If you’ve ever had a situation in your life that made you feel like a kid and as a result thought the question ‘Why do I feel like a kid?’
You’re in luck because that’s the exact question I’m answering in this article.
Your reactions to a particular person, place, situation, experience and/or challenge in your life is the reason why you feel like a kid at times.
This is because behind your reactions towards a particular person, place, situation and/or experience in your life, are potentially one or more of the following:
- An inability to recognise and take responsibility for the thoughts, feelings and beliefs you have (like when you were a kid), towards a particular person, place, situation and/or experience in your life
- A need for attention, reassurance and validation, which you don’t feel you receive from those around you
- How you perceive yourself on a subconscious level
- The actions and solutions (or lack thereof) you choose to take in resolving the challenges you face in your life
- Jealousy of those around you; and/or
- A fear of being left out
The good news, however, is you can change how you react towards the people, places, situations, experiences and/or challenges in your life by working to change the things above.
Therefore, it’s that I’m talking about in more detail in this article.
So, let’s get started.
Your inner child
Okay, before I get into more detail on your question why do I feel like a kid, let me just start by saying that we all have an inner child within us.
But it’s how we have learnt/have not learnt to relate to our inner child that matters most when it comes to feeling like a kid at times as adults.
This is because our relationship to our inner child and our listening and understanding of it, is what helps to lessen it.
Therefore, when we don’t seek to listen to it and when we don’t seek to understand it, it seeks to get louder and louder because it’s calling for our attention but we won’t acknowledge it.
And it’s this (i.e. your inner child, not you at your core) which is being reflected when you feel like a kid in a particular situation.
Why do I feel like a kid?
As I said earlier, it’s your reactions to the people, places, situations, experiences and challenges in your life, which can make you feel like a kid.
But what exactly is it about the reactions you have that make you feel like a kid?
What is it about your reactions that make you feel like a kid?
1. Your beliefs
The way you react towards the people, places, situations, experiences and challenges in your life TODAY, is partly down to you.
In that it’s likely you will have formed beliefs (as a kid) around how you needed to react to be seen, heard and understood by those around you.
And therefore, translating this into receiving the attention, acceptance, love and support of those around you too.
All of which, you needed back then to survive.
However, it’s also down to not having learnt other ways to react and channel your energy, towards the people, places, situations, experiences and challenges in your life because well you didn’t have anyone in your life to show you how else you could react and were able to react.
And, therefore, where working with a therapist is so invaluable, as they show you it’s really never too late to change anything about yourself.
Although, of course, it might take a little more effort to learn now that you’re an adult but once you do learn it, it becomes embedded in your brain as it would have been embedded in your brain when you were a kid had there been someone around to show you then.
2. Your inability to take responsibility for the thoughts, feelings and beliefs leading to your reactions
When you cannot take on responsibility for the thoughts, feelings and beliefs you have about yourself, which are all leading you to having a particular reaction towards a particular person, place, situation, experience and/or challenge in your life, you cannot change your reactions towards them.
Why? Because it’s in recognising what you’re thinking, feeling and believing about yourself and others, which isn’t true, that you can stop yourself from reacting in ways that will hurt both you and them.
3. Your perception of you hasn’t changed
Just because you get taller and you increase in age or you get married and have kids, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your perception of yourself as an adult moves in alignment with those things.
In fact, it’s entirely possible for your perception of yourself (similar to your reactions) to stay stagnant in a particular moment in time in your childhood, regardless of how many things seem to be changing (or not changing) in your life.
Therefore, why it’s important for you to work on identifying and changing your perception of yourself through regular discussions with a therapist.
As it’s only by doing this you’ll be able to uncover what you’re truly thinking, feeling and believing about yourself, others and life itself.
Therefore, are causing you to react in ways, which reinforce your already existing feelings of feeling like a kid.
4. A fear of being left out or excluded
We all have an innate fear of being left out and excluded by others that it can make us react in ways that remove us from our centre.
