As we grow from a child into an adolescent into a young and then middle aged person, we have different influences on our life and our development. Sociologists say that:
- From 0-7 years of age is the Imprint period
- From 8-13 years of is the Modelling period
- From 14-21 years of is the Socialisation period
During these periods we develop our values and consequently our beliefs. Quite often they stay with us for life and whether we are aware of them or not, they pretty much dictate our thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
The Imprint period
The Imprint period is so crucial because a young child is trusting and accepts everything they are told at face value. Parents and later teachers, have a crucial role in the Imprint period, plus any other person involved in a day to day care of a child. The critical thing here is to learn a sense of right and wrong, good and bad. Here we will often use our feelings or monitor the responses of our parents to determine what is good or bad.
The imprint period is the window of development in which children are all ears. They listen. They see everything and certainly feel the emotions coming from those around them. This is often simply equated to ‘Anger’ equals ‘Bad’ and ‘Laughter’ equals ‘Good’. Young children want to know what Mum and Dad think in order to know what they themselves think. Small children mirror their parents and quickly develop a sense of what behaviour is going to bring them reward and what punishment.
It is at this crucial time that beliefs are formed, usually based on what they have been told about themselves or their family circumstances. A very young child may form a belief that they are bad and undeserving, if parents or carers reproach them and tell them so. They may develop beliefs that they are ‘ugly’ or ‘stupid’ or ‘they will never succeed in life’. Such remarks are made in anger or without much forethought, but they stay etched in the child’s subconscious and continue to play a vital role in their later life, even if as a grown up person they have completely forgotten all about it.
The Modelling period
The Modelling period is an equally impressionable period but in a slightly different way. Children of this age develop aspirations and want to emulate their heroes – whether they are cartoon characters, princes and princesses, parents, teachers or other influential people in their immediate surroundings. At around 10 they are more aware of the behaviour of their parents, teachers, friends, heroes and those they admire. They start copying or modelling those they admire and want to ‘be like when they grow up.’
The Socialisation period
The Socialisation period is when children and teenagers become increasingly more influenced by their friends and peer groups. Like-minded groups form around similar values, often interests and even media personalities/celebrities. This is the time of developing and questioning social values and relationships and by 21 core values are pretty much set.
So, after all the ‘programming’ of so many years, by parents, friends, teachers and preachers…how do you know who you really are? What values and beliefs are your authentic ones? How do you figure out what you want? What do you really really want? And why do you want it? Is it because you were taught that it is good, desirable, acceptable, respectable or is it something that makes your heart sing?
I know, I know. You are telling me – ‘Hey, get real, how many people really do in their life what makes their heart sing?’ I’d say probably all those who are successful at what they are doing AND are happy while doing it. Why? Because their thinking, decisions and behaviour are every day influenced by something they really care about, an activity, business or cause that is close to their heart. And if that is the case, they are almost certainly giving it their best. And if they are giving it their best and loving it and enjoying it and it is closely linked with their inner values and purpose – how can they not be successful!
To be continued….
If you are interested in exploring more and having an initial chat, please contact me.