Parenting Yourself, Seriously

How Do You Parent Children If You Do Not Remember Your Own Childhood?


Research shows most should remember their childhood from about 4 years and up; unless your memory is suppressing negative events.

The area of mental development from birth to age 3 or 4 in which children and adults cannot recall is called Childhood or Infantile Amnesia; caused by the underdevelopement of the cognitive area responsible for storing and encoding memory.

Around the age of 7-10 years, the mind goes through a forgetful stage which unimportant short term and long term memories are quickly forgotten. However, ages 11 and up show equal remembering and forgetting abilities to that of an average adult.

Some, however, say they don’t remember their childhood at all.

If you don’t remember what it’s like to be a child yourself, can you really parent confidently? If you don’t take the time to understand, learn, read, etc., about a child’s mental development and emotional needs, to make up for what you don’t remember, how can you be sure they aren’t hurting from what they are lacking from you? Are you not afraid to make mistakes realizing that the interpretation of a child versus an adult is vastly different?

On another note, are you not concerned that you don’t remember your childhood?

Those who do not remember their childhood at all should to seek assistance in recovering those forgotten memories, as they are the key to becoming a better parent and creating a better childhood. In remembering your childhood, you learn as an adult who you were as a child. Furthermore, understanding your childhood aids in the process of self-understanding and indentifying unknown triggers, mindsets, moods, and reactions towards your children’s behavior.

Read my page on identifying your unknown triggers here.

Oftentimes, lack of childhood memories is a result of suppressing events as a survival instinct. A tactic in place by nature to let you move forward. Sometimes it’s a conscious choice and sometimes it is a subconscious choice. The cause behind memory suppressing does not always need to be traumatic events or devastating circumstances. It can be caused due to a progression of disappointment and sadness. It can be caused due to confusing times you didn’t understand. It can be even be due to a time that was once so happy but no longer exists. A time your mind chooses to forget to prevent yearning for it, and the pain of remembering what you don’t have anymore.

Neglect during early development can produce severe psychopathologies, such as depression and anxiety, as well as learning and cognitive disabilities.
If you were depressed or anxious during your childhood, there is much benefit from remembering and understanding it so that you can make sure to not repeat the patterns your parents did. More importantly, it helps you remember and understand how life is interpreted through the eyes of a child.

As a child passed the age of autobiographical memory developement, childhood recollection is often also associated with a sense of identity. I.e., a childhood spent not knowing who you are is difficult for the brain to process memories, resulting in areas of lost time when reflecting back to younger ages.

If you are one who doesn’t remember your childhood, when did you start remembering?

When do your recollections of memories begin?

Why do you think you don’t remember your childhood?

Why do you think you started remembering when you did?

How old were you when you start at remembering? What was going on in your life?

If you are interested in trying to retrieve some of the lost memories:

As well as the frame in which they exist, researchers Bauer and Larkina (2013) used the Cued Recall method. At the end of the study, it was found most memories started between the ages of 3 and 5. Unfortunately, the downfall to this test and method of retrieval is that the memories are formed months after their association with word given, and time frames are a mere estimate without verification by an additional adult who was there during the memory.

During the Cued Recall method, a person/experimenter gives a participant one word at a time, and the participant responds with the first association with that word that comes to mind and the earliest time in their life they can recall it.


Resources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/media-spotlight/201404/exploring-childhood-amnesia

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childhood_amnesia

http://psycnet.apa.org/?&fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/0882-7974.12.3.524

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5473198/

Heim and Nemeroff, 2001; https://scholar.google.ca/scholar?q=Heim+and+Nemeroff,+2001&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3D1ny1ngwAVFMJ

Other researchers and their articles:
Pryce ., 2005; Zeanah ., 2009; Bale., 2010; Perry and Sullivan, 2014).