We all know that feeling when, without thinking, we shout something at a loved one that sounds oddly familiar, only to realize, “Oh god, I’m my mom!” Well, it turns out, you aren’t far wrong. A new Harley Street study reveals that both boys and girls begin adopting the personality traits of their parents at around the age of thirty – women and their mothers in particular. According to the study, imitational behavior includes “adopting the same sayings, participating in the same hobbies and even watching the same television shows as their moms.”
Have a think as to whether this has happened to you.
Read the following scenario – I imagine it’s a familiar one.
Let’s say you’re doing something around the house…
Anything, I don’t know, it doesn’t matter, but you’re busy doing some sort of housework.
But something goes wrong…
You’re reaching up to grab something when, suddenly, you stub your toe.
Without thinking, you call out in pain.
And an odd phrase you never use crosses the threshold of your lips.
And a strange sense of deja vu sweeps over you…
You don’t know where or how, but you know you’ve heard that phrase before.
You mull it over for a while.
You just can’t remember where you picked it up from…
When, suddenly, you remember.
It’s a tragic realization intertwined with a sense of deterministic, existential dread when you realize…
Oh my god! I’m my mom!
That phrase that you just shouted is the exact phrase that your mom would use in that same situation. You even used the same intonation.
After trying so hard to form your own independent identity, you’re gradually morphing into your parent!
Remember this moment from Friends?
We know you’ve been there…
It’s actually really common.
In fact, it’s both psychologically and medically likely that everyone will experience this at some point in their life.
We know this thanks to a new study.
A Harley Street Surgeon called Dr Julian De Silva studied a sample of two-thousand men and women…
The study looked at behavioral correlations between men and women and their respective parents.
Here’s what he discovered…
Apparently, there’s a watershed age.
Yes, at the ripe age of thirty-three (on average), women, seemingly begin morphing into their moms.
You start picking little things up.
These “things” include tastes, habits, and attitudes – many of these you may have never known you had the capacity to have!
So, why does this happen in our thirties?
The study doesn’t tell us exactly why the change happens when we reach the age of thirty, so far it’s unclear. We’re looking forward to finding that out, though!
It may have something to do with motherhood.
Apparently, the correlation is far stronger in women who’ve recently had their first child, the average age for which is 30.05 years old.
It’s a large sample size, that’s for sure.
Two-thousand people is a lot of people, and that’s exactly how many people were questioned as a part of Dr De Silva’s study.
Over half of the women that took part in the survey said that they found themselves acting more like their mothers when they hit their early thirties.
This often comes after a period of rebellion.
The correlation often runs the other way during our twenties. This is when we tend to push against our parent’s personality traits and interests to establish our own sense of identity.
So what kind of behaviors can we look forward to adopting?
‘This behaviour include[s] adopting the same sayings, participating in the same hobbies and even watching the same television shows as their mums.’
I really hope I don’t start watching the same TV shows as my mom…
I’m sorry mom. But your taste in TV is distinctly boring.
And it’s not just women!
No, it’s men too. But the study found more subtle differences in the men’s results.
For men, though, it tends to start slightly later.
Men are usually around thirty-four when these behavioral traits start to become evident.
Why is this?
It’s hard to say. It could be because fatherhood is slightly less of a visceral experience than motherhood, so generational empathy is delayed slightly.
There are also differences in the kinds of behavior displayed.
Men actually mimic their fathers slightly differently to how women tend to mimic their mothers. Although this is by no means ubiquitous.
It tends to be more on the political side.
According to the study, men often adopt aspects of their father’s political views when they reach their thirties, although I’m sure we all know exceptions to this rule.
And, of course, interest in politics is not a male-specific trait, it just tends to be one of the ways that men “become” their fathers.
There’s a physical aspect to the study, too!
Many participants reported that they also started to look more their parents around the same age!
But it’s something to be celebrated!
De Silva wants to stress that the findings ware positive: “We all turn into our parents at some point in our lives – and that is something to be celebrated.“
But he is understanding as to why people are seeing it as a bad thing.
“It is an inevitable part of ageing but a process lots of people want to put off for as long as possible.”
This led him to a troubling conclusion…
“It is one of the reasons why the average age of first-time cosmetic surgery is coming down for both the sexes too.”
For most of us, turning into our parents isn’t that bad.
There’s nothing wrong with becoming like your mom or your dad, and for many, it’s somewhat inevitable.