Examples from a functional point of view
A positive Nurturing Parent cares for another person in a loving way when that person
needs or wants it: "Sure, I'll get that for you."
A negative Nurturing Parent is either over permissive or else over nurtures by doing
things for others which are not requested and not needed: " Let me do that for you."
A positive Controlling Parent is strong and opinionated and stands up for her
own rights and the rights of others without putting anyone down in the process:
"Stop! That's not right."
A negative Controlling Parent tries to take away the self esteem of another person:
"Why do you always do that?"
An Adult computes probability is using operationally definable terms:
"If we use this type of steel, there is a high probability the bridge will withstand
a wave up to 150 miles per hour."
A positive Adapted Child gets what he wants or at least avoids pain by complying
to his idea of what "big people" expect of him: "Yes, sir," to a superior,
and "Please" and "Thank you" when appropriate.
A negative Adapted Child behaves in a self destructive way in order to get
attention from others --he forgets to salute the general, and then wonders
why things always go badly for him.
A positive Free Child expresses directly what is on his mind, has fun, gets close,
and does not hurt anyone in the process: "Hi, let's play."
A negative Free Child hurts others or himself while expressing himself
or having fun: "Let's go faster."
He says this even though it is dangerous.
Moreover, most behaviors which at first appear to be a negative Free Child
are actually self destructive adapted child actions.
There are times that a person will indicate how she is functioning in all of her
ego states with a brief statement as followers:
A college student discussing her roommate says: " She's a foolish, irresponsible,
silly girl [CP], who needs me to smooth the way for her, so I go out of my way
to help her [NP].
Sometimes I wonder if that's a good idea [A], but I want to be a helpful person
like mother taught me to be [AC] even though I feel like telling her to leave
me alone [FC]."