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Your childhood - a poll

Just curious….did you have a good childhood?

If you’re reading this in a feed reader or email, you’ll need to visit www.knitnut.net to answer the poll question. Rest assured, all responses are anonymous.

37 comments to Your Childhood – a Poll

  • mikatana

    I had a GREAT childhood and I tried to give my children the same thing but unfortunately couldn’t. The days of my childhood are from times and places long past.

  • In retrospect, I had a lovely childhood but I HATED being a child.

  • I feel as though I had a good childhood, but my sister thinks she had a gothically terrible childhood. It amazes me that we could grow up in the same house with the same parents and have similar experiences, and yet our take on it is so completely opposite.

    She thinks it’s because I was the golden child, treated differently by our parents, put on a pedestal. I wonder if that’s true, but sometimes I think a person’s interpretation of their childhood has more to do with their own personality than any specific incident or circumstance.

    I’m sure I could, like anyone else, tell you some stories from My Life As A Kid that would stand your hair on end. But as long as I think it’s happy – and I’m sure I do, because I’m happy with who I am now and where I am now – then so be it.

    • I have heard that different children in the same family can be treated in radically different ways. For example, one child can be the golden child, and another the scapegoat.

      So maybe you and your sister are both right: she had an unhappy childhood and you had a happy childhood.

      Good luck tonight, by the way – it sounds like a lot of fun.

  • Childhood was good, but I think I am a lot happier now. The degree to which I am happy and the degree to which I can control my own life are pretty closely linked.

  • Man, that’s a pretty difficult question to answer yes-no.

    • I considered having a middle ground, but I figured a lot of people would cluster in there. My grandfather used to say that everybody was 50% good and 50% bad. By not including a middle ground, I’m hoping to nudge people like my grandfather off the fence, to either 51% or 49%.

      Of course there are quite a few people, including myself, who can easily answer this question with a yes or no, because our childhood were nowhere near average.

      • Lucy

        So what is your answer them, Zoom? Yes or no?

        I had to say yes – weird and nowhere near average, but in retrospect more good than bad.

  • I’m with Bob LeDrew: that’s not a yes-no question for me either. I’d do better with a 1-100 scale, where 1 is “sucked” and 100 is “paradise on Earth.” I’d have to rate mine at about a 65 on that scale, overall. Not much help for survey purposes, but far more accurate.

    • Toni, I guess I’d consider 65 a good childhood. Not idyllic, but more good than bad.

      • The 65 is actually an error. I meant to put it on the other side of the midpoint, at 35, but I forgot my own scale! (Sigh.) And that’s with the hindsight of a woman in her late 40s. If you’d asked me when I was in my 20s, you’d have gotten more of a 15.

  • It wasn’t perfect, especially being female in the 50′s and early 60′s, but I had a surprising amount of freedom, more than my own kids could have. Still, I could not wait to grow up.

    • I think the culture of childhood was so different back then. In some ways it was better – the freedom, the time spent playing outside with other kids without adult supervision. In some ways it was worse – children had so few rights and protections.

  • Rachel

    It was awful. My sister would agree.
    The funny thing is, many people I work with think I’ve had a very priviledged childhood.
    And my sister and I have gone in different directions. She has a huge house and surrounds herself with her in-laws, having weekly family dinners. I have a small one-bedroom apartment and can spend a whole weekend not talking to a soul.

    • You can have a materially privileged but otherwise bad childhood. Do you think your introversion and your sister’s extroversion are a result of your childhood experiences, or do you think people are hard-wired to be introverts or extroverts?

      I often wonder who I would be today if I’d had a good childhood.

      • Rachel

        I think you’re on to something with the hard-wiring. I work with the public which is challenging, but I think it keeps me from the hermit inside me.
        I love to read your sister’s(Mudmama) comments throughout your blog. The two of you have very different lives but like my sister and I, you’ve kept the lines of communication open. It helps that my sister and I(and her husband)have similar political views, though mine are a little more extreme. Probably, because I live alone and have to compromise less, haha.
        And yes, I too wonder who I would be today with a better childhood.

  • megabytes

    Well, using your 51% is good theory, I voted that I had a good childhood. Feels wrong to quantify it either way though. I have some really good memories and some really bad ones too. And I know that I spent a lot of my childhood feeling slightly out of touch – thinking that there was something I knew I was missing or didn’t understand.

