How to Reparent Your Inner Child
What is Reparenting?
To reparent is to give your inner child what they needed at each developmental stage. To acknowledge their hurts, pains, and concerns. To give voice to them for the times that their voice was ignored. Reparenting your inner child means being the parent to your younger self that you always needed and deserved.
Where Do I Begin Inner Child Work?
The first step in nurturing and healing your inner child is acknowledging that they exist. A basic need for any child is/was attention. Your inner child needs the same attention that you needed when you were younger. Sometimes it can be difficult to imagine our adult selves as younger children, so connecting with our inner child in a sense of “separate from us” can be beneficial to begin having compassion towards them. The next time you feel triggered by something, ask yourself “How old do I feel right now?” This question may lead you to recognizing your inner child that needs attention.
Listen, Listen, Listen
Setting aside time to attune to your inner child will begin to create space for them to open up to you and reveal their desires, hopes, dreams, and needs. You might be surprised with what they share with you and tell you. Approach this in the same way that you would approach a quiet space of meditation or prayer. Begin by focusing inward on your younger self. It can be helpful to find a picture of yourself as a child to create that connection, if you have that as an option.
Even if we had wonderful, well-intended, and supportive parents, it is still possible that our needs were not fully met. This is okay. Both can be true. “My parents did a wonderful job AND I still needed _________.” If our needs were unmet as children, we can continue this pattern into adulthood. We may have poor self-care habits, unbalanced work schedules, and no time for play. As you begin to attune to your inner child and listen to them, notice what they need from you? Begin to find time to do those things with your inner child.
Talk to Them
Let them know that you see them now and that you love them. Begin to share with them that they are no longer alone and that you are there to nurture them and protect them in the way that they always deserved. Every child has a developmental need to be nurtured and praised. Notice what words your inner child needed to hear and begin to implement those into your time with them.
Journaling can be a great way to talk with your inner child and to let them know how you feel. If you are often easily distracted, journaling might be a more effective way to connect with your inner child. It creates an environment where you only have one place to focus your attention. What might you want to say to your inner child? Once you have grown comfortable with writing to your inner child, consider flipping the roles and allow your inner child to write back to you.
Take Your Time
Inner Child work can feel really awkward at first. It is okay to take your time on it and to acknowledge that it’s awkward. There is no right or wrong way to do inner child work, but rather to do what feels right for you. Everyone is unique and has different needs, so it is important to attune to your specific needs.
See a Trauma Therapist
It can be very healing for your inner child to meet with a Trauma Therapist specializing in Inner Child work. As you go throughout your own journey and implement some of these tasks in your routine, notice how you feel and what feelings or memories arise. If something feels really heavy, overwhelming, or you have difficulty connecting with your inner child, it might be time to reach out to a trauma therapist.