Helping you Live a Stress-Free Life

Stop Letting Your Child Rule Your Life

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Do you avoid doing jobs because the thought of it stresses you out? Do you eat too many bars of chocolate when you promised to eat healthily? Are you late for things simply because you didn’t leave on time? Chances are you’re letting your inner child take control of your life…

I know, I know, you start out with really good intentions at the begining of the week. You’re going to eat sensible, healthy foods. And yet by Tuesday you’re on your second take-away.

It sounds like your inner child has taken over and is running the show!

What Happens When You Let Your Inner Child Rule

That inner whining often goes something like this: “it’s not fair, I’m tired, I don’t want to work, I can’t be bothered to go shopping, I need a treat now, I deserve it!” And giving in to it means that you (the adult) are no longer in charge. Let’s face it if you were, you might be able to have a more grown-up conversation with yourself.

Your inner adult might say something like: “I know you feel like you deserve a treat, but if you do eat those crisps or drink that extra glass of wine, your workout at the gym will feel even harder and ultimately the dress you want to look stunning in next weekend will feel tight and uncomfortable. You’re just hungry let’s get something yummy and healthy to eat right now and if you still want crisps after you can have them!”

This mature type of negotiation brings confidence and a sense of self-control. It embraces the basic principles of psychology’s Transactional Analysis, which suggests we have three main programs that run within us: The Parent, The Child and The Adult.

The parent part consists of all the dos and don’ts that come with being a child. The child part incorporates the feelings and emotions that we tend to experience as a child, and the adult is the place where we have choice. It’s also the place where we can set goals (which I’ll be exploring in greater depth in another post).

Your Inner Parent Is Never Happy

So I spent the whole day putting off doing my assignment and it spoilt the whole day. Why? Because the incessant nagging in the back of my mind made me feel bad.

Does this sound familiar to you? That nagging is your inner Parent Part whose job it is to tell you what to do. My inner child had no intention of doing what she was told; the feelings of resistance to sitting down and getting on with it were so strong. I fiddled around in a drawer for 15 minutes; painted my toenails; watched a film; read a magazine; phoned a friend – all with this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach.

My inner child had a field day ignoring the demands of the parent part.

Finally I had enough. A glimpse of my adult part saved the day: I reasoned that I could have a nice bath, relax comfortably for the rest of the evening and finish my book – all with a feel-good factor.

How did I do it? All I had to do was to tell the Parent part to back off and send my Inner Child off to bed and I would get the job done! Forty-five minutes later it was done and I had the rest of the evening to really chill out. Now why couldn’t I have done that sooner? This TA stuff works! The Parent part and Child parts are almost like rogue programs that just run, doing their stuff like an automatom. The Adult part is where we can gain some control, reason and have choice. The trick is remembering that and staying adult!

So next time you feel like your Inner Child has taken over and is whining and out of control and you’re fed up with your Inner Parent making you feel bad about it, just remember that your Adult is in charge. Your Adult can firmly and kindly send your Child to bed and tell your Parent to zip it – and you can get on with doing whatever it is that your Adult wants you to do!

Recommended Reading:

Can’t Get Your Work Done? Here’s How To Hit Those Deadlines - A look at how your Inner Parent and Child can make getting your work done harder than it needs to be – and some tips on how to deal with it.

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