Child Alters, System Kids, sometimes "Littles"
- "I'm 4 years old, but I've been 4 years old for 30 years!" -- Hart of Crisses.
"Child alters" is the psychological term for what most multiples seem to call either "System Kids" or "Littles". We have a category for articles that include information about dealing with system kids New.
Re-parenting is the art of taking on a parenting role for system children, to help heal the relationship gap and give them the care they deserved the first time around.
Some system kids are (for all intents & purposes) their stated age in all ways except the body they are in. They may have amnesiac gaps, be confused by time's passage since the body's childhood, have poor self-control, immature emotional regulation and lack the ability to defend their boundaries. These system kids are vulnerable in all the ways that someone physically that age are vulnerable. Most if not all system kids in this category are stuck in the There & Then (not fully present in the Here & Now) to some degree. Across the board, nearly everyone agrees that headmates in this category are incapable of adult consent.
Other system kids are co-conscious i.e. in the Here & Now or present to a much greater degree if not fully. These kids acknowledge the passage of time, are aware of when and where they are, and may have more or less ability in many areas such that their stated age seems like it is mismatched to their ability. Some of these system kids may have access to adult-level skills, knowledge, emotional regulation or boundary defenses. There's wildly varying thoughts across the multiple & plural community on the ability and maturity of child alters falling into this category and whether or not they can do adult activities such as access to substances, relationships, and adult interactions.