Childish Thinking is More Common in Adults Than You Think

The child thinks:

  • This hurts, I want someone else to take away the pain
  • This is too hard, I want to cheat or have someone else to solve it for me
  • It will never happen to me
  • I’m never the one that has the problem
  • It’s not my problem, so I don’t care
  • I want something – give it to me
  • Even though it needs to be done, I don’t want to do it, so I’ll do whatever I can to avoid it or avoid responsibility
  • I’m right
  • If I cry or throw a tantrum, I can get my way
  • I admire role models and everything about them
  • The rules don’t apply to me

The adult thinks:

  • This hurts, but I know that the pain will subside in time
  • This is hard, but I have to know when to keep at it myself and when I need to ask for help
  • What can I do to prevent it happening to me?
  • Is it possible I could be part of the problem?
  • I’ll help with someone else’s problem if it doesn’t jeopardise what’s important to me and those that I care about
  • I want something – I’ll work for it
  • Even though I don’t want to do it, it needs to be done, so I’ll take responsibility for it
  • I think I’m right, but I might not be
  • I need to consider the issue from many angles so that I know how much I need to push to have it my way
  • I admire role models for what I could learn from them, but that does not necessarily make them good people
  • I avoid double standards wherever possible or practical

It is rare to see a child act in ways that reflect the second list, but it is quite common to see an adult acting in ways that represent the first. Just look at the average work place.

Cultures all over the world have had, historically, rites of passage for children to become adults. For better or worse, the lines are more blurred in today’s society – there is no point in time when we know we can no longer be children.

My question to you is: if you catch yourself thinking childishly, what are you going to do?


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