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 arm.

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?

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