This game is about survival
The good child. This child does what it is told, follows the rules, can be overly
helpful, can be quite shy, is reluctant to express what it wants or needs, will put
others before itself. If they are not so much the shy one they can become high
achievers if they have natural talent in some area. They learn that to be good you do
well at school, or in sport or in civic work and so they achieve in that way, by doing
’stuff’, rather than hiding away.
Why would such a youngster exhibit excessive Conforming Child ego state and
give up their Rebellious Child and Free Child ego states?
There can be a number of reasons for this
* There can be an excessive pressure for the child to conform by the parents
who may be quite conforming themselves. “What will the neighbors think” is often
the motto of such a family. The parents are reluctant to be non-conforming
themselves and perhaps are merely parenting the way they were parented.
The pressure can also be applied because the parents use the child as a status
symbol. Often this is the eldest child in the family or the one the parents believe
have some natural talents. I recall one instance of an individual who was
relentlessly pressured by mother to go to university and become a doctor. When
ever there was a family get together it was repeatedly announced particularly by
mother that he was a doctor. She was using her sons achievement to compete or gain
credence in the wider family. You see clients like this in counselling room in their
30s or 40s and they say things like, “I never wanted to be an economist, I just
wanted to be an opera singer”.
* This can be the oldest child in the family which the parents use as a live
in baby-sitter for the younger siblings which frees up the parents. If the eldest
child accepts this role this fosters the child to put its needs behind
those of its younger siblings. Alternatively it can be a child who has a sibling who is
disabled, or sick, or has extra needs of some sort. The parents simply do not have
the time and energy to deal with the non-sick youngster so they force it to be good
so it requires less attention. In large families as well you can get the ‘forgotten
child’. In today’s culture any family that has over three children is quite possibly
emotionally damaging to the children for the reason just cited.
People who are this type of good child often will tend towards the helping
professions in adulthood. They can quite easily become transactional analysts
because in such a role you focus on the needs and wants of others and do not discuss
your own such wants. Your needs are secondary at least while you are working.
* Sometimes it is the only position left in the family. As a new child enters the
family and grows into it he has to find where he fits. The parents have the Parent
and Adult ego states covered and a sibling may have the outspoken, demanding
position taken so the ‘happy to help’ good child position is the only one left. If the
child’s natural temperament is of that kind than it can very easily fall into the good
child position in the family.
* The good child can be anxiety driven. If a child develops significant anxiety for
some reason (abuse, abandonment, threats, etc), it can make the early decision, “To
make myself safe I need to sit quietly and watch what is happening” or, “I must not
rock the boat or bad things happen”. This is an unfortunate child as it can suffer quite bad anxiety or depression but it never gets identified or diagnosed. As it does not cause problems at school or at home the adults around it will focus on other problem children and it is left unattended.
The ‘Happy to help’ game in essence involves a contraction of the Free
Child(FC) ego state. As mentioned before such game players often present for
counselling in their 30s or 40s and ask the question, “Who am I?” in some form.
Without good access to the Free Child one cannot answer that question. If you are
high Conforming Child (CC) the answer to that question is - “I am who you want me
to be”. If the person if high Rebellious Child (RC) they answer - “I am the
opposite of who you want me to be”. Both the RC and CC are adaptations to the
parents. If they are left to do what they want then they are lost, they do not have
a sense of who they are and thus will not have a direction in life and will never find
their true passion in life. The person with good access to their FC will be able to
answer the question, “Who am I?”. They can answer that with the practicalities of
life, but they will also have a sense of who they are. They will feel it inside. The RC
and CC do not feel it. The good child will struggle with this problem.