If you recognize these 7 signs, you probably had a really happy childhood

One of the most defining parts of our lives (if not the most defining) is childhood. 

It’s the time we form core memories, behaviors, and outlooks that can set that tone for the rest of our lives. 

So if you ever wondered why you act a certain way, look no further than those youthful formative years. 

In this article, I’ll go through some of the signs you likely had quite a joyful upbringing. 

Through these signs, you can gain insight into your past, which can affect present and even future circumstances. 

Let’s dive in! 

1) You find comfort in recollection 

Is there an overarching feeling when you recall childhood memories? Do you get depressed? Numb? Warm and fuzzy? 

I know people who sorrowfully tear up at the very mention of childhood memories. 

I also know people who don’t remember much, who have subconsciously blocked out the past to prevent the resurfacing of some unwanted emotions. 

So, if you get giddy, comforted, or even a sense of safety at the thought of your “wonder years”, then it’s likely you had a happy childhood–or at the very least, one that wasn’t particularly traumatic. 

2) You maintain strong family bonds 

As established, our childhoods often have a direct correlation with present-day relationships–this is something especially relevant when it comes to family

If, say, you grew up with a supportive and encouraging family, you’ll likely enjoy a similarly harmonious bond with them today. 

Maybe growing up, your family valued things like communication, affection, and quality time. These are elements that contribute to a foundation of security, confidence, and belonging. 

But if you were neglected, belittled, or abused in any way as a kid, then this angst will likely persist deep into adulthood, if unaddressed.  

My first cousin, for instance, has little to no relationship with her parents. 

Granted, she didn’t have the most idyllic of childhoods. 

Her parents had her midway through college and hadn’t quite come to terms with the responsibility of, well, parenthood. 

The wounds of feeling neglected or even abandoned still carry on to today. 

While she now has a booming tech career, a healthy social life, and a ton of money in the bank, she still intentionally and coldly ignores her parents, despite their countless pleas at reconciliation. 

So, you see, poor family ties as a child typically linger well into adult years, sometimes even permanently. 

And vice versa: an emotionally nurtured child means an emotionally healthy adult. 

3) You still have childhood friends 

When you’ve had a joyous childhood, you usually maintain ties with a few friends from those years. 

You don’t drop them as one might when attempting to get rid of any reminders of the past. 

Instead, these formative relationships stand the test of time.

I know traumatized people who have abandoned everything from their past, essentially becoming reborn and starting anew.  

New city, new friends, new “family”, the works–almost as if these things never even existed. 

So if you still shoot the shit with childhood friends every now and then (and can maintain healthy adult friendships), wistfully laughing about inside jokes from a bygone era, chances are you had quite a robust and happy childhood. 

4) There was plenty of imagination 

What were your main pastimes as a child? 

If you had activities that involved ample amounts of creativity and imagination, this is a sign you had a stimulating childhood–something that often coincides with happiness. 

Maybe this meant fabricating fantastic worlds with your Barbie or G.I. Joe figures, building cardboard forts–or in my case, constructing spaceships with my parents’ sizeable floor cushions.  

An environment that fosters creativity, unobstructed by things like iPads and domineering parents, is typically a great thing for the impressionable youngster. 

5) You were regularly outdoors

Whether young or old, there’s something holistically enriching about spending time outdoors and nature. 

As the late naturalist and writer John Muir once astutely put it  “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” 

So if the outdoors or nature played a significant role in your childhood years, you’re in good shape. 

Whether this was afternoon strolls in the park, outdoor picnics, building sandcastles on the beach, climbing trees, or simply rummaging through the backyard, having cherished memories outdoors goes a long way–and is often indicative of a vigorous yet wholesome childhood. 

6) Education was encouraged 

Growing up, were you consistently in an environment that promoted learning and gaining knowledge

A common hallmark of a happy childhood is growing up in mentally enriching circumstances. 

In other words, you were actively encouraged to be well-rounded. 

You learned new things through family trips, books, and the arts–not merely through conventional academic means. 

You weren’t babysat by Cartoon Network or Playstation either. 

This is an indication of parents who were present enough to nudge you toward intellectual development. 

My mom, for instance, never used to spoil me or my three other siblings with material things. 

However, she was always willing to justify spending on us if it meant things that would educate us and improve our knowledge of the world. 

This often meant items like books, board games, travel, or the occasional Off-Broadway production. 

In fact, next week she’s taking my sister and me to see Hamilton for the first time.

Thanks, Mom. 

7) You have emotional resilience 

If you feel you have a sturdy foundation as an adult, you can probably thank your upbringing for that. 

Maybe you made mistakes or faced challenges as a kid, instead of being reprimanded or belittled for your shortcomings, you were regularly encouraged to get back up and try again. 

This is the type of support system and conditioning that creates resilient, confident, secure adults–attributes that are far rarer than you might think.  

Final words

If you had a really happy childhood, consider yourself lucky–not everyone can make the same claim.

If, however, you didn’t have the greatest of upbringings, then, while that’s unfortunate, don’t let that feeling define who you are today. 

I know it’s easier said than done, but everyone can change, regardless of age or circumstance. 

While a turbulent childhood can take you a little longer to dig out of, it’s still entirely within reach, with a bit of dedication and focus. 

And once you get where you want to be, once you address those traumas in a healthy manner and break the cycle, there will be no stopping you. 

You’re well on your way. 

Picture of Clifton Kopp

Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Ideapod! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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