Re-parenting is a term that sums up different practices, processes and skills we can learn, to caretake our inner child. The way I see and describe the Inner child, is that it is the traces of ourselves from childhood, that shows itself through memories, emotions, patterns, and even physical sensations, flashbacks, needs we have etc. It can range from anything from the most amazing and beautiful sensations, to the very most painful and even traumatic experiences. It's a broad term that I use in my work and my own life to address anything in us that stems from our childhood. Psychologist Carl Jung is one of the first to be known for implementing the term Inner Child.
I'm sure you have observed in yourself, and others, how we can go from being a very put-together, well-functioning adult in one second, but if something really triggers us, a completely different behaviour can suddenly arise. We start to wine, go into a tantrum, sabotage relationships by getting unhealthily needy and clingy, and so on. I have seen grown men turn into 5 year olds in their behaviour when something stresses them, or women who act like little toddlers when feeling abandoned. I have had deep experiences in my own life of how the little girl in me shows up and acts out when something feels unsafe, for example.
The Inner Child is also absolutely not all about the painful stuff! Quite on the contrary! Doing Inner Child work can set us in touch with our playfulness, our innocence, love, joy, our inherent unique essence, dreams and creativity, and more.
Caretaking our Inner child, means starting to get in touch with this (these, actually) part(s) of us, starting to communicate with it, seeing what unmet needs are there, and so on. The immensely powerful benefit of this, is that issues, pain, blocks and limitations we experience in our adult life, can transform. Because the root went back to an early moment, where we need not have the tools, skills, understanding or even support to correctly and functionally resolve the issue. When we integrate and resolve something from our past, it can lead to wonderful shifts and growth.
So when we learn to re-parent ourselves, that means:
We learn to release the expectation that our caregivers or parents will come and caretake or save us in our adult life. We start to let go of the longing for them to give us what we always wanted and maybe didn't get. And we understand that no one but ourselves has the responsibility and ability to repair any damage done
We release the need to (sub-consciously and/or manipulatively) act like a child in our adult life in order to get what we want in relationships and in life in general.
We learn tools, techniques and new habits where we ourselves start to meet unmet needs, nurture ourselves, tend to our longings and dreams, and so on. We learn to know what our needs are, where they stem from, and how to meet them.
We let the unmature parts of us become mature, we help ourselves grow up and develop in the areas where we were still “stuck” and frozen in time and past events.
There are multiple ways to do this, everything from writing letters, doing deep introspection and processes with a practitioner or coach (including myself), learning how to self-sooth and self-regulate (which many actually didn't learn while growing up because of unsafe caregivers), and so much more. Reach out to me if you are interested in starting or continuing your journey with your Inner girl or boy! ♡
Some of the most beautiful moments in sessions with clients is when there is the meeting between the adult conscious self, and the inner child. The most magical healing things happens there, in this meeting of the past and present.