Having a Difficult Childhood
Creates Extraordinary Individuals
Megan Hustad the author of Surprising Benefits for Those Who Had Tough Childhoods asks herself “What possible benefit is there in a tumultuous childhood?” Hustad raises an imperative question in her Psychology Today article. She goes on to describe the not so apparent benefits of having a problematic childhood. Adults who’ve had troublesome childhoods developing almost a 6th sense when they walk into a room as a result. This skill among others, can be seen in similar individuals except for those who may have had an uncomplicated childhood.
Take for example, celebrities and athletes who had to work their way up from nothing in order to get to where they are today compared to the children of celebrities who have already had a head start to their careers just by being born. There is something different about them, a more humble attitude on things. No matter how much they gain, their attitude and persona continue to be unpretentious. Oprah Winfrey, whose childhood was full of moving from family member to family member all in small apartments sharing rooms, and at one point facing sexual abuse from family members. Through these many hardships, she still managed to become one of the most successful talk show hosts, television producers, etc. She shares her success with her followers and people who need it most through gifts and donations. And in recent news she donated $10 million to the coronavirus relief.
This can be seen in every line of work, not only celebrities. Successful business men and women, many of whom started out with nothing to their names persevered and climbed the economies ladder. What these individuals share is the mindset of figuring things out independently. This one simple idea is what defines them and is what needs to be implemented throughout every child’s upbringing. The challenge is determining what specific steps need to be done in order to pass on this way of thinking, while keeping a childhood enjoyable.
It goes to show that not all people who’ve had a difficult upbringing become amazing people, parents who commit crime and have substance abuse tend to have children who grow up doing the same. “First, the broken family creates conditions to predispose children to criminal activities” says Effects of Family Structure on Crime a collection of data created by Marripedia a social science encyclopedia. They go on to talk about several different statistical evidence such as individuals who have been charged by police and then separating them by family structure and religious practice to name one. “The scholarly evidence suggests that at the heart of the explosion of crime in America is the loss of the capacity of fathers and mothers to be responsible in caring for the children they bring into the world.” The years children spend with their parents or guardians are what decides what type of person they’ll be, but those who work to be their own person and not be defined by their parents, learn lessons along the way that few have the chance to. This leads to them becoming an individual who is down to earth and well rounded.
This is even depicted in movies, the main character who doesn’t use fancy training techniques and often comes from a single parent home, defying all odds, and against the one who has had everything they could have ever needed given to them. Classic movies like the Karate Kid, Daniel who is from a single parent home and no background in martial arts defies all odds and competes against his bully in a tournament. He not only wins the match, but he gains the respect of his enemy, which turns out is what he needed all along. What sounds like one of the cheesiest story lines is what inspired many other storylines to come. A hero figure, from humble beginnings, takes matters into their own hands to get what they want and persevere. The types of movies are inspiring and for most viewers and makes them want to be better people.
So why don’t we do this in real life? Unfortunately the desire to want to be successful is not naturally in all of us. The individual needs to decide that they want to become better, and in order for that to happen parents must inspire them to do so. We as a society can’t drastically alter the way we’ve raised children for the past generations. Especially if the thing that we’re changing is making a child’s upbringing inherently more challenging.
To fully apprehend this concept you must be open for new ideas, including ones that challenge your beliefs. It is only natural for parents to want the best for their child, and give them everything they could ever want in life. However what you want in life and what you need to survive and to succeed are two drastically different things. By giving your child a set of skills they can use to survive on their own can be one of the greatest gifts of all. Children need to want to survive on their own and become successful as their own person. These qualities can be seen in all of the celebrities and athletes discussed earlier. Individuals who learn to survive on their own and want to get out of the life they are currently living to strive for something that is better, this is what makes an extraordinary individual.
Hustand, Megan “Surprising Benefits for Those Who Had Tough Childhoods” Psychology Today. 7 Mar. 2017. Reviewed 17 Oct. 2019
Dr.Fagan, Pat “Effects of Family Structure on Crime” Marripedia
Fry, Elizabeth “A Childhood Biography of Oprah Winfrey” liveaboutdotcom. 22 Aug. 2019