First Contact with The Child Within

Contacting The Child within us: We were all once children, and still have that child dwelling within us. But most of us are unaware of this.

 

Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: Contacting the child within has to be attempted by not using the parent voice of course we at first do not recognise our parental voice but our child within instantly recognises the voice of its abuser.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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Contacting the child within has to be attempted by not using the parent voice of course we at first do not recognise our parental voice ...


Contacting the child within has to be attempted by not using the parent voice of course we at first do not recognise our parental voice but our child within instantly recognises the voice of its abuser. it help us see that children don't really misbehave. Interestingly enough, the term is almost exclusively applied to children – seldom to adults. We never hear people say:
''My husband misbehaved yesterday."
"One of our guests misbehaved at the party last night."
"I got so angry when my friend misbehaved during lunch."
"My employees have been misbehaving lately.''

Apparently, it's only children who are seen as misbehaving - no one else. Misbehaviour is exclusively parent and teacher language, tied up somehow with how adults have traditionally viewed children. It is also used in almost every book on parenting I've read, and I've read quite a few.

I think adults say a child misbehaves whenever some specific action is judged as contrary to how the adult thinks the child should behave. The verdict of misbehaviour, then, is clearly a value judgment made by the adult - a label placed on some particular behaviour, a negative judgment of what the child is doing. Misbehaviour thus is actually a specific action of the child that is seen by the adult as producing an undesirable consequence for the adult. What makes a child's behaviour misbehaviour (bad behaviour) is the perception that the behaviour is, or might be, bad behaviour for the adult. The "badness'' of the behaviour actually resides in the adult's mind, not the child's; the child in fact is doing what he or she chooses or needs to do to satisfy some need.

Put another way, the adult experiences the badness, not the child. Even more accurately, it is the consequences of the child's behaviour for the adult that are felt to be bad (or potentially bad), not the behaviour itself.

When we grasp this critical distinction, we experience a marked shift in attitude toward  children within. we begin to see all actions of youngsters simply as behaviours, engaged in solely for the purpose of getting needs met. When adults begin to see children as persons like themselves, engaging in various behaviours to satisfy normal human needs, they are much less inclined to evaluate the behaviours as good or bad.

Accepting that children don't really misbehave doesn't mean, however, that adults will always feel accepting of what they do. Nor should they be expected to, for children are bound to do things that adults don't like, things that interfere with their own "pursuit of happiness.'' But even then, the child is not a misbehaving or bad child, not trying to do something to the adult, but rather is only trying to do something for himself.

Only when we make this important shift - changing the locus of the problem from the child to the adult - can they begin to appreciate the logic of non-power alternatives for dealing with behaviours they don't accept.

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