GROWING UP AGAIN – RE-PARENTING YOURSELF

I learned a lot from the book GROWING UP AGAIN by Jean Illsley Clarke. She lays out, in an easily understood way, the normal stages of human childhood development. Not only is this important information for learning parenting skills, it is also a road-map for people who need to and want to re-parent themselves because they didn’t get what they needed as children. But the lessons go beyond the cut and dry. From this information, it becomes easier to forgive, to be less judgmental and to embrace an optimistic and hopeful outlook. All good stuff!

  1. How to Better Understand Why People Do What They Do – The book explains what is learned at each childhood developmental stage, what are typical behaviors for the child at each stage, what are parental behaviors that support the learning opportunity of each stage, what are the parental behaviors that do not support that learning, and what are the clues that the adult person needed to re-parent themselves in order to learn missed lessons.
  2. People Are Not Defective – Understanding the developmental stage can be very helpful to a people with low self-esteem.  Often people with low self-esteem are plagued with thoughts like, “There’s something wrong with me.”   But, when you ask them to look over the list of helpful parent behaviors and then ask them if they got those things as child, usually they say they didn’t get these things. Then ask them to look at the unhelpful parent behaviors. If they got these things instead, then they can often now see that not only DIDN’T they get what they needed, they also got things that hurt them. Then, you can tell them… So, the fact that you are “messed up” just shows that you are an excellent student because you learned EXACTLY what adults in your life were teaching. But your teachers weren’t teaching the right lessons. AND… if you were that good of a student before – with the wrong teachers, you can still be a good student but with the right teachers this time. All good. This really opens things up for people because they can stop seeing themselves as some kind of defective human. They can actually see that they are normal because it is normal to get messed up if you didn’t get what all humans are supposed to get! When I volunteered at our local prison, I learned that future crime is often predicated on the unhelpful beliefs within each person. If you believe that you are defective, you will act out that belief. If instead you believe that you missed out on some critical childhood lessons, you can change how you feel about yourself and you can better change how you function in the world!
  3. There Is No Reason To Believe That Anyone Is Stuck With A Character Trait They Don’t Want – The book also gives very specific instructions on using affirmations and other methods to re-parent and heal your inner child. This information inspires action. When we see a way to break a negative family vicious cycle, it’s very encouraging. It’s easy to criticize parents but does that help anyone? It doesn’t. It is more empowering to fix what needs fixing!
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