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How much does someone's childhood affect their life?

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    Hey, I was just wondering this question. For example a lot of people which commit crime have had a bad childhood (abused etc.) and so I was wondering what affect does this have on the rest of their life. I read somewhere that most serial killers had an abusive childhood and therefore they committed such acts when they were older. How much is their childhood to blame for the acts they committed?

    Looking at it in a different way, the people who are born into a wealthy family probably can get everything they want in life without question when they are in their childhood. Will this contribute to how the person's life will be?
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    Surely it has a big effect? They are your formative years.
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    A baby is a foundation on which an adult is built. It can affect individuals a heck of a lot. Sure, there's things you can do to overcome things that happen in childhood, counselling etc, but the majority of the time the way our childhood works out determines how successful we are as an adult (and by that I don't just mean financially, I mean even things like having relationships, our own families, holding down a job etc).

    Although it can work in different ways. Some people might turn to crime if they had a bad childhood, whereas others may work harder than anyone else to prove people wrong.. so there's no specific response that people will take when faced with a situation.
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    (Original post by Miracle Day)
    Basically when you're 3-6 years old you'll start to get sexual feelings towards the opposite sex parent, and if not it makes you gay.
    That is so funny..

    As to the question, we can't say for sure, but obviously if a child witnessed abuse he will either be abusive or constantly afraid of everything (or both) in later years. There were studies showing that children separated from the mother when they were little were more likely to be criminals, but such studies are purely correlational. You don't know how much you're affected by your genes and how much by the environment and which events will be more important in determining your whole life.
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    (Original post by maereth)
    That is so funny..

    As to the question, we can't say for sure, but obviously if a child witnessed abuse he will either be abusive or constantly afraid of everything (or both) in later years. There were studies showing that children separated from the mother when they were little were more likely to be criminals, but such studies are purely correlational. You don't know how much you're affected by your genes and how much by the environment and which events will be more important in determining your whole life.
    Sigmund Freud said it, not me
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    (Original post by Miracle Day)
    Sigmund Freud said it, not me
    He didn't put it quite like that
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    (Original post by Miracle Day)
    Sigmund Freud said it, not me
    ok forgiven, but still imo it's not appropriate or relevant to the question, not to mention true ;p
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    Interesting.
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    I suppose it boils down to the nature vs nurture debate for a lot of things. I think its inevitable that the experiences that we have throughout our lives, particularly during childhood will shape our lives - things like phobias are often formed during traumatic events in childhood and things like being bullied as a child can affect people's lives which goes to show how much of an impact negative things can have - I guess the same would go for a lot of positive things too but maybe we don't directly link the cause and effect of the more positive aspects.

    Also our outlook on life and a lot of our views and morals will be shaped by our parents, and how we perceive our parents.

    I guess it's the events and experiences that will have the impact and shape how we turn out but essentially the nature of the person and their personality how they respond to things which is why even siblings who are brought up exactly the same will turn out different.
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    I would say parenting alone has probably the biggest effect on how a person will turn out. As the old saying goes, show me a ****ed up kid and i'll show you a ****ed up parent.

    One thing i find quite fascinating, is to look at infamous mass murderer's and serial killer's upbringings. Often it explains a lot. Take Anders Breivik's childhood for example:

    When Breivik was four, two reports were filed expressing concern about his mental health, concluding that Anders ought to be removed from parental care. One psychologist in one of the reports made a note of the boy's peculiar smile, suggesting it was not anchored in his emotions but was rather a deliberate response to his environment. In another report by psychologists from Norway's centre for child and youth psychiatry (SSBU) concerns were raised about how his mother treated him: "She 'sexualised' the young Breivik, hit him, and frequently told him that she wished that he were dead." In the report Wenche Behring is described as "a woman with an extremely difficult upbringing, borderline personality structure and an all-encompassing if only partially visible depression" who "projects her primitive aggressive and sexual fantasies onto him [Breivik]".
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_...vik#Early_life
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    It's huge. There are studies on, for example, identical twins who are separated at birth compared with twins who were not separated. Very little of personality is ever down to choice.

    It is as the Jesuit saying goes, "Give me the child for seven years, and I will give you the man."
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    It depends on lot of different factors. Individual differences have a huge factor as well such as the backgrounds, personality.intelligence along with social interaction and environmental factor

    According to Freud , Our childhood have a huge role in our life , if children/kid do not go through the psychosexual stages of childhood properly , it will later affected our life such as problem with drugs , alcoholism etc. However , Freud's theory lack any strong empirical evidence to support it to be fair .

    Studies shown identical twin who were separated but have similar features/ result in adult years later on such as ages of marriage , activity they enjoy , some even with the same name regardless being raised in different family .having said that. there're however twins whom are raised in the same background but so different in personality and achievement (such as me and my sister :P )

    if a children suffered from abused in childhood or with wrong parenting style , it can undoubtfully affect the child , i am sure you heard of the story of the Citz Twins , or the wild boy ,where because they lack social interaction with other and with severe abused .the children were not able to communicated to other in the right way and some made up their own language because as a primate , social interaction play a huge role in our development .
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    It is pretty significant. Let alone the infant years, the first few weeks of your life are important in determining things such as your basal level of stress, and your reaction to stressful events (in terms of the extent of the reaction and the time to go back to normal levels), as well as psychosocial effects and effects on intelligence, etc.
    But these effects are determined differently by 2 different periods in early life - first few postnatal weeks and first few years of childhood.

    Tl;dr significance of nurture is underestimated
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    What about the time you are in your Mother's womb. The movement, the nutrition and the noise. For example My mother's scream caused my stutter but with no effect to my identicle twin brother!

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    Yes, I would say childhood is significant for children and teenagers, as it's during those years you develop interests, self-worth, respect, obedience, etc. However, everyone has problems and has had issues during their childhood and after a while the individual will try to overcome them.

    What can you do about it?
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    (Original post by StUdEnTIGCSE)
    What about the time you are in your Mother's womb. The movement, the nutrition and the noise. For example My mother's scream caused my stutter but with no effect to my identicle twin brother!

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    This does have an effect. I'm not sure about screaming in particular, or about stuttering, and doubt the link between the 2.

    But prenatal (before birth, during pregnancy) stress of the mother can cause the child to be born as an easily stressed individual, and find it harder to cope with stress in life, leading to psychosocial issues.

    edit: in no way do I mean to say that this is applicable to you, I'm just stating a fact generally
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    A developmental/forensic psychology textbook will help to answer these questions, but as with many things like this there is evidence for and against every point. It would be impossible to boil it down to one factor. Freud's theories are massively out of date and there's not a lot of evidence to support them, I'd like to think we have progressed from that to be honest!
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    Massively I suspect.

    I remember watching a TED talk about Death Row inmates, and the childhood they had.
    May be worth investing in ensuring children have safe upbringing and removing them from bad enviroments, down the road may save more money and lives.
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    (Original post by GrumpyCat)
    Massively I suspect.

    I remember watching a TED talk about Death Row inmates, and the childhood they had.
    May be worth investing in ensuring children have safe upbringing and removing them from bad enviroments, down the road may save more money and lives.
    How would you do that though? Can you see that happening in the future?

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    I had an abusive childhood, and I would say that it had a big effect on the way I think. However, what I would say is that it is no excuse or justification for committing a crime.

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