The inner child is an important part of every person. We learned about it thanks to the theory of transactional analysis by Eric Berne. The inner child has very important functions. It is responsible for emotions, inspiration, and desires. If you find that you are not able to determine what you want, or have difficulties with positive emotions, then you can guess that the connection with your inner child is broken.
The main misconception about the inner child is that it needs to “grow up”. Absolutely not!!! The inner child should always remain a child. Because if it becomes an adult, we will lose the childlike spontaneity and the ability to experience a whole range of emotions. We have an inner adult to guide our life and adult decisions.
Therefore, if you have difficulties in such areas as choices, independence, self-confidence, decision-making, stability, you should start strengthening your inner adult.
The second popular myth is that the inner child must be suppressed so that he does not get in the way. Of course, you can’t do that either. It’s like taking one of your hands and hiding it somewhere far away so that it doesn’t bother you. The psyche is like the body: we have different important parts, and they must be respected.
Another extreme is fussing over your inner child as if it is something special. “My inner child is so unpredictable and traumatize, therefore I can do whatever I want and throw tantrums – my baby demands it.” This approach is not helpful for developing relationships and building a happy life. It indicates that the inner child controls the person. This is not good for adult life. If your inner child is traumatized, you need to work on the trauma, you need to console and support the inner child. But you should not allow him to bounce on other people’s heads.
What is good for the inner child?
First, pay attention to him. Ask him what he wants. Give him presents. Take to interesting places. Spoil him. Give him different emotions, try various childlike activities. It is good to remember what you wanted very much in childhood but couldn’t get and try to do it right now.
If you didn’t have enough dolls – you can go and buy yourself a doll or you can just go window shopping at a toy store. If you wanted to sing professionally – you can take singing lessons or signup for an acting class. If you really wanted to ride rollercoasters – that means you need to do it now, as much as you want. If you didn’t have enough ice-cream – you need to get your fill.
If your inner child is violent or aggressive, then your task is to learn how to calm him down. Find words that will support you in difficult times. For example, “I’ll figure it out”, “everything is all right”, “you are protected”, “we will figure all out and handle everything.”
If your inner child is easily frightened and you live in a state of constant shyness, your task is to support him, encourage him, figure out what exactly he is afraid of, and remind him that the adult part is here and will always defend him.
To summarize, your inner child will always remain a child, and this is good, this is how it should be. Your task is to become his main ally. You need to learn how to control him and give frolic where it doesn’t harm adult life.