Bloganuary 3 – What is the first memory you have?

I read in a psychology book once that happy, stable people – people confident in who they are – have a happy first memory. Interesting to find that the first memory was common in so many of them – it was usually when they were doing a happy activity and most of them had height involved – standing on a table, learning to walk, toddling about with their parents – some kind of height-related memory.

Fascinating, huh?

For today’s Bloganuary prompt, I’ve already addressed my first memory in past blogs – the memory of standing outside my parent’s door and hearing them discuss giving me away.

I was only 5 years old.

It broke my heart and cemented in my character, my values and my core beliefs that I was worthless. A commodity to be swapped and changed by my parents of all people.

I’ll discuss instead the effect of what our parents say to us.

I’ve heard heartbreaking stories of parents who abuse their children which enforces the idea that the poor child involved isn’t worth protecting or cherishing. Parents who will put their children down or put an immense amount of pressure on them to be the tennis star/the school dux/the best cheerleader/the football star etc inevitably change their children because of that expectation to be perfect. It’s a lot. It’s especially heavy when you think of a child trying to carry the weight of their parent’s hopes and dreams.

What parents say to their children – or in my case about them but within earshot – it’s powerful.

Our parent’s voices are the first ones we hear, so they set the foundation for how we’ll think about ourselves and treat ourselves.

Parents who speak negatively to their children, who put them down or degrade/dismiss them…they pave the way for insecure and unsettled children. Sometimes these children grow up to be destructive teens and damaged adults.

What gives me hope is that the reverse is true, too.

Parents who believe in their children, compliment them, celebrate them, uplift and encourage them – those parents are creating strong foundations for their children to grow up in a healthy, happy way. Children who are loved feel safe enough to speak up, to take risks, to step out of their comfort zones and grow…and I think these children are the ones who change the world for the better.

If you’re a parent, give your kid a compliment…because in 20 year’s time, they’ll still remember that and smile when they see themselves in the mirror.

Words have power. Especially on little kids.

10 responses to “Bloganuary 3 – What is the first memory you have?”

  1. You are right, words can hurt much more than people think. And, children understand more than parents realize. I am deeply sorry for your pain, you deserve better. Well written post with great advice. Sending huge hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hiiiii Alice πŸ™‚ thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my blog, I smile whenever I hear from you! Yes, parents have the power to make or break us as children, we look to them for the answers and if they provide negativity and pain, we’re likely to hold onto that and possibly repeat it in our own lives. Sending you hugs right back. I’ll go check your blog out now xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, I am glad I found you online. I can hear my elders voices when they encouraged but also when they doubted me. That’s why we have always watched what we said in front of or in earshot of young, impressionable ears.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. hiding behind grape vines

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol…playing hide and seek?

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      1. no wanting a brown topper at the nearby artic circle

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like the way you concluded your story. There is so much pressure on kids from an early age now to have the best grades, be the best athlete, etc. If we spend all our time telling people to be better, are we not also saying that they are not good enough? That is the sad truth for many of us who have been damaged by words. To your point, with all of the work to be your best, do we spend enough time acknowledging our kids for just being good kids. For being proud of them for being good people. I would like to see us spend more time on that part of being human and less on the performance and perfection. Nice job Janet.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Tommy. Your comments always give me a lesson learnt or something to think over which will inevitably improve my life, you’re pretty awesome like that. You’re so right, we need to praise kids for being kind, being patient, helping out, being thoughtful – not just when they are stars at a sports or school subject. It’s the way they treat others that’s the most important xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing this part of your story, Janet. I have two early memories of things that were said to me. The first one I remember was that my parents used to call me a difficult child. I must have been about four. I wondered what was wrong with me but had no explanation. My second memory was the most personal and painful, and that was being told by my abuser that I was a dirty girl. I was eight through to twelve. I went through a large part of my life thinking and believing this, but couldn’t work out why I was dirty – I thought I was born that way, and the abuse was somehow my punishment. Awful memories. Xx πŸ’•

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  5. Oh Ellie…oh darling. I was just about to switch my laptop off for the day (I fell through a true crime rabbit hole on YouTube and 3 hours disappeared) but I’m not going to leave without responding to your comment because it absolutely broke my heart.

    I hurt for the 4-year-old you that was called “difficult”. I wish I could kneel down so that she and I are eye-level and say “Difficult is another way of saying you’re creative, bright and too wonderful to fit inside a stupid square hole when you’re a rainbow arc. Don’t listen to them – listen to your inner voice because that’s the one who really knows you”. Children notice EVERYTHING and little ears overhear everything, too. I’m so sorry you had to go through that.

    As for your second experience of being called dirty…oh Ellie…I don’t even know how to begin addressing something so VILE that you had to experience as the BEAUTIFUL girl you were then and are now. I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine the pain and shame that you went through. What angers me is that NONE OF IT WAS YOUR FAULT, my love. I’m burning with rage over the person who hurt you. It brought tears to my heart when you thought that the abuse was your punishment for being ‘Dirty’. Oh Ellie…crying as I type to you because you had to face such a huge injustice all on your own…and you must have been so innocent and impressionable.

    For what it’s worth, I heard something from a friend-of-a-friend yesterday that was gamechanging for me. I was really ASHAMED of being fired recently and telling my friend Sophie about it. Her friend Steph (I’ve never met her and we’re not friends) told Sophie to tell me verbatim that she “gave a shit about me”. SO POWERFUL. I want to take this time to repeat that sentiment (even though it’s very sweary and I apologise for that): I GIVE A SHIT ABOUT YOU, Ellie. I hurt because you hurt and I am OVERJOYED when you are happy.

    Keep being the rainbow of ALL the colours that you are. Don’t let anyone take your SHINE away from you. Shine bright, you are so beautiful inside and out xx

    Like

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