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No. 27 – Our Childhood May Affect Our Reactions

May 11, 2011

Most of us are not aware how much the images in our minds affect our daily reactions to situations. We do not realize that these images are evoking fears that affect our behavior and the ways we respond to communications. If someone responds in anger when you are trying to provide helpful information on radiation risks, images and fears (hidden demons) are at work.

Where Do these Images and Fears Come From? 

Psychologists have long recognized the links between childhood experiences and fear/images that drive our responses today. As a parent you may unknowingly play a role in the development of these fear/images. Your primary goal as a parent is to raise and mold your child in as caring and nurturing a manner as possible. At the same time, you want your child to fit into a pattern and tradition that is acceptable to your family, friends, and community. Since your child has a mind of his own, however, and may occasionally (or often) decide not to conform to what you want; a contest of wills inevitably follows.

When your child resists nurturing and the nurturing approach no longer accomplishes your goals in raising the child, then demands will surely follow. You have only two ways to shape the lives of your children. You can either nurture or demand. Your child has two ways of coping with your efforts at molding. He can either submit or rebel.

Your natural inclination as a parent is to mold your child by whatever means seem necessary. Likewise your child has a natural tendency to avoid your efforts at molding. The opposing efforts of molding and avoiding lead to a contest of wills. When your child rebels and you see that your best efforts at nurturing are not working, anxiety begins to enter the picture. This is a result of your own fear/images. When nurturing fails, your next option is to shift to demands or threats. This shift is a natural consequence of anxiety about your success as a parent.

Next week we will present a typical scenario to illustrate the nurturing-molding-avoidance process. We will look at what happens at the dinner table when you try to get your son to eat green beans and he refuses.

This scene will show you one origin of anxiety-threat-reactions, which affects our responses to radiation risks and other issues today.

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