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Do childhood experiences determine behavior in later life? Show more Show less
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Traumatic events in childhood create phobias, likes and dislikes, and even core personality features. For example, abusers tend to have been abused themselves. The flip side is also true, college students succeed more if they have support from their parents. Also, siblings come into play. Children with opposite-sex siblings tend to have happier marriages if they are wed to the opposite sex.

No, childhood experiences do not influence adult behavior Show more Show less

Behavior is a choice in the moment, not determined by past experience.
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You can challenge the beliefs that you formed as a child

The more you reflect on and understand your beliefs as a child, the more aware you become of your values and behaviours, making you capable enough to challenge and change them.

The Argument

When we are born, we do not have any concept of behaviours, they are shaped through our experiences in life. We collect information, and by the age of six, we gather this information to form beliefs. Many of our core beliefs are developed during our childhood and teenage years. If left unchallenged, these beliefs go on to form our behaviour as adults. Beliefs can be changed. To do so, one must become conscious of their beliefs, and then work to understand, challenge, and change them, which ultimately helps change behaviour. For example, if you are a female who grew up in a house where your father abused your mother, you may have negative views on men, leading to problems trusting and forming relationships. If the same person were to understand and challenge their belief system, they would be able to gradually change their behaviour to form more successful relationships.[1] The task of altering the belief system you formed earlier in life is difficult as these comprise our core beliefs; however, it is not impossible. When you change your beliefs as an adult, these are formed in a less rigid manner, and are easier to challenge, to address any further behaviours. Awareness is key. [2]

Counter arguments

Your childhood affects the way you think as an adult. You subconsciously learn a significant amount in your earliest years, and these experiences shape your values and behaviours. Traumatic events suffered at an early stage in life, can emerge through behaviours in your adult life, through triggers. These traumas can range from PTSD to anxiety, or in more subtle behavioural quirks, and may even form physiologically in the form of ailments. These traumas can also lead to self-limiting beliefs in children that are demonstrated as they become an adult. Although recently there has been more emphasis on reaching out and getting assistance, this may limit a significant portion of the population, such as people suffering from self-limiting beliefs from trauma who may struggle with taking any steps to reach out for help. A response to trauma is avoidance, the unwillingness or fear of confronting their demons and this may lead to a person either running away from their problems, or not having the capacity to self-reflect and understand how their past traumatic experiences affect their behaviour. This inability results in the person not being able to challenge their belief system, leading the childhood trauma to continue its manifestation.[3]

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.psychmechanics.com/how-our-past-experiences-shape-our/
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/fixing-families/201903/4-key-ways-your-childhood-shapes-you
  3. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/past-trauma-may-haunt-your-future-health
This page was last edited on Sunday, 4 Oct 2020 at 21:27 UTC

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