conditioning

I have a lot of thoughts on this topic. I do not think I always have had a lot of thoughts on this topic but recently it has come to the forefront of my head. I am not sure how I feel about writing about this topic — which is a good sign that I should be writing about it.

Parents are this weird thing. That’s my feeling around it. In many ways, I think most parents are bad parents. But then again, how do we define what a good and bad parent really is? Is caring simply enough? Or do you, as a parent, have to be smart? Or disciplined? Or what does it mean to be successful as a parent?

Let’s start with the higher level view. The view that has been obvious to me for some time but perhaps was recently made more obvious as I began to spend more time thinking through systems and conditioning and how we are the way we are and perhaps more specifically how I am the way I am, really.

Parents are so so impactful on the development of their kids. I believe in nature, greatly, but lately my head has really been on the topic of nurture. And particularly conditioning. And particularly the idea that kids are really this ball of clay that are being validated and invalidated over and over through the process of conditioning until they become who they eventually become. And parents have a really big part to do with this. Parents, all their flaws and imperfections, get translated into their kids through osmosis. Either their own qualities, or coping mechanisms to defend agains the flaws of their parents. So kids build these shields of sorts. These defensive tools to make sure that they can survive when they basically are freedom-less given the control of their parents. And the habits become parts of their personalities. As they encounter the world they see signs of their parents. They then use these tools, these things that have been ingrained in their lives, to survive.

And so parents really determine so much for so many kids and eventually adults. Kids are just mini super impressionable adults. If you look at adults instead of as adults but rather as grown up versions of kids — with the same coping mechanisms — things begin to make more sense. Adult tantrums are really just kids screaming for help, and then using a coping mechanism or two that ended up being successful when their parents were doing something they did not like. Success is really abstract here – it could be getting the parent to say they love them. Or getting the parent to stop talking.

All of these things seem to play a role and you can very clearly visualize them as the kid has grown up. The kid wanting attention. And validation. And someone to care for them. All because they felt neglected growing up. Sad, really.

None of this is like a revolutionary take. It just helps me better see the world. The sensitivities of the world, really. The nuances in people. The things that make people people.


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