Child ego state attitudes

Attitudes differ according to whether we are operating from our Free or Natural Child or from our Adapted Child. Child ego states can be free of inhibition, spirited, happy- go-lucky, volatile, manipulative, sly, cunning, compliant or defiant, all rolled up into one.

According to TA, ‘good parenting’ is the key to healthy Child ego states (Whitton, 1993) but healthy does not mean free or natural all of the time. We have to learn to self-regulate our behaviour and take our cues from others in order to fit in with our social group. Sometimes ‘good parenting’ is not possible because of our own parents’ Parent ego state.

It may be damaged or incomplete. It is, after all, a product of its own experiences and maybe they did not have their emotional needs met when they were small. Being in our Parent ego state is comfortable as all those pre-recorded messages need little thinking about and little effort to sustain, but we can change those recorded ways of being through reflection and analysis of self and the relationships we have with others.

That was quite a tricky concept to explain and I did labour some of the points but it is important when using this framework to understand yourself and others, and not to attribute blame, as it takes two people to make a relationship. That brings me on nicely to transactions and communications between people.

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