Table 9.2: Possible outcomes of possibly harmful
Please note: These suggested relationships are only clinical
hypotheses and general tendencies, not invariably predictable
consequences. Personality development is far too long-term and
complicated to predict the outcome of a childhood experience.
Furthermore, keep in mind that all parents are, at times, hostile,
indulging, inconsistent, overprotective, seductive, etc. and that some
children live through horrible family conditions to become super-
healthy, well-adjusted adults (Higgens, 1994). Some children learn to
do their own self-assessment and reject "you're awful" or "you can do
no wrong" messages. Also, children are not always entirely "passive
victims," they sometimes contribute to and even provoke the
If you have problems, treatment and self-help can be effective. Be
careful not to erroneously label yourself or your parents as "troubled"
and, thus, create a problem where there was none.
Early Childhood Experiences:
Experience: reminders, criticism, warnings; parent encourages
Overprotective Parent(s): Over-controlling with orders,
dependent attachments, discourages skills; child never
finds his/her limits
Reaction as a
Child or as an women than men). Or feeling put down, child
Insecure & passive-dependent: Submissive, weak,
compliant, always needs help; feeling inadequate,
child becomes fragile instead of competitive (more
procrastinates, daydreams, is forgetful, tired,
Experience: wonderful, grants his/her every wish, showers child
Indulgent Pampering Parent(s): Tells child he/she is
with presents & treats, sometimes one parent is more
doting & loving than the other.
Reaction as a
Child or as an blames others when things go wrong. Resents rules,
Narcissistic, demanding, undisciplined. Wants
attention, may be charming, talkative & over-confident
as long as things go his/her way, then irritable &
even reasonable ones. Seldom initiates any effort or
works hard or cooperates. Feels superior, disregards
or exploits others. "Only" children are prone.
Experience: little time for the child or formal or unexpressive or
Neglectful Unemotional Parent(s): Not hostile, just
cold. One parent may be out of the home. Poverty,