Inner Child States Part 2

 For part 1 of Inner Child click here.

Language nutrition

A pivotal aspect of childhood is language. One study found poor children heard an average of 11 million words by age three. Working class kids heard more than twice as much at 24 million. Yet children of professionals heard a whopping 43 million words, almost four times as much! By school age the poor kids were two years behind in language development, by age eight three and one half years behind. The gap grows because the more words they knew, the more they could figure out on their own.

Low exposure to language was starving those kids development and in fact is called language nutrition. This situation also translated to doing well in many other areas of life, such as finishing high school and going on to college. These kids were four times more likely to graduate college, get higher skilled jobs, and earn higher wages. They were also significantly more healthy overall through-out their lives.  It wasn't mentioned in the study, but we expect it also reduced their chance of divorce, alcoholism, and drug addiction. 

The good news is that some of the poor parents that spoke to, played with, taught, and read to their kids as much as the professionals, and their children were right there at the top of the scale despite poverty. Also if the professionals didn't interact with their children as much (low word count, play, reading, teaching etc.) their language and other areas suffered just like the others. 

Life and love nutrition

What does this mean to you now? That no matter what your upbringing was, you can give yourself the attention, acceptance, affirmation, affection, and appreciation "nutrition" you need, now and for the rest of your life, so that your quality of life improves in all areas just as it did for these kids. So, as we go through the different areas of opportunity try and think of how you can support your inner child to grow, mature, and thrive so that you too can achieve your fullest potential and happiness. 

Coping strategies

What if the home of our youth was not a safe, welcoming, and comforting place? What if it was a place of stress, abandonment, and abuse? Unfortunately for many the world become dark and frightening. It is said we have the choices of fight, flight, freeze or fawn. In brief, the "fighters" act out family dysfunction, frustration, and rage they feel in the home and consequently within themselves.

The "flyers" run from trouble, unable to deal with it with a child's limited resources. The "freezers" run too, but into themselves as they shut down and close off from the confusion and angst they feel. The "fawners" tend to seek love and belonging by people pleasing. None of these youngsters gets the opportunity to be themselves, tell their truth, and feel the care and comfort they really need.

Inherited dysfunction

These troubled kids are usually mistaken as the source of the problem rather than a symptom of the family dysfunction. Jack Kornfield, a prominent psychologist and spiritual sage says he has never seen a youngster with a drug problem that came from a healthy family. The point is that if you feel like you were one of these kids growing up, you have that inner child in you now longing for resolution and rest.

This is vitally important as the unresolved issues of youth tend to poison and infect our thoughts, emotions, and actions through-out our lives unless we find the help and healing that we need. Only then can we move forward with the wisdom and intelligence of an adult coupled with the joy, authenticity, sincerity, spontaneity, creativity, and energy of youth.  

Childhood roles

Many children fall into roles within the family such as scapegoat, sports star, sickly child, or troublemaker. These roles may put us in a box of perception that is hard to maintain and break free from. For example, the star student may become exhausted trying to keep up excellent grades and suffer humiliation and disgrace should they fail to measure up. Life is much too fluid and mysterious to impose defining roles on children (or adults). Rather let them change and grow through various roles as they mature.

Archetypic roles

Another very interesting perspective is to view classic archetypal personas and see how they relate to us in modern times. The king has been replaced by the boss or politician, the jester is now the class clown or comedian, and the warrior is the policeman or soldier. Personality types such as these go deep into our individual and collective psyche, so can have a profound effect on our thinking, feeling, and behavior. For a close up look at this powerful dynamic here is a blog version of "Who We Are"  or a full page version here.                      

We can change and heal

It seems our story was written many years ago, and we will never change. We prefer to believe that through focus and concentration on our upbringing we will gain the understanding and wisdom that leads to transformation. It usually takes years of hard painful work to uncover, clean, treat and heal the wounds of youth, but we are worth it! To see how we got to where we are check out  "Who Wrote Your Script?"

Finding our power

Kids are so amazing. They are naturally creative, enthusiastic, authentic, kind, forgiving, and have many other wonderful attributes. Unfortunately, many children in severely dysfunctional homes had these crushed early on. Some studies indicate even those from good homes lost much of these fine qualities as they grew up in response to educational and cultural pressures to conform. The first step to recovering these gems is awareness, so please review , or as we like to call them - Super Powers.

Conformity over creativity

Unfortunately, the educational system appears designed to minimize these fine qualities as math comes first, then language, humanities, and lastly the arts. Even within the arts music and art have a higher status than drama and dance. It seems the system wants us to live in our heads and become university professors. We were made to think industry and conformity were more important than artistry and creativity. Life is much more dynamic, diverse, and distinct for this limiting mindset, and living mainly in our heads has caused a multitude of problems we are working to alleviate by living through the heart.

A wonderful TED Talk: "Do schools kill creativity?" by Sir Ken Robinson faces this problem brilliantly. In it he says: "Our only hope for the future is to adopt a new concept of human psychology, one in which we start to reconstitute our concept of the richness of human capacity. We have to rethink the fundamental principles on which were educating our children... and by seeing our creative capacities for the richness they are. Our task is to educate their whole being, so they can face this challenging, unknown, but possibly bright future." For a condensed text of the video click here.

Coming home to our True Self

Finding our abandoned, hidden, or otherwise lost inner child can be difficult, yet one of the most, if not the most rewarding aspects of our recovery. The early years leave deep but living roots, wounds, and scars that anchor us in our past. Uncovering, embracing, and understanding them can lead to great wisdom and transformation. Here is how one lost child found his "Homecoming".

Our habitual persona

Observing how we act, react, and respond to life stacks up over the years, particularly in youth, and to a standard set of emotions, feeling, beliefs, and behaviors that make up our personality. This becomes a "set-point" we return to again and again day to day and moment to moment through-out our lives. Observing how this persona manifests in the world can be quite interesting.

Some actors even find that playing so many different roles they come to see their personality as just another role. We too can realize that what we think, feel, say, and do is a role we play, one given us by the authority figures in our lives. Yet people and their roles can, and do change. Perhaps a good way to understand ourselves better is to take a personality test and ponder the results.

“Finding” ourselves

One such test is The Big Five Personality Test. It's accuracy depends on how honest we can be about ourselves, and may be skewed by what we believe versus how we really behave. For a quick look at how the spectrum plays out look at a post of the summary of The Big Five personality Traits (plus one). Knowing our "go to" traits can allow the understanding that leads to transformation.

Inner kids are awesome!

In closing we wish to say how much we love and cherish our inner kids, and hope to impress on others the incredible peace and healing available through our naturally sensitive, eager, and loving inner kids. You may find as we have that life is so much richer and fulfilling when we let our child lead. Good luck and good love!

One last thing

Understanding and utilizing the impact and effect of the inner child is a life changer for many. The books do a great job but we also like to give a taste of how much this means to us personally, so for our founding fathers inner child's story please click here.