Adult vs Parent protection

Parent protection

  • Withdrawal
    • Don’t get involved
    • Shyness
    • Passivity
  • Intimidation
  • Intellectualisation
  • Ritual

These rob us of strokes, push away people, create distance – “ safe… but sorry”

Adult protection

Protects child without losing strokes or pushing people away

  • Eye contact – keeps in here and now and prevents parent kicking in
  • Reading people (active listening) – has he hooked his parent > bring the adult back
  • Predicting behaviour – not judging
  • Options – “what would happen if…” when things are going well


  • Not one-way
  • There is something in it for the child of both parties
  • Contract is made adult-adult – contracting when emotional (child-child) doesn’t work
  • The contract is equitable – mutual win if kept and mutual loss if broken
  • Contract is simple but not too simple
  • Breaking the contract is stated in terms of consequences not punishment
  • It is written
  • It is renegotiable – if it is not working it could be because people or situations have changed
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