Research now shows that our adult behavior stems from what we experienced as kids.
If you’re extremely sneaky or suffer from obesity, it’s probably an issue you can trace back to your younger days.
To help you make connections between now and then. Here are 14 childhood experiences that probably shaped who you are today.
If your parents didn’t let you make decisions, you might be codependent as an adult.
If you had a helicopter parent who didn’t allow you to dress yourself or choose your own playmates and food, you may end up as a codependent adult, says mental health counselor Laura JJ Dessauer.
As you get older, this means that you’ll seek out relationships in which your partner has all the power and control.
If you were close with your dad, you can handle intimacy now.
If you had an emotional connection with your father as a child, you’ll be able to enter a healthy, physically intimate relationship with a partner later in life.
“The research found a definitive connection between the quality of the father-child relationship and interpersonal relationships later in life,” said lead researcher Dr. Nurit Nahmani.
If your parents were super controlling, you might be a stubborn adult.
Stubbornness is a defense mechanism that children adopt to escape the will of their controlling parents. The children will also likely grow up to inherit this trait.
If you were allowed to watch TV as a baby, you may have suppressed communication skills.
After observing mothers and children in a study, researchers found that TV reduces parent-child communication. Even when there was speaking involved, the parents’ comments were typically unrelated to what their children said.
The result is that it created an “unproductive exchange that could hinder children’s opportunity for learning,” the authors said.
If you watched lots of violent TV, you’re more likely to be an aggressive grown-up.
According to a 15-year study, children model their behaviors after violent scenes where the perpetrators are rewarded for violence. For example, if a child watches a detective who’s rewarded for bringing a murderer to justice after a violent clash, it will result in more pushing, grabbing, and shoving from the child — even after he or she has grown up.
If you copycat your parents, you’ll be more open-minded as an adult.
If you copied everything your parents did even if it didn’t make sense, you developed a willingness to assume that actions have some “unknown” purpose. This will make you more open to sharing and transmitting culture later on in life.
This is universally a human activity — chimpanzees are shown to only imitate actions if they’re practical. “It’s something that we know that other primates don’t do,” said psychologist Mark Nielsen, of the University of Queensland in Australia.
If you were spanked as a kid, you may be a sneaky adult.
In the book “Drive,” author Daniel Pink explains that trying to influence a child’s behavior by offering rewards or punishment does not actually result in the desired behavior.
Instead, children will only work harder to avoid getting caught the next time.
The conclusion is if you were spanked often as a child, you’ll most likely resort to misbehaving even more, but you’ll learn how to do it without getting caught.
Eventually, you’ll become a very sneaky adult.
If you had druggy parents, you’ll likely be a super serious adult.
If you grew up witnessing your parents abusing drugs or alcohol, you probably ended up being the parent to your parents.
Because you skipped childhood altogether, you become super serious and won’t know how to have fun as an adult. You also tend to be overly responsible, says Portland Lifestyle Counseling.
If you were traumatized as a kid, you may be obese as an adult.
Several studies have shown a correlation between sexual abuse — and other traumatic childhood experiences — and eating disorders.
For women, a 2007 study showed that childhood sexual abuse raised the risk of obesity by 27% compared with women who were never sexually abused.
For men, a 2009 study showed that experiencing sexual abuse as a child raised the risk of obesity by 66% compared with males who never experienced sexual abuse.
If you experienced maltreatment as a child, you’re twice as likely to be depressed now.
A King’s College London study of 26,000 people found that if you experienced various forms of maltreatment, you’re 2.27 times more likely to have recurrent episodes of depression.
The maltreatments, as per the Guardian’s report:
• rejecting interaction from a mother
• harsh discipline reported by a parent
• unstable primary caregiver arrangement throughout childhood
• self-reports of harsh physical or sexual maltreatment
That must play in a role in the startling facts about depression in the U.S.: 1 in 10 Americans have it.
If you were abused as a kid, your memory and emotional control will suffer as an adult.
There’s more harsh news for people with tough childhoods. Neuroscientific research shows that people who experienced childhood abuse have worse memories and less control over their emotions.
If you were bullied as a kid, you’ll be less functional as an adult.
A study that tracked 7,771 British children from when they were 7 to 50 years old found that people who were bullied as kids had worse relationships, increased depression, higher anxiety, lower educational attainment, and lower earnings.
If you grew up poor, you’ll have a lesser “working memory.”
People who grow up in lower socioeconomic classes end up with a lower working memory — or ability to hold multiple objects in their minds — in adulthood, suggests a University of Oregon study.
If your parents divorced when you were super young, you’ll have poor relationships with them in adulthood.
If your parents split up when you were between 3 and 5 years old, you’ll probably have an insecure relationship with them when you’re an adult, especially in the case of fathers, according to a University of Illinois study. However, that divorce incidence doesn’t predict insecure romantic relationships.