I recently had coffee with my younger brother. Naturally the conversation turned to our parents and the way they raised us. My brother does not believe that one’s childhood affects one for the rest of one’s life. “How is it possible that 11 or 12 years – the years between 4 and 16 – shape our whole lives?” He picked those years because, he believes, we can’t remember what happened before age 4, and by the time we’re 16 or so, our parents are irrelevant.
His point was that our parents are just part of the huge cast of characters that pass through our lives and influence us, and that they can’t be blamed for all of our failings and deficits. He thought our parents did the best they could with what they had, and made his case for the fact that THEY were raised by people who didn’t bring a lot to the table either.