Not Everyone Has the Tools to Become Rich: How Our Childhood Shapes Our Ability to Succeed

"Not Everyone Has the Tools to Become Rich: How Our Childhood Shapes...

"In the early 1990s, a team of psychologists set out to determine how a mother's attentiveness affects her children as they grow up. They took two groups of monkeys and placed them in two different environments. In the first environment, the mother always had access to food. She could focus all her attention on her baby instead of constantly looking for food. In the second environment, the food was harder to find. The mother had to spend so much time looking for food she often neglected her child.

The results were tragic. The second group of babies grew up with noticeable despair and anxiety issues. Their brains literally looked different. Their brain cells couldn't regulate emotions like their healthier peers'. Once they became adults, the second group of monkeys was shy, clingy, weak and socially awkward. They had trouble making friends, and they never became leaders. They were forever scarred—and their potential forever stunted—by their distracted mothers."

I've seen this impact in my work as a teacher and counselor, with boys and girls, boy in boys' ranches, adults in federal, state and municipal prisons and jails. Some people do not have the ability to see options, to examine ideas, to experiment with different processes. They appear to have learned how to be helpless as defined by Martin Seligman, Learned Helplessness Research

Ed Lindaman stated, "Options without awareness yield me no freedom".

Any organism with a brain can be taught learned helplessness. Experiments on rats, pigeons, dogs, monkeys, octopus, fish and humans reveal that all can very easily be taught how to be helpless.  Learned Helplessness Demonstration. Helplessness is a learned behavior. 

I am not talking about the helplessness that comes from disabilities, or age; Learned helplessness is about a behavioral trait, one that can produce depression and anxiety. 

Parents with resources, enough food, shelter, health care, education and discretionary money may have time to spend with their children, teaching them how to communicate, solve problems, resolve conflicts, they teach how to explore options, examine ideas, experiment with processes and take action that makes a difference. 

Parents without money resources, working several jobs, not spending time with their children, have difficulty learning these skills themselves and are unable to pass them on to their children. Some parents are so depressed and anxious that they may not work outside the home, and may not have the initiative to learn the skills themselves. 

Martin Seligman has a training model that I find works very effectively and efficiently, Learned Optimism.

Views: 143


You need to be a member of Atheist Nexus to add comments!

Join Atheist Nexus

Comment by Plinius on August 16, 2014 at 1:40am

Many survivors learn very early that they need other people who'll teach them what their parents won't or can't do for them.  

Comment by Idaho Spud on August 12, 2014 at 1:32pm

Joan, your post is sad, and in part, reminds me of my childhood.  My mother was a very anxious person.  I can remember her taking me and hiding in the closed when a salesman, or someone she didn't know would knock at the door.

That's probably a large factor in me being an anxious person, and being so shy that I never had the courage to go after a means of making a living that I enjoyed the most.  More importantly, not being able to go after a means of making a living where I had the most talents, and could have made much more money.

Comment by Plinius on August 12, 2014 at 1:45am

Thanks Joan! I had discovered part of the patterns but this makes it very clear!

Comment by Grinning Cat on August 11, 2014 at 5:36pm

This is an important part of the conversation when people claim that "anyone can become rich through their own efforts", and society and government have little or no role in helping citizens become productive and successful.

(I pointed to this post in the comments of "Politics, Economics, and Religion".)



Update Your Membership :




Nexus on Social Media:


© 2018   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service