Our inner child is the innocent, playful part within us that may have been altered due to our childhood events. So, when we revisit the times when our needs were not met or we had to give up our authenticity to save our connection with our caregivers and peers, and we allow ourselves to process the emotions, plus we give ourselves what we needed, we call it inner child healing. In psychology, this process is called Reparenting, which means we are literally becoming our own parent and providing ourselves whatever we need, so that we can have healing and closure, and can reconnect with our true self.
Inner Child Healing has been a big part of my journey over the past couple of years. And over the years of working with multiple professionals for my healing, as well as training myself in the modality to be able to facilitate this deep work, I’ve gathered a number of practical tools we can apply in day-to-day life. I’d like to share with you today so that you can reconnect with your inner kiddo and experience a deeper sense of authenticity and joy.
My Reparenting Journey
When I started sitting with my ‘mother wounds’, it felt like opening Pandora’s box of grudges against my mom! And I realized one thing. The young version of me had a lot of issues with how she was treated by her elders.
The questions and concerns that I had towards her were genuine, but the assumptions I made were not. As children, our logical brain hasn’t fully developed, and neither have we learned to regulate our emotions. So, we might develop an incorrect perspective of the situation, and it helps to revisit these notions after you’ve grown up and are more mature.
Here are some examples of how completing my understanding of the past helped me heal my relationship with my momma bear, as well as myself:
Q1: Why would you scare me with cop stories just to get me to eat food?!
I was terrified of cops growing up. Even as I was following the rules, I would become paranoid that I’ll get in trouble. So I set out to investigate the origin of this phobia!
Years later, I found out that I was a difficult kid to feed. I wouldn’t sit still when I was eating, and I would be full even before I had a few bites. I had a small appetite and a fussiness when I wanted to be fed.
Back in the day, my mom succumbed to a spinal injury after a life-threatening accident. She could no longer chase me. So her last resort would be to scare me with the tale of calling the cops if I didn’t eat.
It amuses me now when I remember it! But it taught me that she was just doing her best and that there wasn’t any malice in intention like my inner child’s mind had made up.
Q2: Why did I have to study so much? Why wasn’t I allowed to watch Harry Potter or go on school trips like the other kids?
Our family moved to India in between my academic years, and the only way I could catch up with the curriculum was to spend extra hours studying after school. Even then, it took me many years to be able to adapt to the Indian education system, which led to other inner child wounds.
Plus my immunity wasn’t strong, which already led to many days off from school. So it was the only way I could have been protected – by not exposing myself to potentially unhygienic conditions that come from group travel.
Tough love makes more sense now, but it didn’t back then.
Q3: Why were you so strict when I was growing up, always asking me to do things the way you wanted them to be done?
Today, I’m not fussy about my veggies. I don’t mind making my bed, squeezing in the backseat when there are too many people in the car, or serving food to a guest before eating first.
I’m flexible and disciplined in many areas in life where most of my peers have thrown a fuss – it’s all thanks to my mother. Maybe her method wasn’t always the best in my eyes, but I can see how her intentions delivered me into becoming a better human.
Of course, there’s much room for improvement, which is why reparenting plays a role. But we’ll talk more about that shortly.
Who Is Right or Wrong In Inner Child Work?
In the age that these things happened, they mattered a lot to me. My experience wasn’t wrong because every person has the right to their own emotions and reactions. But at the end of the day, my perception was limited to myself. I wasn’t able to see the whole picture.
So while I had the right to feel upset, I wouldn’t have felt upset in the first place had I been able to grasp why things happened. Now, this doesn’t mean I was being selfish – at the end, a child can only perceive so much.
However, it means that as an adult, I am required to think beyond that child’s limited point of view and cater to my wounds with a more mature approach.
But until I didn’t understand my role in my healing, things affected how I related to my family. And because my personality was that of a quiet and sincere child at the time, I became a rebel as I grew up.
I started reacting and overreacting as a teenager. I had tantrums and mood swings.
Even years into my twenties, I noticed a love-hate relationship. I was triggered quite easily. Because subconsciously, I was still hurting.
But on the surface, I couldn’t understand why, because by the age of 25, I could easily talk about everything with my parents. They were best friends to me! Then why did I have my mood inconsistencies towards them?
This is what finally helped me – reparenting my wounded inner child.
I stepped into my shoes AND my parents’ shoes. I took care of my inner child exactly in the way my younger self wanted to be taken care of while integrating my mother’s and father’s perspectives into the process too.
So, reparenting is not only giving your younger self their childhood back by fulfilling their desires. It’s about bringing closure to the events that trigger you because of anything that happened or continues to happen around your parents, siblings, teachers, peers and more.
Reparenting is the process of being your own parent and finding your own blend of self-love and tough love.
After understanding the hurt within, my dynamic changed drastically and I was able to show up for everyone around me with a lot more compassion and love. Especially my dearest momma and papa.
