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Are you an adult child?

Adulting can be an extreme sport, but if you often feel like a kid when faced with adult decisions, you could have deep-seated issues emanating from your childhood. In her latest offering, Recover From Your Childhood, master life coach Judy Klipin shares her insights.

As a self-confessed adult child, Judy Klipin gives her clients tools to navigate adulthood, which is challenging for adult children as they often feel out of place and out of their depth. An unpredictable childhood is at the heart of the uncertainty, limiting beliefs and self-doubt adult children experience. If you were in situations where you had to make adult decisions as a child because your parents didn’t carry their end of the bargain, you could be using the coping mechanisms you developed back then. The only difference now is that they no longer serve you as an adult.

The insight you’ll gain from Judy’s book will help you recognise the parts of you that need healing and guide you to a place of self-acceptance. Its journaling exercises help you look at and interrogate your limiting beliefs, allowing you to move forward with clarity. Below, we share some of Judy’s thoughts around the adult child phenomenon to help you identify if you are indeed an adult child and set you up for success in specific areas of your life.

Signs you’re an adult child

Judy explains if you felt an unconscious obligation to be grown up from an early age, “or found yourself in situations where you didn’t feel you could rely on your parents or primary caregiver consistently and reliably to meet your emotional needs, you’re probably an adult child”. The same could be said if you often feel vulnerable and childlike when faced with stressful situations.

So, what makes an adult child? “Anyone who grew up in a family that wasn’t always ‘happy and healthy’, or raised by parents who grew up in families that weren’t either, may show a predisposition to adult child thoughts and behaviours to varying degrees,” enlightens Judy. She notes that it’s not that the idea of a healthy family is flawed, but it can be defined as below to help understand the differences between families that produce adults and those that produce adult children.

Healthy families: help and support children in their development by providing a safe space to grow and experiment with boundaries and providing positive role models for relationships.

Unhealthy families: tend to remain in a constant state of crisis, or lurch from one to the next, with brief and uncertain periods of ‘normality’ in between. It’s this lack of predictability, chaos and sometimes frightening situations that give rise to many of the limiting beliefs and behaviours exhibited by adult children. Shame and secrecy, which often accompany parental dysfunctions such as addiction or anti-social behaviour, may result in feelings of self- blame and guilt in the child.

Moving forward

“Forgiveness frees you from anger and resentment, but that doesn’t mean forgetting where you’ve come from, or even that you should ignore what happened to you. By forgiving, you allow yourself to let go of the anger many adult children feel as a consequence of what’s happened to them,” she concludes.

Recover From Your Childhood (R240,, originally published in 2010 as Life Lessons for the Adult Child). For more information visit:

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