tomorrow!

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