Undeniably, childhood has an effect on adulthood and our childhood experiences are key in shaping our identity as adults. Childhood experiences start shaping who we become as adults from the moment we are born. This also explains why we grow up to be individuals with unique identities. Our sense of self is developed during our childhood years, a time when we are also heavily influenced by family dynamics, cultural backgrounds, and environment. As children, we might find ourselves saying that we would do specific things differently as adults but, eventually, we might end up doing it ourselves. 

Look back on your childhood

Most of the time, adults seek to create a safe and secure home for their children, however childhood memories and experiences come into play. Therefore, it is advisable for adults to reflect about their behaviour and think about what shaped them both positively and negatively as children. This conscious process fosters a positive relationship with our children and ensures that adverse childhood experiences are not passed on to the next generation.

Moreover, the provision of nurturing and supportive relationships in childhood paves way to adults who are self-confident, able to form healthy relationships with themselves, and aware of both their worth and others’. On the other hand, people who struggle with their identity and are facing mental health issues may have been raised in an abusive environment and neglected as children. Consequently, as adults, they are also more likely to struggle with self-doubt and struggle to form secure relationships. 

Interaction helps identify emotions

As children interact with family members and peers, they are able to identify and understand emotions. This is linked with emotional intelligence that too is heavily influenced by our childhood. These childhood interactions not only affect the way we think about ourselves and perceive others, but also the way we approach difficult situations or take risks when faced with an unfamiliar challenge. This is also the time children learn important values that guide us in life, such as respect, loyalty, and trust, and build relationships that affect the way they interact with people in their adulthood. Moreover, this time enables us to develop skills that help them make decisions in their future.

Parents form identities

One’s family and parents are detrimental in forming your identity as an adult. The way family members interact with each other provide children with insight into different types of relationships that exist outside the home environment. The way children are attached to their parents also determines how well-adjusted they are as adults. Whereas secure attachments have proven to result in better adjusted adults, avoidant attachments, anxious attachments, and disorganized attachments have resulted in several problems later on in life, including relationship problems and trust issues.

For children to become healthy and successful adults, particular attention needs to be given to the way they are raised. Therefore, parents and caregivers need to focus on providing structure together with warmth and understanding as these have proven to provide children a sense of safety, without the fear of failure or judgement.

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Johanna Cutajar is a Master in Counselling graduate from the University of Malta. She works with children and adolescents as a counsellor within the education sector on a variety of issues including relationship issues, trauma, bereavement, transitions, and general mental health.


Volić, T. (2023). How Your Childhood Shapes Your Adulthood. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-your-childhood-shapes-adulthood-tanja-voli%C4%87/