The Challenge for Growth Prompt that started on February 2 was to say something to a child that you wish someone had said to you when you were young. I practice a developmental form of psychotherapy that derives from Transactional Analysis. It uses a model that says that inside of us we have a parent part, an adult part and a child part. There are subdivisions of these parts as well.
As clients heal from their childhood traumas and learn to parent their inner children in healthy ways, I have plenty of opportunity to talk to their child parts. As a result, I say many things that I wish had been said to me.
There are six stages of development and each one has its own developmental tasks. For example the first stage is called the Being stage. It lasts from 0 to 6 months of life. Two of the tasks children are supposed to learn during the Being stage are that they are loved and wanted and that their needs are important. If those tasks aren’t learned, it may leave a developmental gap that could last throughout life.
Pamela Levin and Jean I. Clarke both created sets of developmentally based affirmations. Pamela’s series offers five affirmations for each stage and Jean’s has seven or eight. Jean includes a “Love” affirmation for each stage. If you look below, you will see the developmental tasks, the age ranges, and the Love affirmations. A child needs to begin hearing the affirmation when the developmental stage starts and continue hearing it forever. For example, we need to hear that we are loved and cared for from the beginning of our lives until the end.
Being (0-6 months)
I love and care for you willingly.
Doing (6-18 months)
I love you when you are active and when you are quiet.
Thinking (18 months to 3 years)
You can become separate from me and I will continue to love you.
Identity and Power (3 -6 years)
I love who you are.
Structure (6-12 years)
I love you even when we differ; I love growing with you.
Identity, Sexuality and Separation (13- 18 years)
My love is always with you. I trust you to ask for my support.
You are lovable at every age.
Consider saying the age appropriate Love affirmations to children that you know… and to the “children” that live within you!
To learn more about the stages of development, the developmental affirmations, and how to fill in developmental gaps read: