blacks are lazy (except in sports), and all whites are materialistic
chauvinists and prejudice. The "adult" must check reality to keep the
"child" and the "parent" under control. Sometimes they overwhelm the
Also, ask yourself, "Are the three parts of my personality
reasonably well balanced with the 'adult' in charge?" If not, there are
Overly critical of
child and adult
All work and no
Loss of contact
For each of these deficiencies, the solution is for the "adult" to
recognize the situation and strengthen the weak part, so there is a
healthy balance. If the "parent," for instance, is too strong, we feel
beaten down and guilty. In this case, Harris and Harris (1985) suggest
relaxation, enjoy the moment, tell yourself "it ain't so bad," go to a
calming place, exercise, and do something fun. We need all three: a
strong conscience, a playful, creative "child," and an even stronger
"adult" in charge.
How to use this personality theory
It is vital to "know thy self," i.e. all parts of you. You can practice
doing this by frequently asking yourself how each of your parts feel,
realizing that each part has a different answer to almost any question.
For example, suppose you were asked how you like going to school.
You might ordinarily say, "It's all right." Actually, there are six (using
TA theory) answers:
The natural child--"It's boring, I hate it, I want to travel" or
"Classes are dull but the parties and the men/women are
The adaptive child--"It's going fine, thank you" or "I have to
work so hard. I never get to bed before midnight (feel sorry for
The little professor--"I'm doing really well. One teacher told me
I was the best student he had ever had. But I may have to drop
out because my money is running out (so how about a donation
or a loan?)."
The nurturing parent--"I realize that a good education is
priceless and can never be taken away from you. I feel real
good about doing well in school."