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To what extent can you really blame your parents for your current life challenges, and should you forgive them for their wrongdoings?

Do you feel that your parents and the way in which they raised you are responsible for a good portion of your current-day problems in life? Can't you help but blame them for their wrongdoings, or at least wonder, now and then, what your life would have been like if your parents had done things differently?

You are not alone. Exactly what parental actions have a tendency of carrying over into adult life though — and perhaps more importantly, should we blame them, or move on and forgive?

Things You Really Can 'Blame' Your Parents For

Data from the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation, in which researchers followed low-income children for many years, even into their thirties, revealed that early parenting really does have a lasting effect. Those children whose mothers had a more attentive and gentle parenting style during their first three years of life, the study revealed, were able to attain higher levels of academic success as well as having more successful relationships.

Unsurprisingly, research also shows that the impact of childhood abuse — whether it be verbal, physical, or neglectful — extends well into adulthood. A lack of parental care in childhood not only translates to multisystem health risks, but also to a higher risk of premature death.

Eating habits are set early in life, with obese children also more likely to become obese adults. What's more, children raised on an obesity-causing diet of junk food are at a higher risk of a whole range of health issues, from diabetes to heart disease. As parents largely determine what kind of foods they feed their young kids, it is safe to say that your parents really do exercise a great influence over your diet and health in later life.

Further, parents exercise the greatest degree of influence over their children's future spiritual beliefs, more so even than peers. However, interestingly enough, though children of political animals are indeed more likely to make politics a frequent discussion topic in their lives, research shows that parents who push their political views on their kids too much are more likely to cause them to abandon those beliefs. Research additionally shows that while young kids rather naturally take on their parents' prejudices (yes, we all have them), they do adopt their own through lived experience later down the line.

What about divorce — since you're pretty likely to have already read that children of divorced parents are also more likely to divorce themselves, later in life? One long-term study actually found that it might not be parental divorce that causes people to be more likely to break off their own marriages, but rather witnessing parental conflict. Indeed, children of amicably divorced parents were no more likely to divorce than those of parents who stayed together.

If you had overly controlling parents who invaded your privacy and tried to create you to be their life-long dependents, you will be interested in hearing that controlling parenting has indeed been confirmed to lead to lower rates of happiness and overall wellbeing later in life.

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