On the topic of "switch" identities:
I would not necessarily call that being a "switch", but perhaps moreso of being a "big brother" or "big sister" type, depending what care activities and actions you perform. Though, if I'm being quite boldly honest, I don't believe the "switch" personality is as common as people have taken it on in recent years. Silly, but even 4 years ago it was relatively unheard of in our community because people recognized the separation of regression being "little" and parental care being "big", and that just because one can care about someone else or perform as an adult "well" does not mean you aren't just a little.
I also have a standpoint that many littles may like to "play house" temporarily by pretending to be Caregivers to one another very similarly to that of biological children playing house with their friends and siblings--pretending to be something or someone isn't necessarily becoming that person though. I feel like this may be where we see a lot of "ghosting" happening in the community, or people claiming that this person or that person is "a fake Caregiver" when the person feels overwhelmed or stressed by performing their play-pretend duties that were accidentally mistaken as actual identity and taken too far for themselves.
A switch would be that there are times where you are not experiencing regression but would like to take care of another person in more traditionally parental sort of ways. I feel like the "traditionally parental sort of ways" is an extremely important part to focus on when it comes to determining if one is a Caregiver. Parental care toward their child(ren
) (or perceived children/ren
) is quite different than regular romantic or friendship care. I feel like we go over Caregiver qualities well here
but perhaps we will work on outlining more specific ways parental care is different than other care exchanges.
It also means that sometimes you regress (and perhaps would like to be taken care of by a parental sort of figure
). I think regression is pretty self-explanatory but, generally, one can regress from anywhere from newborn through teenage years. Though, I find that not many people in their biological 20s genuinely regress to feeling like teens since adulthood is still relatively new and they've yet to establish firm lines of clear separation between being a teenager versus adult.
On the topic of littles being capable of providing care:
People who experience regression should always also strive to provide care and support toward those they love and cherish. It is not a receiving-only sort of role. Just because you want to care about and for your partner, support them throughout their struggles or stresses, and even help them remedy issues they may face does not mean you are a Caregiver.
Though, one could argue that the version or type of care may be reflected differently than a Caregiver (who does not experience regression
). Littles are very capable of providing their own version of care just like a biological child can console a crying parent, can create gifts to offer their parent in exchange for their parents' smiles, and who can lend a listening ear to their parents when their parents need to vent a little bit about their own stressors. Many biological children mimic taking care of and caring for their parent(s) in effort to experience what it's like to take on such responsibility and to learn how to become better at showing what we refer to as love. Also, just to point it out, a person who regresses to a teen level would, of course, be more capable of other ways of providing care since a teen is more aware of affection and acts of love/care, but that would not change that they are a regressor and not a typical adult personality.
Wanting your partner or friends to be happy and healthy is extremely normal, natural, and typical. Doing things to show appreciation toward these important people in your life is a good quality that most people, regardless of community involvement, should strive to regularly achieve. Wanting to show your friends and family that you care about them by caring for them is extremely normal and natural human behavior.
Littles are not mentally incapable of caring
for themselves, pets, friends, family members, or partners. They may struggle to provide specific care tasks or may struggle to perform as a Caregiver (a traditionally parental sort of personality
) in long-term situations. Some may struggle with some more adult tasks or keeping up with care consistency. It does not mean they are not a little. It does not mean they magically, suddenly are "a switch" and not just a little who is doing their best to be a good childlike partner while managing adulthood the best they are capable. It simply means that they have matured biologically past childhood and have gained some abilities and capabilities of "adulting well enough".
So, yes, littles can and should provide their own versions and capabilities of care to those they feel are important in their lives. Appreciating loved ones is important.