It’s important in the first lesson to give you a brief explanation of what the child and adult is. This is a quick reference tool you can refer to anytime throughout the course.
What is Adult and Child work?
You are the sum of everything you’ve ever been. Because of this, you’re blended together into one energetic being called You. When we do this work, we dissect the different parts of who we are, explore them, define them, introduce them to each other, and define each of their roles in our lives.
Why is this important?
To make you fully aware of all the different parts of who you are. When you’re aware of who you are, you become whole, healthy in your mind body and spirit, therefore becoming empowered and happy. This work easily gets to the root of the issues you carry including fear, separation, jealousy, anxiety, addiction, or loss to name a few. By doing this work, we can dig down and explore the “who, what, where, and when” that first hurt us. By acknowledging the hurt, we’re healing the wound.
Who does this happen too?
It happens to everyone. No adult, regardless of how awful they are, decides to have children only to hurt them and make their lives miserable. If you’re a parent, you know that you’re doing the best that you can do. As we have all heard, kids don’t come with an instruction manual. We think we know how to raise perfect healthy, well-balanced kids. We intend to do all the right things, but often end up parenting from our inner child, as our parents, and their parents, and their parents did. Just as you are doing your best, your parents also did the best they could do. That doesn’t make whatever they did right, or okay, but it was the best they could do at that time.
How did the separation occur?
Each one of us has experienced this separation in our lifetimes. For some, it’s more extreme than for others, depending on if there was trauma or abuse associated with the wound. It starts within our family. Inside of us all are the wounds our “Little Me” still carries around. That Little Me developed coping mechanisms that were good for you at the time, but most likely no longer serve you as an adult. We often forget about those as they become a part of who we are. It’s important, now that we’re adults, that we learn new coping skills and use appropriate coping tools.
When did the separation occur?
It happens for everyone at different times. From my experiences in working with the inner child, the most common age I have seen the start of separation is between 3 and 4 years old. For others, it may have been when trauma or abuse first happened. For others still, it might be 6 or 7 years old. The age is not as important as acknowledging that at first we felt separated, scared, lonely, isolated, and not validated in the world we knew of as safe.
How come I don’t know it occurred?
To begin with, you were little. Plus, we know that we don’t have a conscious memory of everything that has ever happened to us, yet everything is stored in our unconscious memory, which is where the inner child lives. That is the part we are going to connect with.
How do I do this?
By paying attention to yourself, being in the moment, and practicing awareness. Be aware of how you’re reacting. Ask yourself honest questions like, “Where is this coming from?” “Is this mine?” And “Why do I feel this way?”
How hard is it to reconnect my child and my adult so that they work together?
It’s not that hard. It’s learning what questions to ask and when to ask them. It’s also about staying in the moment, understanding triggers, setting boundaries, and accepting and forgiving old behaviors.
Who is the adult?
The adult is the part of you that is responsible, grounded, and clear. Your adult takes responsibility, steps up to the plate, and knows no fear. It’s the part of you that needs to reassure and work with your child.
Who is the child?
The child part of you is the innocent, joyful, creative, and wonderful part of your being that brings laughter and joy to yourself and others. That part of you is unconditional and loving. It’s also the part of you that gets fearful, can feel unsafe, and needs validation.
How are the adult and child different?
One is more grounded, less reactive, self-assured, responsible, connected, strong, brave, and mature in their dealings. The other is emotional, reactive, driven more by ego, knows fear, has a need to be seen, does not always feel safe, feels flight or fight, wants to be liked, is a pleaser and feels they’re not being heard or seen, and thrives for validation.
How should my child feel?
Joyous, free, more playful, fun, creative, and unconditional.
What does my adult do to help my child feel better?
Listen, pay attention, hold space, play with them, validate them, make them feel safe, encourage child activities, and do not expect them to do the work of an adult.
How will this affect my personal life?
