Shut That Kid Up!

Home / Feelings / Shut That Kid Up!

Have you ever gone to the grocery store and while in line to check out your items, there’s a loud yelling kid–usually standing with the mother–who is whining because the kids want candy being showcased as you walk through the grocery line. Often time the mother says no, and the kid goes off crying, yelling, screaming, fussing, etc. Not to mention, to really turn up the drama, that kid now starts rolling on the floor and refuses to get up–all because the kid doesn’t get the candy. Invariably, the mother succumbs to the embarrassing noise and purchases the desired candy for the child. And what do you know–miraculously, all those tears and saliva and other body fluids the child excretes somehow goes in reverse! All is seemingly well now.

This painful experience, while all too common when we are in public, also occurs quite often in private as well. A bit more off the radar and there’s no evidence of a child around, per se, but it’s pretty much the same scenario.

What I’m referring to is the child within all of us.

Depending on how you were raised, that child may or may not have gotten all that it needed. it just depends. And if you think that now that you’re grown, and those unmet needs as a child no longer matter or are relevant because you are an adult now, you are sadly mistaken.

The truth is, unaddressed physical, emotional, spiritual and intimacy needs that a child requires are always manifested in adulthood–and in many cases, it expresses itself in relationships–and typically in an unhealthy fashion.

For instance, sometimes we can’t help but to hear and see things “emotionally,” or view today’s scenarios and situations through the lenses of the eyes of the child whose needs went unmet. For me, I grew up pretty poor. We relied a great deal on public assistance and food was completely a premium in my home. Same for clothes–they were either way too small, too big, outdated, and/or short in supply. So, as an adult, whenever I hear my kids say, “Dad, I’m hungry,’ I wouldn’t hear it with the ears of a father. Rather, I would hear that statement emotionally–and connect it to my journey as a child. The end result: Overcooking, overfeeding and spending far more money on food than what was needed or reasonable. I’ve been told that I have a massive wardrobe–which is a byproduct of me compensating for what I did not get as a child. I emotionally buy clothes to ensure that I never run out.

What about when the father isn’t in the home? How does that impact daughters going up? Typically these fatherless girls seek that father type affection from men–even if it means they have to give sex to get it–or accept less than respectable treatment. Absent mothers in their son’s life often result in young boys seeking family through gangs, or subconsciously taking advantage of women they date as an expression of embedded anger toward the mother that was never present.

I could on and on. However, I imagine you get the point. And I know many of us have had less than ideal upbringings. And what usually occurs, these unmet needs are dysfunctionally manifested in courtship and marriage.

So what should we do? How can we stop this behavior driven by the unmet of the kid within us?

  1. Rewrite your script--this means that you will need to come to grips with your past, and ideally create a new script that is appropriate for adult living. This isn’t always easy. You may need to consult the support and assistance of a licensed therapist who can assist you. It’s not an overnight fix–this behavior and void has existed in you for decades–so it stands to suggest that it might take some commitment of time and focus to actually detox from the old script and create a new one.
  2. Have friends to hold you accountable–believe it or not, your closest friends see this dysfunctional behavior in you and probably don’t know how to bring it up. Ask people you trust to give their honest option about you–don’t defend yourself no matter what they say–it’s just their opinion. But those of your friends who you trust and believe have your best interest at heart, can help you stay on track as you go through your rewriting of your script.
  3. Forgive the Past–and anyone and everyone who is responsible for your unmet needs. Forgive them even if they are not alive. Take control of you and your life by not allowing your pain to be fueled by the devastation of the past.

I can assure you that a new and refreshing beginning is possible and right around the corner. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are. The moment you recognize that this is the case, be proactive to repair it. After all, no one likes being around a whining child.

-Kerry Neal

Related Posts
Showing 2 comments
  • Camille R. Perry

    Good word

  • Jazz MaGee

    Insightful read for the spiritual progress of moving on, not forgetting, but forgiving and being forviven for my own mistakes and shortcomings.

Leave a Reply