A casual, yet raw chat about childhood and the difference it makes to one’s self-esteem.
I was in a conversation with my girlfriend Júlia a couple of months ago and realised that she’s had a very different upbringing to me.
Julia’s childhood wasn’t perfect (and no one’s is) but when I learned that her parents were guiding her to realise the natural consequences of her actions, and that they would explain to her why she wasn’t the reason they got mad – I knew I wanted to know more about their approach to parenting.
As we know, it’s the experiences we have as kids which often significantly shape the way we think about ourselves, and as a result, our experience of life.
In this episode Júlia and myself share different childhood stories about our parents and the differing effects these experiences had on our self-esteem.
Click a timecode to jump to that section of the podcast.
- Júlia: I couldn’t understand why my friends were scared of their parents. 02:44
- Ben: What would your parents say to you if you didn’t clean up your room or do your homework? 04:08
- Júlia: My parents guided me to realise the natural consequences of me not taking action. 4:28
- Ben: I always had the feeling that my parents were investing their own sense of value into how clean my room was or how well I did at school. 05:42
- Júlia: My parents saw me and my brother as unique people so they treated us differently. 06:55
- Ben: At school, my default belief was, “I’m already no good.” I felt I needed to try 30x harder than the other kids just for the teacher to acknowledge my efforts. 08:17
- Júlia: I think most kids felt like they were not good enough at school. 09:38
- Ben: Because our parents are so focused on us achieving certain results we get the idea that we are already not good. 11:41
Ben: My parents were more focused on the changes I needed to make in order to progress and less about reinforcing the things I’d already achieved. 12:45
- Ben: My father usually gave me feedback when he was annoyed and wanted me to stop doing something but there was very little encouragement of the things I was doing right. So I got the message that I was mostly doing things wrong. 13:22
- Júlia: Once you have the idea that you’re not doing anything right you start to focus on those aspects of yourself more and more. 14:06
- Ben: It’s so difficult to begin to change this idea because you feel like you can’t do anything right. Where do you start if you completely feel no good? 14:49
- Júlia: I think our parents’ intentions are good but it’s the way they give us feedback which will affect every kid in a different way. 17:03
- I also don’t think kids understand how marks work at school. In Spain it was either PASS, you’re good! or FAIL, you need to try harder! 17:58
- Ben: If we don’t feel we are good just because we exist we will attempt to get the love of our parents through achieving good grades, cleaning our room, etc. 19:42
- This belief, I’m not good enough as I am., has a huge impact on a person’s life and affects the type of relationships they form with other people. 20:36
- Ben: Did your parents ever get really mad at you? 21:22
- Júlia: If my mum got mad at me she would explain afterwards what had happened for her and why she had become so mad. 22:00
- Ben: Having that explained to me would have helped me realise I wasn’t the casue for my mum was mad. 22:35
- Júlia: I remember she would let me experience my own annoying behaviours by doing it back to me. My brother did that as well. It helped me realise how I was effecting others. 24:21
- My dad shared a lot of helpful quotes and phrases with me that I still use in my life. 27:54
Ben: We notice the negative things our parents passed onto us, more, because it’s the negative which causes more friction in our lives. 31:05
- Júlia: We come to this world as a blank canvas with a unique shape, texture and colour. We can have the same experience but the brushstroke it leaves on our canvas is unique. 33:20
- Ben: How would you parent your kids differently from your parents? 35:45
- This podcast is about me sharing my journey of uncovering who I am free from fear. 37:41
Ben: I feel it’s important to let any person know (not just our kids) they are amazing and valuable just because they exist, and that they don’t have to prove themselves in order to receive love. 40:02