Can we blame all adult behaviour on a bad childhood?
Marlon Abrahams talks about the link between adult behaviour and a bad childhood.
Within hours of Liverpool’s Luis Suárez
sinking his teeth into an opponent’s arm during a football match the Internet
was buzzing with all kinds of hilarious comments and photo-shopped images of
the incident. Even our own Nando’s reacted with a funny ad suggesting that Suárez
should take a bite out of their chicken instead of Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic’s
One article, in the Telegraph, however, attempted to give some explanation into the
Liverpool striker’s behaviour. The suggestion was that Suárez’s anti-social
behaviour could have its roots in his upbringing. The refrain is not new. Suárez
grew up poor and his father was absent during his teen years. I think the link
between a dysfunctional childhood and a dysfunctional adulthood has been
largely proven over the millennia. Millions of us have grown up having to deal
with a less than ideal upbringing. Some of us triumph over our adversity while
others succumb to it in varying degrees.
There are also documented cases of kids
growing up in perfectly “normal” households, not wanting for anything
materially or otherwise, and still they display anti-social behaviour.
I personally think that part of our
responsibility to ourselves is to that we have to eventually recognise that we
have a choice as adults to do something about behavioural traits inherited
through childhood. The incident involving Suárez is not new to him, he was
involved in a similar incident a few years ago while playing in the Dutch
Eredivisie. We can only point to our upbringing for so long, and then we need
to move on and take responsibility for our behaviour.
When you realise that your behaviour as
an adult is being noticed by friends, family, kids and even the world, you have
a choice to do something about it.
Common sense dictates that a “healthy”
upbringing is probably better than having to grow up in poverty without good parenting;
however there are no guarantees asto the eventual outcome. Even if you are
somehow unable to recognise your own bad habits as an adult, an awareness of
the response to your behaviour by friends and family is always a good
indication that something could be amiss.
There are good reasons why our kids
don’t stay with us for eternity. They have to go out on their own and shape
their own lives as adults. We should always be available for guidance and
advice if needed. However, I feel that blaming bad behaviour on a bad childhood
can become a convenient excuse to hide behind if dysfunctional adult behaviour
is repeated continuously.
Having said that, we, as parents need to
be aware of our own flaws and be vigilant about not transferring negative
parental behaviour onto our kids. How many of us find ourselves subconsciously repeating the same examples of discipline,
motivation, respect, social interaction etc as we experienced from our own
parents? Think about it, perpetuate the good behaviour you inherited, and cut
out the bad. It’s the least we can do.
Read more by Marlon Abrahams
Do you think bad adult behaviour starts with a bad childhood?
The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and
therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.