Perhaps the single most common question I get from people who are using the Lefkoe Belief Process to eliminate beliefs is: “Why do you say that all of our self-esteem beliefs were formed in early interactions with our parents?  I had great parents.  My beliefs about myself weren’t formed until later in life.”

I wrote a post last year explaining why parents are almost always the source of our self-esteem beliefs.  But there are additional reasons why people might think their parents’ behavior has nothing to do with their beliefs that I didn’t cover in that post.

To begin with, the beliefs you form in childhood as a result of interactions with your parents are not always the result of “bad” or abusive behavior.  Negative self-esteem beliefs can be formed just as easily when parents withdraw from their children as when they yell at or punish their children.  And withdrawing is not as obviously “bad” as punishment.

Other parental behavior that causes negative self-esteem beliefs is anything that results in you feeling guilty—because you think you’ve treated your parents badly.  What type of person must you be to treat your parents badly? …  I’m not good enough. I’m bad.  I’m not deserving.

Imagine that you don’t do what your parents want you to do and their response makes you feel guilty, because they do so many wonderful things for you and you won’t do what they want you to do for them.  If you then get yelled at, spanked, or punished, you might well experience your parents’ behavior as appropriate—not as “negative behavior.”

I remember one client who told me early on that his parents were wonderful people who never did anything that could have led to negative beliefs.  Shortly afterwards he mentioned that he was spanked on a regular basis.  When I said that the spanking might well have been the source of several of his beliefs, he protested and replied: “But I was bad.  I deserved to be spanked. My parents didn’t do anything wrong.”

In cultures where parents aren’t around a lot, where fathers have little to do with child rearing, where physical punishment is common, and where comparisons with others and negative criticism are the norm, you might well think that your childhood was “normal,” and could not possibly be the source of negative beliefs.

Although your childhood might have been “typical,” it certainly was not “normal.”

To learn several other reasons why 99% of our self-esteem beliefs are formed in childhood as a result of interactions with our parents, see my earlier blog post if you haven’t already read it.  And if you are a parent, read it again to learn what not to do to keep your children from forming the negative beliefs you probably formed in your childhood.

I’d love to hear from you with your thoughts about the source of your beliefs. Please write your comments below.

For information about Shelly Lefkoe’s excellent course on parenting, which is based upon her 20 years of experience as a Certified Lefkoe Method Facilitator, and that helps parents raise children with a minimum of negative limiting beliefs, please go to:

If you haven’t yet eliminated at least one of your limiting self-esteem beliefs using the Lefkoe Belief Process, go to htp:// where you can eliminate one negative belief free.

For information about eliminating 23 of the most common limiting beliefs and conditionings, which cause eight of the most common problems in our lives, please check out:

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Copyright © 2011 Morty Lefkoe