Marriage Advice

The “Child” Within Us

This is the second of three articles on the discussion on the Parent-Child-Adult within us. The discussion about the “Child” part of our personality is much more fun. The Child is that automatic, built-in emotional core of who we are. It is not learned because you will find a newly born infant crying his eyes out like his heart is broken even in the delivery room of the hospital where he was born! That child is protesting the cold temperature of the room, the harsh treatment of the doctors and nurses, the abuse of being scrubbed and cleaned as well as being humiliated by being treated as a separate object for the first time in his life! That infant is 100% living in the Child!

Those emotions come built within us

There is nothing wrong or immoral about our emotions. We want to feel good. We don’t want to be in pain or disappointed. We don’t want people telling us what is “good for us” and then making us do things we don’t want to do! And we surely don’t want someone telling us, “This is going to hurt me more than it will you” when we KNOW that what is coming will hurt us, exclusively.

We NEED a healthy Child within us

The Child is the fun part of each and every one of us. When we go out on a date with our spouse, we want to take the Child in our spouse along with us! It is not nearly as much fun if we happen to get the Parent part instead. The Child is laughter and giggles that can’t be stopped. It is tears and anger. It is “letting it all hang out” fun times. It is experimenting with how far we can push the limits. It is feeling the thrill of discovery as well as the agony of being alone. It is the joy of playing a joke on a friend just as much as it is the dread of waiting to find out if we’ve been “caught in the act”.

Evidence of the Child within us show up in our lifestyles

Individuals who have a dominate Child in their personalities are usually the life of the party in our social gatherings. They tend to be persons with the loudest laughs and the strongest handshakes. They usually are highly competitive and eager to show what they can do. We would call them “outgoing” or even “show offs”. They are people who feel very comfortable in professions like sports or entertainment. They make good sales persons and they can be our most creative people. These “Child Dominate” people will start new businesses, discover new treatments and make lifesaving inventions. They are the pastors who spend most of their time preaching about God’s forgiveness and patience toward us.

The Child within us does not have the capacity to truly love

The Child and the Parent share a common problem. They are basically “me-centered” parts of our personality. The Parent wants to control the Child. The Child wants to rebel from the Parent’s authority and the limitations. Those tensions within us blind us to the needs of the other people in our lives. Anyone who has had to live with a spouse where either the Parent or the Child was allowed to be in total control will tell you that life is difficult even on our best days. Why? Love, which makes living worthwhile and keeps marriages strong, requires a willingness to “let go”. Letting go means learning what someone else needs and making those needs more important than your own. The Parent rejects this immediately and the Child just throws a fit!

How do we deal with this impossible problem? Thankfully, God created a third part of our personalities. It is called “The Adult”.  We will talk about that next.

Photo credit: Majorvols licensed under Creative Commons

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