There is no doubt that parenting is a roller coaster. Just when you think you’ve grasped one phase of your child and the next version of you, in comes the re parenting. So, what is re parenting and how do you nurture your inner cild as a parent?
Before we go any further, I just want to state that I am not a psychologist and anything I write in this article is based off my own experience and healing journey, as well as reading and learning.
What is re-parenting?
The term re-parenting refers to the inner work involved in recognising what was missing for us throughout our childhood, and tending to those unmet needs while forgiving your own parents for the way in which they raised you.
Re parenting is not blaming your parents for all that they did wrong or what they didn’t give you, but rather a focus on yourself and how you can now, as an adult, meet those needs.
The process of reliving our childhood can be painful and at sometimes long, we must remember that this is a journey and view it with love and self-discovery rather than guilt for our behaviour.
Feeling guilty abut repeating patterns and triggers will only continue the cycle.
Why is nurturing your inner child important?
As you unravel certain beliefs and values formed in your subconscous mind when you were a child, you will become more and more aware of your own needs.
Most of us don’t know how to meet our emotional needs – lesser so those of our inner child.
When we are operating from learned automisms, we are likely to push those needs to the back of our mind. What happens though, is that these needs will escalate from a quiet subtle voice in your head to an almost scream of needing to be seen.
The more we learn our own needs, the quieter the voice will become and the more inner peace and satisfaction we will feel.
This in turn has a catalyst effect on how we parent, as we are now making choices and behaving from a conscious space, rather than a wound. When serving our inner child, we also gain a lot of respect and understanding for our children standing before us -. We are more likely to be able to tend to their needs, too.
In summary, healing and nurturing our inner child allows us to become better versions of ourselves and be more patient and loving parents.
How to nurture your inner child in 5 steps
Okay, now you’re aware of the importance of doing the inner work, let’s break down how exactly you can do that.
I’ve broken it down into simple steps you can follow to connect with and embrace your inner child and what she wants to say.
1) Create space for her
Make space for her – in your phsyical reality, start by dedicating an area of the house to her joy.
What did you like to do as a kid? Paint? Sing? Do math? Write? Play video games?
Whatever your passion was, dedicating a place where you can practice or play with that will help you enter in a dynamic together already.
The aim is to open the communication, to listen intently as she guides you back to your joy.
It starts with joy
When I say passion, I want you to think of something that really makes you come alive, eyes light up when you do it, just as a child would when placed in front of her favourite toy.
Perhaps there is something you’ve gotten out of the habit of doing over time, or whilst occupied by motherhood and you’d like to bring that back.
Sometimes all you need is to see this space on a daily basis as a reminder to keep going and keep respecting your inner child.
2) Recall and connect
For many of us, our childhood can seem like a lifetime ago. I, for one, have trouble remembering a lot of my own childhood – I avoided experiences by living in my head. Though I did this from a coping mecanism, part of my own work was recognising this avoidance of reality and get to the bottom of why.
Start by digging out old photos, ask your siblings, family or close friends what you were like, what you liked to do. Put the photos in the space you have dedicated for your inner child, as well as notes gathered about yourself.
Always be mindful when connecting to old memories that might be painful for you to look back on – take it one day at a time.
Re parenting is not an overnight job, so go at your own pace.
Focus on how you felt in certain situations perhaps, rather than the details as this is where you will feel the triggers pop up and the unmet needs.
3) Get quiet
As our inner child is a part of us now unconscious, it can be hard to hear her amidst the chaos of every day life. Take a slice out of your day to connect and get quiet – however that looks like to you.
Be it meditation, journaling or visualization, find a way to honour your child self and hone in on what she wants to say.
For journaling prompts, this is a great resource to get you started.
Let’s take one of the prompts in particular – ‘Describe a time your inner child felt misunderstood’, this for me opens up so much emotion. It’s also very open for you to write down what you want.
Another incredible resource is the new book I’m yet to get a copy of How to Do The Work from Dr Nicole Lepera, also known as The Holistic Psychologist on Instagram.
Her page focuses on re parenting and recovering from childhood trauma – and when I say trauma, we mean on any level. We often believe trauma to be huge dramatic experiences, but as Dr Nicole put so simply in a recent post it can be something so simple as:
- Not being seen or heard
- Having a parent denying your reality
- Having a parent figure who doesn’t model boundaries
You will come to understand more about your inner child the more work like this you do.
4) Play with her
When you were younger, can you remember playing by yourself? Playing make belief? Perhaps with your favourite lovey?
You may be an adult, but you still need and deserve the right to play.
Playing can be quite daunting for adults as we are conditioned to be sensible for work, dating and friendships – but if we slowly start to let go of this paradigm, we can be our authentic selves. When we are seen for who we are, we create the safety needed for silliness.
Easy play activities for your inner child
When you look at children, they are more often than not singing, dancing and moving their bodies all day long.
Get silly, make puppets, play tag with your kids, there’s so much you could do to unleash that playful side in you!
- Play hide and seek
- Build a fort
- Be pirates on a boat
- Make a hidden den
- Play catch me if you can
- Draw and play hopscotch
- Get a skipping rope
- Make up silly songs
- Put on a sock puppet show
Those are just a few ideas to get you started – think back to your own childhood obviously too – what did you most enjoy doing?
5) Parent/nurture her
The final step is to embody the parent figure that is craving the attention your inner child needs.
No, you don’t have to go around having conversations to yourself all day, but definitely visualize the conversation you would have when your inner child wounds or needs pop up.
It can help to go to the mirror and look at yourself with the love of a caring parent or caregiver.
Perhaps think back to a parental lie figure in your life who did give you the love you needed and treat yourself with that same love.
Again, journaling is an amazing way to discover what she needs and how you can meet those needs:
- What does my inner child need right now?
- What would a loving parent do to reassure her?
- How would a parent give her more fun/care/attention?
A great example would be that of taking yourself out somewhere that you liked to go and doing something you’re passionate about – for example, you could do pottery, go skating, blow bubbles at the park, play basketball…whatever feels the most aligned for you.
Think to yourself – if I were to do something, just for fun without judgement or competition, what would it be?
I hope this article gives you some ideas to move forward with, if you would like to dig deeper with this topic then don’t hesitate to book a free chat with me to see if we’re a good fit!