We are all made up of many parts. For example, if we are fifty, we still have a part of us that is twelve. It may show up when we are at a carnival with our kids, or visiting a place where we lived at that age.
We may be 60 and go to our high school reunion, and instantly, we are thrown back to being 16, and a junior in high school. We can experience the same emotions, feelings, and thoughts that we did back then. We may see a person that we adored, and cherish that memory. We create parts of ourselves that warn us and protect us.
I remember when I first saw the movie Jaws. After watching that movie, I created a part that protected me in the water. That part also protected me by making me terrified of the ocean and what lurked beneath. That part was really trying to protect me, but did cause problems when I really wanted to dive into the beautiful water. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone that I knew I would be lunch if I went in.
We as parents play a huge role in parts creation. People may have a part that may hinder them from living. The part thinks it is helping them, but they cannot see how it helps at all. The part controls them with anxiety, fear, and depression. Often that part was created by parental messages. The person incorporates those messages into their being, and acts according to that message their whole life, without even knowing what they are doing.
For example, Wendy really wants to lose weight. She has been on every diet, and nothing works. She hates being overweight, yet eats far beyond her limit, eating foods that are not healthy for her. She is stuck. Upon investigation and therapeutic techniques, she remembers her dad restricting food when she was young. He was controlling and sexist, and believed that girls getting fat were a fate worse than death, so restricted and controlled her and her sister’s food. He controlled most aspects of their lives, in fact.
Therefore, her unconscious starts overeating at about 18, and continues on defying her father. She could not speak up to him, because he was big and powerful, and it was too threatening. She finds a way to stay in the family system. Every time she eats she says, “I deserve this, and no one is going to tell me I can’t have this!” She is speaking up to her father in a safe way. We can see why diets do not work!
Think of the power you have as a parent over your children. If you criticize them, you will create a part that will incorporate you into their internal system to maintain order. They will also create a part inside of them that will rebel against that criticism. Maybe they will be critical of others, or not take any constructive feedback, seeing it as criticism. That critical voice, the look, the tone, will stay with them, until they show up for counseling years later. If you instill fear, or act fearful, when it is not necessary, you will create that part in them, guaranteed. They may be smart as a whip, but incapable of getting anywhere due to fear.
As parents, we want our children to grow up with an internal family of parts that do not control and hinder their lives for too many years. We want all parts of them to be harmonious, to feel joy, love, and peace within the self. Once all parts are happy and content, there is no need to act out, or control. The parts can do their job without creating loads of distress.
How can we as parents help or children to become balanced, healthy adults? Here are seven strategies to help you in your journey.
- Remember that you are their mirror. If you have parts in you, that keep you from making decisions, keeps you down, criticizes others, controls too much; your child will incorporate those parts into them.
Show them love for all their parts, even when it is difficult. For example, when they are angry, usually that part feels hurt. Do not yell back at it. Treat it gently.
When a part of them feels angry or non-communicative, have them draw what that part looks like or feels like to them. Help them to understand it, to hear it.
Teach them to love all parts of themselves. The ones that they do not like probably have the most to teach them.
When one part of us feels, jealous, angry, resentful, hateful, scared, there is a reason. If we do not understand how to listen to ourselves, we miss the message of the part and it acts out more.
Help children to integrate the different parts of them. Sometimes feelings are uncomfortable so the angry side for example breaks off, and is triggered constantly by others. Help them to value that part, but let it know that it does not have to stay angry. It can join the other parts of the self, and be ok. If that part of your child cannot get rid of the anger, help them communicate with that part of themselves, and ask what is up with the anger.
Teaching children to know the different parts of them helps them to find answers to problems and questions within themselves. What a valuable resource to offer them. It is essential.
Help your child to love and accept all parts of them, so that they may achieve, wholeness, love and a lifelong connection to themselves and the world.