If You Recognize These 15 Signs, Your Upbringing Was Better Than You Realize

If You Recognize These 15 Signs, Your Upbringing Was Better Than You Realize

Nobody’s childhood is perfect, but if most of us pause long enough to revisit our youth, we can spot all the positives that graced our formative years. This creates a heart of gratitude and makes us more appreciative, empathetic, and relatable adults. Here’s how you know that you had it better than many.

1. You always had the essentials.

The basics are blessings. If you always had a roof over your head, clean clothes on your back, and a pantry of food, you were set up for success. Many children around the world don’t have access to the barest necessities — per UNICEF, 333 million children around the world live in extreme poverty — so consider your upbringing as blessed when you climb into your warm bed with a full belly tonight, knowing you experienced the same comforts as a child.

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2. Holidays ignite nostalgia.

If the smell of cinnamon makes you think of Grandma’s kitchen at Christmas or the sight of egg dye reminds you of your favorite egg hunts with your sister, you had holidays worth remembering. Don’t ignore the sweet nostalgia that nudges you to accept the beautiful pieces of your childhood. This could be as simple as sugar cookie sprinkles or hand-held sparklers. Nonetheless, don’t take these small bits of nostalgia for granted.

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3. You reminisce on vacation spots.

My dad was in the US Navy, stationed in Pensacola, Florida. Growing up, my sister and I would tag along with my mom and visit him on base, where there was a beautiful, quiet beach. To this day, that small beach is one of my favorite places. Perhaps there’s an old campground or log cabin that reminds you of your favorite family vacations. Don’t neglect the beauty of these sweet memories, no matter how basic or lavish your vacations were.

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4. You have a full recipe box.

I loathe—loathe—cooking, but it means so much to have a little recipe box full of cooking secrets from my mom and grandmothers. What about you? Did you learn your way around a skillet pan thanks to Mom? Can you grill like a champ because of Dad? If your recipe box is full, whether a physical one nestled on the counter or a mental one always on hand, your upbringing was sweeter than you might think.

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5. You were surrounded by books.

woman leaning against wall reading

Half of my childhood photos are either me being read to or me surrounding myself with mounds of books. If you have favorite stories or dog-eared books from your younger days, understand how incredible that is! Your family valued your education; they wanted you to enjoy reading so you could explore the world and, one day, become whoever you wanted to be. How cool is that?

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6. You imitate your parents’ parenting.

happy family sitting outside on sunny day

Now, no one wants to be a carbon-copy parent. Each of us changes things up here or there. However, if you soothe your child’s boo-boos with the same silly songs or are extra patient in explaining disciplinary consequences as your parents did, perhaps they were doing it right. To honor their healthy parenting, you practice it yourself.

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7. You’ve always understood hard work.

Okay, maybe chores weren’t your favorite – after all, who actually enjoys folding laundry or washing dishes? However, when you grow up with parents who instill a hard work ethic in you, it often follows you into adulthood. You not only understand but embody the hard-working skills that make for a great employee, dependable friend, and reliable life partner. If your parents took the time to show you the value of hard work, thank them!

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8. You were free to be your own person.

Smiling hipster gen z teen girl with pink hair wear hoodie sit on bed, portrait.

It breaks my heart to see so many parents live through their children. Rarely does that create a healthy parent-child relationship. Whether Dad is dragging his son to the ball field to play a sport he hates or Mom won’t let her daughter choose jazz over ballet, it’s hard for the child to have personal interests and establish their unique personality. Children can recognize when parents are being pushy for selfish reasons. On the other hand, though, if your parents let you be your own person, trying out whatever sports or arts you wanted, understand how big of a blessing that is!

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9. You still have open communication with your family.

If you still have group chats with your mom and sister and always send your dad memes during Shark Week, realize this healthy communication was likely founded in your youth. Decades have passed, but you still value staying in touch with your family. In fact, you value it enough that it goes beyond a simple “Hey, have a good day!” It’s personalized, catering to personalities, jokes, and memories.

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10. You’re not afraid to healthily disagree with your family.

If you aren’t afraid to healthily disagree with your family, you were probably taught how to respectfully disagree when you were little. At the least, you were taught self-respect and don’t mind speaking up when you feel that others are stepping on your toes or pushing your well-established boundaries. Either way, this is a sign you developed healthy communication skills for navigating conflict as a kiddo.

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11. You can’t relate to childhood abuse or neglect.

As much as most of us prefer to relate to others, there are some ways we simply can’t. If you don’t know what it’s like to be physically, verbally, or emotionally abused, there’s a certain level of safety and security you were provided as a child that others weren’t. Don’t take this for granted.

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12. There was always someone in the stands.

Whether a parent was always in the bleachers, the theater seat, or walking your art gallery, you always had someone on your team, cheering you on. Often, your parents had to take off work, reprioritize their own needs, and turn their schedules upside down to be there for you, but you and your passions were worth it. This is such a childhood treasure!

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13. You respect your siblings.

If you are close to your siblings into adulthood, don’t count that out. My sister and I are almost six years apart, and we are actually classified as two different generation groups. But that hasn’t stopped us from being best friends. In part, we owe that to our parents and the way they taught us to love and respect each other.

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14. You value your community.

Some of my favorite childhood memories involve being part of my community. Whether my mom took me to the library’s group reading day or my dad took me and my sister to see the city’s fireworks show, we know the ins and outs of the community. Mom and Dad wanted us to be involved and connected with our community, so they instilled this value in us at a young age.

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15. You have something to lose.

When you love someone or something enough, you realize that you have something to lose. As depressing as it may sound, recognize the quiet beauty of your parents as they age. Understand that knowing you will miss them one day means there’s a thriving relationship now. Let your understanding of how valuable they are be the reason you live grateful for them today. They may be more demanding or even frustrating as they get older, The Atlantic notes, but they’re still your parents and they love you.

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Peyton Garland is a boy mama and Tennessee farmer who loves sharing her heart on OCD, postpartum life, and hope in the messy places.