But the truth is that would never happen to us unless we knowingly or unknowingly choose to exclude and leave ourselves out of the lives of others.
The reactions that make you feel like a kid
In particular, there are reactions that especially make you feel like a kid more so than others.
Taking things personally
One instance where you might feel like a kid sometimes is when you take what someone else has said to you personally.
Instead of seeing it as the person reflecting what it is they are thinking, feeling and believing (in that moment) about themselves (not you, although it might feel like this).
Therefore, overreacting, (with anger) towards the situation and person before you.
Overreacting makes you feel like a kid because often it reminds you of when you were a kid.
And how you chose to deal with what you were struggling with then but didn’t have the words to communicate (either to yourself or somebody else) what you were thinking and feeling towards that person, situation, place or experience, in a way that you knew how to explain it.
Therefore, also preventing you from taking on responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and beliefs about yourself, others and life itself.
Jealousy makes us feel like a kid because it breeds competition within us.
In addition, it’s something you’re likely to experience more as a kid than an adult.
Since as a kid, you’re still supposed to be developing your sense of safety and security in yourself that when you reach adulthood you no longer feel the need to be jealous of others because you recognise there’s room for everybody and everything.
However, that of course isn’t the case for everyone in the world, with some developing more safety, security and belief within themselves than others.
Making fun of, putting down and insulting those who hurt you
Making fun of, putting down and insulting somebody who has hurt you is usually another way kids overreact when someone or something outside of them has hurt them.
Usually because again they don’t know how to articulate what their thinking, feeling and believing or how else to react towards that person and situation.
And so, in a way to get one up on them, they attempt to make fun of, put them down or insult them, because that’s the only way they know how to make themselves feel good about themselves and how to demonstrate what they’re thinking and feeling.
However, (as with all of the above) this doesn’t need to be the case anymore as an adult since as I say there are other ways you can react towards the people, places, situations, experiences and challenges in your life than the ones I’ve discussed.
Why work with a therapist to change how you react to the people, places, situations and experiences in your life?
It makes you feel better about you
In all the instances I’ve mentioned about, you’re left feeling disdain.
Not only towards others but also towards yourself.
And therefore, by working with a therapist, you can work towards learning new ways of reacting, which don’t make you feel disdain towards yourself and others.
But instead make you feel good about yourself and actually bridge the gap between yourself and others so when you are disconnected, you’re still in some way connected.
And the bridges to that relationship haven’t been completely severed.
How does it make you feel better about you?
1. It disconnects you from your attachments to your reactions
The first way it will make you feel better about yourself is by helping you to observe and become more aware of your thoughts, feelings and beliefs.
Therefore, allowing you to detach from your reactions.
In particular, it will support you to do this both through your discussions with them but also by supporting you in implementing mindfulness and meditation into your everyday life.
2. Helping you to realise that it is possible for you to react differently
When you realise that you are able to react differently as a result of making new choices and taking new actions, you will feel better about yourself because you will feel as though you are in control of the outcome of a situation.
And, as a result, (eventually) will develop the confidence and belief in yourself to know how to handle any situation that comes your way by the actions you decide to take and the tools you decide to implement into your life.
New ways you will learn to react
1. Pausing and saying nothing in the moment
One of the most invaluable lessons I’ve learnt about changing my reactions towards certain people, situations and experiences in my life has been this, to pause and say nothing in times where I want to strike back at someone for something they’ve said in the moment.
And waiting a day or two to say anything because if it’s worth raising I’ll still be thinking about it then too and if it’s not and it’s something I’m believing about myself that’s not true, I let it go.
Not that it’s always easy to do but where possible, it saves you from hurting yourself since it’s likely not going to hurt the other person as much as it will hurt you.
SEE ALSO: AN ULTIMATE GUIDE OF PRACTICES TO TRY
How you learn to pause and say nothing in the moment
Meditation and mindfulness are the two tools that the more you practice the more you’ll be able to pause and say nothing.