    But I ascribe to the notion that we can choose how we tell our own stories, and I prefer to focus on the good memories so that makes it a good childhood.

    • Hmmm, that’s interesting. I think that’s what mudmama does too. I think it helps a person become more resilient, if they can do that. I do it with other things (like cancer, for example), but when I think back on my childhood, it feels like a really ugly place.

  • Arden

    I voted yes, but I am definitely borderline. I was an extremely anxious child, and had a lot of crap going on then, but my mum did her best to make me feel loved, safe and happy, which was still the majority of my childhood, so I’ll go with yes. It was the times I wasn’t there that my childhood wasn’t so good.

    • I can see that it would be difficult to answer this question if you were in different situations, with different people, during different parts of your childhood. I’m glad that your mom was able to give you the love and security you needed to tip the balance.

  • Cussot

    I had no consciousness whatever that there was anything wrong with my childhood while I was living it, of course. But I voted “no” with hardly a whiff of hesitation. Mostly I’d say I had no idea how to have fun and still struggle with that.

    • Cussot, that’s very interesting. Why do you think you had no idea how to have fun? Did you have any siblings or friends?

      A friend of mine lives in Kanata and she says some of her neighbours have children that appear to have no fun. They go to school, and after school they go for tutoring, and they’re enrolled in things that are aimed at improving them, and they have no time to play or socialize. It’s all about getting extremely good marks in school.

      • Cussot

        I have a brother who is five years younger and we mostly didn’t get along very well. My parents were melancholy, anxious people who weren’t “joiners” and we moved around a lot. Fun just wasn’t part of our everyday family life and no one seemed to be having any most of the time.

        Perhaps that’s just life in a family of introverts.

        • Maybe. But I’m an introvert, and I have lots of fun. But I can see that melancholy, anxious parents probably create an atmosphere of melancholy and anxiety around them. It sounds like maybe the members of your family were in some ways isolated from one another, despite living together.

  • grace

    Childhood is something I hope eventually to get over.

    • Grace, from what I know of your childhood, I’m not surprised. It’s interesting that there are so many different ways a childhood can be bad, but not that many different was it can be good.

  • As a perennial student/teacher, I would have to say if you defined “good childhood”, it might help. I realize the poll wouldn’t be as clear, but as the comments show, it would be more interesting! I had a great childhood, which isn’t to say it didn’t have its negative moments. My two sisters would probably agree but their great parts would likely be different from mine. Our parents tried to treat us equally so no one was the favourite. It was a huge and important undertaking and they did a great job, given that we three girls are so very different from each other. In fact, they ended up treating us differently, because equal didn’t necessarily mean the same – what worked for one kid wouldn’t work for the other. That’s what I mean about it being a big job to do right. I give them a lot of credit, even if I also whine about a few things I missed out on.

    • I thought about defining it, but decided not to. Far better that each person use their own definition of a good childhood, rather than imposing mine on them. I agree with you about equal not necessarily meaning the same. I realized that when I had step-children. They had very different temperaments which required very different approaches to parenting.

    • I don’t think you can define it for others. Because it tends to deny extremes. Or if you work from the extremes it means those who don’t identify with that, feel silenced. Personally I have a hard time expressing the extemes in a way others can understand. When talking to teen peers “my mother hates my fiends and how I dress” usually translates into being nagged and given boundaries you don’t like…not being blamed for suicide plans, or hit in the head with a frypan, you know? Then on the far edge – at least I wasn’t killed and buried in a shallow grave in the basement.

  • I have great memories and terrible memories. I think the early good memories must have provided some kind of resiliency. I voted bad, but I finding it interesting to see my adult self finding healing in those early memories (gardening with dad and all his homestead projects) and the bright spots from after things went to hell – all my good memories from helping Ruby at the farm)

    • I think you had a good start for the first few years of your childhood. You were well loved and got lots of attention from lots of different people. I still remember your dad carrying you around the garden when you were a baby, him still in his suit and tie, pointing out all the different plants and teaching you the names for them. You both loved that.
      Those first few good years probably had a lasting protective influence on you when the bad years came.