People who lacked discipline and structure growing up often display these 9 behaviors as adults

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There’s a noticeable correlation between the discipline and structure we experience in our youth and how we behave as adults.

Growing up without these elements can lead to a variety of behaviors in adulthood, some more obvious than others.

In my observations, I’ve pinpointed nine key behaviors that seem to be common amongst those who lacked discipline and structure in their formative years.

Brace yourselves, because what follows might just shed new light on your own behaviors or those of someone you know.

Let’s dive in. 

1) Resistance to rules and structure

Let’s kick off with one of the most evident behaviors – a deep-seated aversion to rules and structure.

This isn’t surprising, considering their formative years lacked these very elements.

Imagine growing up in an environment where discipline and structure were absent. As an adult, the mere idea of stringent rules can be daunting.

It’s akin to being thrown into a swimming pool without knowing how to swim. 

They might resist organized routines, preferring instead to live in the moment. Deadlines, schedules, and plans can cause them immense stress.

Understanding this behavior is crucial. It’s not a deliberate act of rebellion but rather a struggle to adapt to what feels alien.

Patience and gentle guidance can help them learn to navigate through structured environments.

Remember, everyone is a product of their past but they also have the potential to shape their future.

2) Difficulty with time management

Let me share a personal example on this one. I had a friend, let’s call him John, who grew up in a very lax household with little to no structure.

As adults, John and I ended up working at the same company.

One thing that stood out was his constant struggle with time management.

Meetings would start, and John would either be late or miss them entirely. Deadlines were more like suggestions to him, often ignored until the last minute.

At first, it was easy to label John as careless or irresponsible. But knowing his background gave me insights into his struggle.

For John, the concept of adhering strictly to time was foreign. He was used to a life where things happened naturally without the constraint of a clock.

It’s important to remember that time management, like any skill, can be learned.

But it takes understanding, patience and consistent practice, especially for those who lacked discipline and structure growing up.

3) Impulsivity

Impulsivity is another behavior often displayed by adults who lacked discipline and structure during their childhood.

This can manifest in multiple ways – from impulsive spending to making hasty decisions without considering the repercussions.

Interestingly, a study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology found a strong correlation between high levels of impulsivity in childhood and difficulties with self-control in adulthood.

The study indicates that without early intervention, these children may grow into adults who act without thinking, often leading to negative consequences.

4) Difficulty maintaining relationships

The absence of boundaries and rules during childhood can translate into a lack of understanding about respecting others’ boundaries as an adult.

This can lead to friction in relationships, as they may unintentionally overstep or fail to comprehend when their actions cause discomfort.

Furthermore, they might struggle to build trust and understanding, essential components of any relationship.

This could be due to their unpredictable behavior, which might make others wary.

5) Struggling with self-discipline

Self-discipline can be a tough nut to crack, especially for those who didn’t experience much discipline during their early years.

They might find it challenging to stick to a routine, meet deadlines, or keep their promises.

This struggle can spill over into various aspects of their life, from work to personal goals and even maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

However, self-discipline isn’t an inherent trait but a skill that can be developed over time.

It starts with setting small, achievable goals and working towards them consistently. Over time, this practice can help build a habit of self-discipline.

6) High levels of stress and anxiety

Growing up without discipline and structure can often generate high levels of stress and anxiety in adulthood.

This isn’t just a theory, it’s a reality I’ve seen unfold in the lives of many.

The world is full of rules, structures, and deadlines. For those who didn’t grow up with these constraints, navigating this world can feel overwhelming, like trying to decipher a foreign language.

This constant state of confusion and uncertainty can lead to chronic stress and anxiety.

7) Constant search for validation

I’ve often noticed a recurring pattern in those who lacked structure growing up – a constant need for validation.

I too have grappled with this, always seeking approval from others, constantly questioning my worth based on their feedback.

This behavior often stems from a lack of self-confidence, possibly due to an unstructured childhood where rules and boundaries were unclear or nonexistent.

Without clear guidelines or feedback, it becomes difficult to gauge one’s performance or worth, leading to an adulthood spent seeking validation from external sources.

The journey towards self-validation isn’t easy, but it’s incredibly liberating.

It involves recognizing your worth independent of external opinions and embracing your strengths and weaknesses.

It’s a path I’ve walked, and while it’s challenging, the destination is certainly worth the journey.

8) Difficulty setting and achieving goals

Without discipline and structure, setting and achieving goals can seem like a Herculean task.

The process of planning, organizing, and seeing things through to the end requires a certain level of discipline that might be alien to them.

They may have grand ambitions but struggle to break them down into manageable tasks or stick to a plan.

This can result in a cycle of setting goals, failing to meet them, and then feeling disheartened.

9) Strong resilience

Despite the challenges they face, adults who lacked discipline and structure in their childhood often display remarkable resilience.

This is the ability to bounce back from setbacks, adapt to change, and keep going in the face of adversity.

Life without early structure and discipline might be tough, but it can also instill a unique kind of strength.

They’ve navigated through the chaos, learned to survive without clear guidelines, and have often had to make their own rules.

This resilience is a testament to their strength and adaptability.

It’s a trait that can serve them well in various aspects of life if harnessed correctly.

So while they might struggle with certain behaviors, never underestimate their ability to persevere and overcome.

Final thoughts: It’s about understanding and growth

It’s important to remember that these behaviors are not character flaws but rather repercussions of their environment.

They are not rooted in a person’s DNA but are learned behaviors influenced by their upbringing.

The renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow once said, “In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety.”

These individuals have the power to change their behaviors and step forward into growth.

Understanding these behaviors is the first step. The next is to nurture growth, cultivate healthier habits, and learn new skills.

It might be challenging, but with patience, support, and perseverance, change is entirely possible.

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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