It will allow for more intimate connections. It will help you to not react out of emotion, giving you more clarity and less drama in your relationships. It will help you create better boundaries and will allow you stop being a pleaser. It will help you get to know yourself in ways you never knew about, resulting in self-love and healing.
How will this affect my professional life?
By helping you feel more confident in your career. With more confidence you will make better work decisions, won’t allow coworkers to get “under your skin,” choose your battles, clearly state your positions, communicate more clearly, and connect deeper with others for more.
How does my adult show they’re not connected?
When you feel lonely, angry, depressed, anxious, resentful, passive aggressive, react from ego not love, disconnected, irritated, and confused, your adult is feeling disconnected.
How does my child show feelings of not being connected?
You will feel scared, lonely, anxious, sad, unsure, not safe, unprotected, not playful, not creative, too focused, disappointed, and stressed.
How does my life suffer when I am not aware of my child?
You may not be as productive and loving as you know you can be. You most likely will have difficult relationships with family members or issues with your coworkers. You may have a hard time making and keeping friends. You may find it hard to hold on, move forward, and be forgiving, and you may hold on to resentments.
How can my adult help my child to feel loved so I feel happy?
Talk to them, listen to them, see them, validate their feelings, give them hugs, kisses, nurturing, companionship, friendship, don’t make them do the work of your adult because your adult is not being aware and present. Help them understand it’s not their fault. Teach them new coping skills and ways to communicate, and help them understand their role and your role.
Course Homework Materials:
As with all the homework you will be given throughout the course, please understand that there is no right or wrong way of doing things. What you put in is what you will get out of it. Open your ears, open your mind, and explore the infinite parts of who you are.
Part One of your first homework assignment to is create a journal. To start this course, we’re going to create a book OF you and FOR you. It’s going to be called the “Bridge Book.” You can use a spiral notebook, composition book, note cards, poster boards, whatever it is you feel comfortable using. Allow yourself to go wherever you would like with this. You don’t have to be an artist. This isn’t being judged. There’s no right or wrong. This is for you. For the rest of the course, you will be using this book for all of your homework assignments.
Get your art supplies out. Grab some colored pencils, glue stick, markers, crayons, stickers, or whatever fun things you might need to design the cover of your book. If you don’t want to draw, cut pictures out of magazines and glue those on the cover. The purpose is to have fun, get creative, explore different things that you like, and have fun.
This book will become your own personalized connection, or “Bridge Book,” to yourself. Your only homework for this assignment is to create the cover of your book however you would like. This is your personal and private book that will help you create the life you always that is wanted free from other people’s opinions, judgments, and conditions. Create and design this with your inner child. Talk together about the joy you’ll both have in writing this book of you.
Think about all the ways in which your child and your adult can become familiar with each other. Begin to look at yourself in a different way. If you feel guided, express your thoughts about this in your journal. There is nothing more for you to do. Just be with this information.
Lesson 1 Homework:
Based on what you have learned in this lesson, here are some questions to get you thinking about your inner child and adult. Write your answers in the spaces provided. This gets you thinking of how your adult and child operate in the world.
- How can this help me better connect with other people?
- How can it strengthen my relationships with others?
- How do I use this relationship to become more powerful?
- How do I use it to set boundaries?
- How can I be more forgiving of others with this information?
- Do I have triggers?
- How well do I know myself?
- How am I going to unite them?
- Where does this all stem from for me?
- How much am I willing to look at?
- Why does my child need healing?
- Why did my adult forget about my child?
- How does my child feel that he/she was forgotten about?
- What part of me is hurt?
- Who am I missing in my life right now?
- What was the best time of my life?
- What makes me sad?
- Why is my child sad?
- What makes my child happy?
- Why is my child angry?
- Does this happen to everyone?
- I wonder if all the other people in my life knew about this, how would they be different? Did anyone do this on purpose or without realizing it?
- I guess I am not the only one?
- Am I mad at myself for not knowing this happened? How do I feel about myself right now?
- Why is this coming up now?