As a side note, I’ve written a small ode to my mom, for some of the lessons she has taught me.
These were the things I’ve taken for granted all this while but can now see transparently because I am no longer hurt. That is the power of reparenting – the process of being your own parent and nurturing your inner child.
How Does Reparenting Your Inner Child Wounds Help In Daily Life?
Here are just some of the experiences, benefits, and results that me and my clients have seen from inner child healing.
#1 – You gain Emotional Intelligence.
Many of us are told not to cry as a child, or that getting angry is wrong. So, we suppress these feelings and over the years forget how to express them at all.
Some people may have nervous breakdowns later-on, in their adult life. Or they’ll experience bursts of rage and be ashamed of overreacting. All because the emotions are pent up over many years and many circumstances, and now are desperately seeking an outlet.
Anger and sadness are two powerful emotions that can and should be channeled properly. Once you work on inner child healing, it becomes much easier for to you let these emotions gracefully pass out of your system.
#2 – You increase your ability to love yourself.
I can’t tell you about the number of times I’ve had a client tell me they’re too hard on themselves! It’s common for us to expect more from ourselves but sometimes, this expectation becomes toxic.
When we’re so hard on ourselves all the time, it’s natural that we feel uncomfortable being alone. We don’t like our own company!
But there’s always a reason that we’ve picked up responses from, like
– why am I so dumb?
– can’t I ever do anything on time?!
– why does nobody love me?!
– can I ever get anything right on the first try?!
– why does nothing ever work my way?
And so on. Our dialogue with ourselves is highly self-critical and can lead to a poor sense of self-esteem. We may have learned to think this way due to an external factor, like some of the stories I shared before. But eventually, it becomes our own story.
Healing your inner child helps you see that story and change it. Then, it becomes easier to practice trendy things like self-love and self-care when you genuinely take care of the parts of you that have been hurting for so long.
And through the reparenting process, you’re able to develop a completely new relationship with your needs – no longer putting them on hold for a few more decades!
#3 – You give yourself permission to be carefree.
I’ve had every single inner child discussion lead to one conclusion – we need to stop being so uptight.
It is easy as adults to be confined under norms and rules. So much so that we forget how to be playful, and we’re constantly in work mode. But once you start tapping into the energy of reparenting yourself, that spark returns.
On the other hand, I’ve had a few clients reverse their procrastination and moodiness into actually being able to show up for their work and make tangible progress towards their daily goals.
These are two ends of the same spectrum – doing what’s necessary but knowing when to stop.
#4 – You stop feeling helpless and become much more independent.
Once you understand that you can still give yourself the joy of a piano lesson or eating a giant chocolate bar in one seating, it becomes easier to take accountability for one’s happiness.
You are no longer as dependent on your friends or loved ones to make you feel happy.
Therefore, through reparenting, you stop feeling helpless and dejected because you begin to move inwards and give yourself that joy. You become much more self-dependent versus codependent.
#5 – You become more authentic.
When you’re tuned in to your needs, you are able to pursue them as ‘needs’ and not ‘wants’. This helps you express yourself better. And when you begin validating your rights and place in life, it becomes easier to set healthier relationship boundaries as well.
You are also able to dissolve conflicts better and say what you feel without losing your mind in an argument.
Eventually, you become more natural and easy-going to be around. And you aren’t as obsessed with people-pleasing or insecurity-based tendencies because you truly step into your power with all the inner work you do.
You understand what it means now, to love too much, and are able to overcome that by first giving yourself the nurturing qualities you seek from others. By the beautiful and mystical ways of the universe, the more you’re able to do that, the more people around you are inclined to be good to you!
How Does Reparenting Your Inner Child Wounds Help Your Spiritual Journey?
One metaphysical aspect is that reparenting helps you connect with the pure and eternal part of your inner child – your soul. This is the aspect that speaks to you through your inner child to help you reconnect with God and bring you simple yet profound guidance when you’re stuck in an ‘adult-life’ crisis.
As beneficial as other spiritual and personal development courses are, I also believe that you are missing a fundamental part of yourself until you’ve made peace with your wounded inner child.
Sure, past life regression can heal your previous incarnations, and using Reiki, tarots and crystals can bring you tremendous healing at an energy level. But some of the deepest rooted wounds, behaviors, and tendencies actually originate from our childhood, from this lifetime.
This is because when we’re growing up, we are the most vulnerable and thus most susceptible to getting hurt. So working on these wounds is integral, if you want to get over the small stuff fast and like I said before – evolve rapidly.
Are there any challenges when working on reparenting?
There are a few hiccups that you will learn to overcome. But I do want to mention them.
The first challenge is that you might experience many ups and downs. On some days, you might feel worse before you feel better.