But also it’s the advice and guidance your therapist gives you towards the people and situations in your life that reverberate through you like an echo as you go about your daily life.
2. Setting an intention
Before any interaction you have with anybody, you need to set an intention about the quality of experience you want to experience when interacting with that person and situation.
Since doing so will enable you to remain rooted to that intention.
Therefore, keeping you centred and grounded in a positive quality of experience rather than one you don’t want to experience.
3. Setting a boundary with yourself
Also, before any interaction you have with anybody, you’ve also got to know what you’re thinking, feeling and believing about yourself.
This is because if you don’t, you’re going to become entwined with the thoughts, feelings and beliefs of the other person.
So when they do express certain thoughts and feelings that you might not like, you’re going to take them on as though they are yours personally and as though they are about you.
When, if you knew what you were thinking and feeling about yourself, you would know that this person is only projecting their own thoughts, feelings and behavioural patterns onto you.
And in fact, maybe, are projecting something you’re subconsciously already thinking and feeling about yourself so there’s no need to react and retaliate with anger because they’re reflecting something you’re already thinking and feeling about yourself.
So all you need to do is find a way to change those thoughts and feelings within you.
Not that that is an easy task or anything but it is possible with time, patience, perseverance and the right support.
The result of working with a therapist to stop feeling like a kid
The overall result of working with a therapist to stop feeling like a kid, is you’ll develop more self-awareness both of yourself and others.
Therefore, allowing you to be able to simply observe your own and the reactions of others without getting too invested in them.
So you can choose different reactions to the ones you’re used to giving.
And can get on with the things that truly matter in life.
Why do I act like a child around my parents?
Your parents (and depending on where you sit in the hierarchy of your siblings), as their child, can find it hard to let go of seeing you as their child and so they treat you like a child even though you’ve grown up.
However, that then means it’s up to you to work with a therapist to detach from your parents so you can start acting and feeling like an adult around them, which in turn will result in them treating you like an adult too.
I feel like a child compared to my friends?
You may feel like a child compared to your friends because you see them thinking, feeling and believing things that you have no knowledge or understanding of.
Therefore, behaving in ways that are different to you and so get different results in their life.
What this means, therefore, is you need to learn how to see yourself and the world differently to how you currently see them.
And by doing this, you’ll start to feel like you think and feel in ways that your friends do.
Or more likely, you’ll start to feel you think and feel even better than they do as you work on identifying and eliminating your limiting beliefs about yourself, others and life.
And they’re still stuck in them.
Why do I feel like a child around other adults?
If you’ve not been exposed to many adults as a child, this can leave you feeling uncomfortable and like a child around other adults.
But if you have the belief you’re not good enough compared to other adults too, this can also leave you feeling like a child around them.
So it’s your job to overcome your belief of not being good enough by exploring your thoughts and feelings towards the situations in your life.
As it’s only by doing this, you’ll start to feel safer and securer in yourself and therefore, around other adults too.
When do you feel grown up?
Feeling grown-up isn’t about how old you are but rather about how you think and feel about yourself on the inside.
Therefore, coming back to your self-worth (See: HOW TO FIND YOUR WORTH AND WHY IT MATTERS).
Why do I feel like I can’t grow up?
The answer to this lies in your body and the sensations within your body because the more challenging emotions you experience in your life, the more blocked and closed off you are to learning new information and to new experiences.
So by working with a therapist and implementing meditation into your life, you get to unclog your body.
Summary: Why do I feel like a kid?
So there you have it, your reactions and the subconscious reasons behind your reactions are what is causing you to feel like a kid.
Therefore, by working with a therapist to learn new ways of reacting and resolve the current thoughts, feelings and beliefs that are making you react in particular ways that don’t make you feel good about yourself, you get the chance to change your feelings around feeling like a kid.
Now over to you
I would love to know what reactions you engage in that you wish you could change, so let me know in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
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