Every child grows up once. This is an unmistakable fact. The other question, however, is whether the grown-up child will actually become an Adult in the coming years of their life, or if they will remain in the so-called Child state. This is a much more delicate topic, and many adults in this situation often don’t even realize that it applies to them. They don’t know that even though they are grown-ups, they are not Adults, but still Children.
I often encounter with this situation as a coach (as well) and just by looking around in my everyday life. But why does it happen that grown-ups, regardless of being in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, or any other age, still live their life as a Child?
The power of family upbringing and patterns is already known to many. For example, if someone grows up with controlling parents, who will not allow them in their teenage years to find their own voice, their own individuality, they will most likely remain in the Child state. And they don’t even notice it.
If the parent constantly makes a decision for their child, speaks or expresses opinions on behalf of the child, if the parent does not let them make mistakes or walk their own path, then this child will always remain a Child.
And we all know well which is the road that is paved with good intentions, even if “I just want good for you”. This sentence may also be familiar to many.
And how can it be noticed if someone is still a Child, even though he or she is already a grown-up?
Among other things, I list here when someone cannot spend their time usefully on their own, but there must always be someone around them. Who either entertains them or not, but the point is, they are not alone. Just like the young children don’t like to be alone for long – which is a natural thing. But if an adult lives his or her life like this, it can make their life miserable in the long run.
Another thing I can also see is that these adults did not learn to make their own decisions as children and as teenagers. Because of this, it is a huge burden for them to decide on the simplest things. In such cases, they can be very uncertain what they should decide, and even if they make a decision, they still question for a long time afterwards whether they have actually made the right one. But they never get to the point of taking the 100% responsibility of their choices, especially if these later turn out to be not the best ones of their lives.
And one of the extremities of this situation is when the adult is unable to make a decision at all and always consults it with his or her parents or with the people around them.
We could even think how good it is for someone as an adult to have such a good relationship with their parents. But unfortunately, it is not the reality here. The reality is that the grown-up Child continues to hide under his parents’ wings when it would come to his or her own life. Mom and Dad will tell me, they know better anyway – even though I’m 50 years old. This situation is already crying out for help.
Closely related to this, is when the Child does not take the responsibility for his or her own life. By this I also mean the earlier mentioned decision-making and taking responsibility for the decision. But what also falls into this category is when the grown-up Child does not care about his- or herself. They don’t pay attention to their health, they don’t care about their own needs, maybe because they don’t even know them. After all, Mom and Dad always told them how things should be, what was good for the Child, so unfortunately, they have no connection to themselves. These grown-up Children don’t know how to work in general or work hard for things. Or vice versa, they are constantly working and they have no idea how to relax. Depending on the family pattern.
Anyways, the most important is that they do not go on their own way, but on that of the parents. While doing this, they always blame others for the misfortunes and troubles they have suffered.
The mistake always comes from outside towards them, they are only the victims, they can’t do anything against it. But who cannot do anything against it? The child. And the grown-up Child. When someone is a real Adult, he or she recognizes their own faults in the given situations, admits them and tries to do something against them, to learn from them. They help their own selves. The Children, on the other hand, spread their arms that they are innocent and waiting for the salvation from the outside. The Children wait for being rescued. Because they need to be saved – they think. However, they never learn from these, they don’t internalise the solutions, but only keep on expecting it from the people around them over and over again.
What is also the pattern of the grown-up Child is the excessive entanglement with the family. It can be like talking on the phone every day, or when the grown-up Child rushes home to their parents every weekend. I also put into this category when – in case of a personal crisis – a grown-up is unable to cope alone with it and immediately expects comfort from his or her parents. In this case one might think again that why is it a problem if someone has a close relationship with their parents? The close relationship is not a problem. The problem is that in such cases we cannot talk about separate and individual lives, personal spaces, independence. Unfortunately, this is an addictive relationship. The parent makes the Child depending on them, and the Child wants to be dependent on the parent even if he or she is already a grown-up. All this happens subconsciously, of course. Feri Pál (a great Hungarian mental hygiene professional) said in one of his presentations for the addictive situations that they are a state of balance. Even though it is unhealthy, it is a balance.
However, even if it is a balanced situation, this doesn’t really serve the greater good of the people involved in this psychological game. In the long run, only the balance of the psychological game that has been played for many years remains. Thus, the parent does not have to deal with his/her own problems, because they can deal with the Child’s problems, focusing the energies there. And the Child also doesn’t have to deal with his/her own life, they don’t have to take control because their parents do it instead. Fantastic balance, isn’t it?
The only problem is, unfortunately, that this balance is based on injuries. These injuries need to be solved and then it becomes clear what the grown-up Child actually needs or would need in his or her own life. Only then can they truly begin to walk their own path, truly enjoy life and only then can they find their own happiness.
They have to take the responsibility for their own well-being. At his point will the grown-up Child become a real Adult.