Multigenerational Mindsets and Why You Are in Charge of Change
Your childhood plays a vital role in the shaping of your character. Arguably, your early environment is the single most influential factor in the development of your person.
Your genetic make-up is predominantly determined at the moment of conception. The genetic material is the soil on which your being stems. This soil is widely impacted by its surroundings. Consider a fertile piece of earth that is incessantly bombarded by storms; life will struggle to flourish.
Thankfully, most of our parents have proactively nourished our genetic soil. They gave it water and sunlight, proudly watching us grow. Nevertheless, the majority of our guardians had lapses of knowledge; they didn’t know that trampling or overwatering the soil was harmful to our growth. Rather than in wilful sabotage, their unfavourable inclinations lie at the essence of their being; in their own childhood.
How Our Parents Shape Us
Our parents’ influence on us begins in the womb. A mother’s emotional state during pregnancy can impact a child’s development and can have far reaching effects, even increasing one’s risk of depression in later life. Thus, periods of immense stress and anxiety, such as war times, can alter the emotional health of a developing fetus.
Once we are born, our fresh eyes see the world as it is. Our initial instance of learning is our parents’ behaviour. Our parents are our first orientation, our first idols. Any questions we have about the world are answered by them. Our foundational knowledge about the world is established by our parents.
Furthermore, whether they know it or not, our parents have conditioned us to act a certain way. Parents positively respond to certain actions. Consequently, we learn about which actions reap favourable responses. A child will attempt to act in a way that brings a desired outcome and avoids an undesired result. This is called conditioning and it influences our behaviour throughout childhood and even adulthood.
To condition a child effectively, a parent needs to be aware of their positive reinforcements. However, the potency of a positive response is in the eyes of the beholder. Thus, a parent’s response to a certain event may unintentionally be perceived as encouraging. If a parent is emotionally distant, the child will act in a way that gets them the emotional attention they desire. Whether this is achieved by being rebellious or by being a victim, the behaviour gradually establishes itself in the child’s mind. Subconsciously, the child realizes: “this behaviour gives me positive results and so I will repeat it.” The primordial human need of attention has the strongest conditioning power.
Consider a child that cries incessantly. Unfortunately, their helicopter parent is always at hand to encourage their whining. The parent rewards the child’s overreaction by smothering them with attention. Soon, the child learns that self-pity reaps positive outcomes. A behaviour is conditioned.
Early molding of our genetic soil widely impacts our life. Our parents shape our hereditary potential through the information they impart on us and through the behaviours they condition in us. So, should we blame them for any parental blunders?
Parents, Put Into Perspective
Consider your parents’ history, starting in their childhood. Your parents were most likely raised by people who have directly experienced war, maybe your parents even lived in an environment burdened by war. Thus, the soil from which they grew was severely aggravated by their external circumstance. Needless to say, this impacted their development.
Moreover, authoritarian ideals were highly valued a short historical time ago. Parents were encouraged to exert authority over their children. This means that they were encouraged to condemn their children for errors and severely punish them for disobedience.
Needless to say, being raised in old-fashioned manners has left a mark on your parents. This is why multigenerational mindsets and dysfunctions exist and persist; a child is influenced by its parents and carries certain behaviours through life, passing them on to its own children. This is why we should not blame our parents for parental shortcomings. Rather, we should take charge of creating a chain of change.
You Are In Charge Of Change
A multigenerational mindset perpetuates itself until someone places a barrier in its way. Thus, you can foster a lack of awareness and pass any dysfunctional behaviours prevalent in you on to your children, or you can become a conscious precursor to change.
A journey towards true insight into oneself is lifelong and can take you down dark alleys. The light that awaits after each new insight, however, is invigorating. The idea that our efforts and successes will create a multigenerational mindset shift is highly encouraging.
“One who has the audacity to blame their parents should have the audacity to create change. All of us should have the courage to create change.
The interconnectedness of the modern world has enabled worldwide distribution of information. This means that we have a world of knowledge at our fingertips. Out of this has sprung a worldwide awareness about our civilization and about ourselves. Thus, lack of awareness is no longer an excuse for lack of action.
We have the ability to seek knowledge and to seek the means for creating personal change. Neglecting this power means neglecting the responsibility we have towards the future generation. It means becoming self-pitying hypocrites in the face of multigenerational dysfunction. It means passing limiting mindsets on to our children.
You are in charge of change. Your lifelong journey of learning should be the foundation on which you treat the genetic soil of the next generation. Every dysfunction you deal with is a step towards unveiling your full potential and helping the next generation be the best they can be.
Move away from self-pity and engage the journey: Foster a mindset that you are proud to pass on to the next generations.
Severin Mudd, January 5 2019 (Happy new year!)