Do you use this Positive Parenting Strategy? Do you know the key to positive connection with your child can be found in the Child Ego State? Use this positive parenting tip to minimize power struggles and bring more meaningful connection to your parent-child relationship. Connect with your kids using the Child Ego State mindset and less Adult Ego and Parent Ego State of Personality.
Positive Parenting: Connecting through Child Ego State
I took a walk yesterday with my three-year-old.
It was the longest three-block walk I’ve ever been on in my life.
She jumped on her scooter and we set out for our loop, however, instead of the usual 20-minute stroll, it took over an hour to make it back home.
1 hour and 3 minutes to be exact.
You see, three whole minutes into our walk, she abandoned her scooter and set off on her own adventure.
She found puddles to jump in, stomped in every pile of snow she found and exclaimed “look at my footprints” like it was the first time she was seeing them.
She picked up pine cones and rocks… so many rocks.
She pointed out squirrels scurrying up trees and across power lines.
She balanced on yard borders and rocks, and laughed when she crushed ice with her boots.
She took a five-minute break on a neighbor’s steps to stare up a balloon caught in the tree.
She discovered her shadow for the first time.
She sang to herself and laughed at her own nonsensical jokes.
And then she looked over her shoulder and whispered, “Mommy, you’re my best friend.”
When we first started the walk, I was annoyed she was taking so long. I had a list running through my head of all the things I needed to get back home to do. Unfinished work I pushed to the last minute, laundry still sitting in the dryer, sheets which needed washed, bills I had to get in the mail before the mailman came, the lunch we were now missing and a nap she was inevitably going to be late for.
Truthfully, a hamster could have walked faster than us.
But I held my tongue.
I didn’t try to hurry her up or tell her to stop playing and get going.
You see, Taylor is my slow-moving child. She takes a million seconds to complete every task and I’ve been rushing her a lot lately. Hurrying her to get her jacket on, to pull on her boots, use the bathroom before we go, finish her snack, and move a little faster.
But, the words of Amy McCready, the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions were also on my mind during our walk.
She says there are three Ego States of Personality we all move in and out of during the day: The Child Ego State, Parent Ego State and Adult Ego State.
These different ego states of personality are mindsets we have for communicating with one another, and we go in and out of each mindset throughout the day. These states of personality hold the key to how connected or disconnected our relationships are with our children.
Learn the positive parenting strategy to staying in the connected zone.
CHILD EGO STATE
The Child Ego state is the joyful, playful, highly emotional state. It’s where children spend most of their time. This highly emotional state is where childlike tendencies factor in – with play, managing and learning emotions, tantrums, communication and finding pleasure in playtime.
Adults enter the chid ego state as well – playing with children, having fun, but also road rage, adult tantrums and outbursts are all part of the high-emotions in this mindset.
PARENT EGO STATE
The Parent Ego State is all about giving directions, reminding, ordering, and correcting. As a parent, you are correcting and directing your children through the responsibilities of the day. This is the voice of authority and you can find yourself in the parent state of authority with your children, partner, colleagues and with coaching and leadership roles.
- Reminding your child not to forget their backpack and lunch for school
- Asking your child to finish dinner
- Telling your child to put their shoes away and hang up their coat
- Directing your child to do their homework
- Reminding you child to pick up their toys and mess
No one wants to be bossed around all day, and unless you’e itchy for power struggles from your child, it’s important to be aware of how much time you spend in the Parent Ego state.
ADULT EGO STATE
The Adult Ego state is non-emotional, and involves listening, receiving and processing information. What you are doing right now as you read this article, is using the Adult Ego State. Kids can be in this state too, most often at school, learning environment or during an activity.
This explains why your child is so well-behaved at school and when they come home, let loose and have a surge of energy. It’s because while they’re at school, they’re focused and in the adult ego state.
Communicating with children in the adult ego state is more respectful than from the adult ego state, because they are not being bossed around. The state of non-emotion takes the directing and ordering away from the situation.
HOW THE THREE STATES OF EGO MIX AND MATCH
Parents mostly stay in the parent ego state (ordering, correcting, directing) while children primarily stay in the Child Ego State (highly-emotional and joyful state.)
If you think about your child being in a playful state most of the time and you’re in the Parent Ego State, there’s obviously going to be a big disconnect. Also, how your child perceives environments differently in this state than the state a parent is in, which leads to various reactions.
Children operate from a sense of emotion while adults operate from a sense of responsibility, but being in synch is where the magic happens. When you’re both in the Child Ego State the real relationship building happens and having fun together in this state will strengthen your connection.
Think about your parenting style and how you speak and communication with your children. What state of ego are you mostly in?
Amy McCready, from Positive Parenting Solutions makes mention that if you’re in the Child Ego State any less than 30%, you are literally holding a sign asking for power struggles and resistance from your children.
Think about it… would you tolerate being bossed around and told what to do all the time without pushing back? Kid’s don’t want to be bossed around any more than you do, and when they are often, this is where negative behaviors crop up.
I recently came upon this information from the Positive Parenting Solutions course, and it helped me to see why I was feeling a tad disconnected from my kids lately. It’s also no wonder we’ve had an uptick with power struggles – we aren’t on the same wavelength and it’s because I’m not in the Child Ego State nearly as much as I should be.
On our walk, I was thinking about Amy’s words and made a choice to be present in the Child Ego State with my daughter.
Instead of directing my child to hurry up and get back on her scooter to head home, I let her take her sweet, sweet time and wander at her own pace.
A snail’s pace.
CHOOSING TO BE IN THE CHILD EGO STATE TOGETHER
On our hour-long adventure, I made footprints in the snow with her and my jacket pockets were stuffed full of rocks. I carried damp pinecones in one hand and her scooter in the other while she danced from one yard to the next to use all her senses.
Before long, I stopped thinking about my list, and lunch, and missing naptime, and I simply watched her.
She was fueled with childlike wonder… laughing, singing and exploring. I saw how happy it made her not to be bossed, directed or rushed and she was able to relish in being a child without an adult agenda pushing her to move along.
Amy is right, the Child Ego State is where the real connection happens.
So now it’s your turn… ask yourself:
How much time do you spend in Adult and Parent Ego States of Personality?
How much time do you spend in the Child Ego State? Is it more or less than 30 percent of the time?