As innocent as a child is, they go through quite a bit of emotional turbulence. You may discover that you’re holding many grudges and initially resent the very people you’re trying to heal your past with. It can temporarily create more duality in your relationships or make you experience deep sadness and loneliness.
This is natural and will pass, as you learn to open your heart again, in deeper ways.
However, if you’re someone that’s not ready to experience emotional waves, you may want to hold back on deeper inner child healing and instead focus on the lighter aspects, like learning how to be carefree and having more fun in life.
The second hiccup is the resistance to letting go of old patterns.
Some aspects of our ego refuse to be healed. Maybe because we are unwilling to take accountability for how we feel, or we are just not ready to let go of something.
Sometimes, you may even change an old behavior. But because you’ve been doing it for so long, it will keep coming back when you’re challenged. Then, it can almost feel like you’ve hit a plateau.
In such cases, people can feel low or like they’re incapable of change. It might lead to thinking that inner child work is not for them. It’s best to remain aware of this resistance and continue working on it subtly until it loosens its grip.
For these reasons, inner child work is a deeply intimate space of healing that should be done when you’re ready to open pandora’s box.
But as I always say – you went through it once already, and now you have decades’ worth of more experience to go through it again. This time, free yourself of it, once and for all.
5 Ways to Reparent and Heal Your Inner Child
#1 – Tap into the energy of your inner child.
One of the easiest ways to do that is through kids’ television. I love singing an old favorite cartoon rhyme like Barney’s song! Even watching a few episodes of Blue’s Clues gets me into the childlike headspace.
You can even look through old childhood photographs, or revisit some of your favourite places, like restaurants, parks, etc.
As you connect with the innocence of your inner child, you’ll begin to recognize that same innocent energy and joy returning to you! This is one way to “trigger” those hidden bursts of playfulness and curiosity.
#2 – Express Yourself Like A Child
Ever noticed how a child doesn’t conceal their feelings? If a child is happy, you’ll know. If a child is angry, you and everyone in a one-mile radius will know! Jokes aside, the best thing about being so open and vulnerable about your feelings, is that you don’t carry them into the future.
The best example is when two kids that were fighting a day ago will be laughing and having a great time together the next day. Why can’t we adults do that?
Allow yourself to express negative emotions like anger and sadness unapologetically. You may stomp your feet or yell into a pillow! Or, you may roll in the mud and throw a tantrum. Let yourself feel the feelings freely.
This is a powerful resource to help you reshape your relationship with difficult emotions.
#3 – Do Things Your Inner Child Always Wanted to
Many of our childhood passions were not potential career choices, and we were swayed away from them. Sometimes they were distracting our education. At other times, we couldn’t afford them, or our elders simply found them as a waste of time.
But a big part of inner child work is walking down those half-explored paths and seeing what unfolds this time.
Whether it’s practicing art at the age of 40 or taking bike lessons at the age of 60, it’s never too late. It can even be a hobby like building a coin collection or writing poetry. There are countless communities out there that support and encourage you to pursue your childhood dreams as adults.
Make a list of all the things your younger self wanted to do, and pick up 1-2 things you can explore today!
The more you do this, the more fulfilled your past self will become. And you’ll be able to collect those missing pieces and complete the puzzle of your life.
#4 – Play With Other Children
I don’t just mean toddlers or infants, which in itself is a great way to reconnect with your inner child.
I also mean to play with the inner child of another person!
For instance, my husband and I love to play board games, badminton and go bowling together. And it surely brings out our inner child when we’re being sore losers! 🙂
In the same way, you can encourage your friends and family to do something fun that helps bring their inner child out.
#5 – Practice talking to yourself.
It can be strange at first, but simply checking in with yourself and asking the following questions can really help you in getting to know your needs better.
– Why are you feeling upset?
– Who made you feel that way in the past?
– How did that affect you back then?
– How would you like to feel now?
– What can you do to overcome this the right way this time?
As you begin having such conversations with yourself, you’ll notice flashbacks of memories going way back into your childhood. And it’ll become easier to realize where the root was for a certain belief system, how it impacted you, and how you can overcome it now.
Professional Help For Reparenting Your Inner Child
These tools are a good foundation for inner child work. At some point, you may also begin to desire deeper healing and consider getting 1:1 support.
If you feel inspired to work with me, you’re welcome to schedule one-on-one time with me and get support. I would love to help you reconnect with you inner child!
Inner child healing is a beautiful modality that not only helps us heal our relationship with ourselves and become more dependable on ourselves, but it helps us to forgive our caregivers, gives us our voice back and allows to feel integrated in how we think-feel-act.
What techniques help you connect with your inner child? Do share in the comments below!
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Kevin Thompson says
This is a great read. It made me wonder if we should reparent or relive or childhood.
I like the idea of using things from the past… though chuckled a little when I thought of your past including Blue’s Clues.
I was watching it as an adult (with my niece and nephew)!!!