Reparenting, and Why It Is So Important

In a perfect world, everyone grows up with two self-actualized parents or caregivers that foster high emotional intelligence and maturity. These parents allow their children to be respected, seen, heard, and understood. In the real world, however, many parents lack this emotional intelligence, leaving their children to deal with generational wounds.

When parents fail to heal and process their traumas, they unknowingly continue the cycle on their children. The children are then left with emotional, mental, and social deficits that carry into adulthood until processed and healed. If you grew up in an emotionally or physically neglectful, abusive, or dysfunctional environment, it might be time to reparent yourself.

What is Reparenting?

Reparenting is as it sounds - reparenting yourself. It’s giving your adult self what you didn’t receive from your parents as children. As children, we rely on our parents for not only physical needs but emotional and mental needs as well. We look up to them for guidance on how to act, express ourselves, deal with emotions, relate to others, and much more. You may think that emotional and social skills come with time, but they are learned behaviors. If we didn’t learn how to properly do these things as children, then we likely struggle with them in adulthood.

For example, if, as a child, you were taught to keep your emotions to yourself and deal with everything alone, then you probably struggle with asking for help as an adult. If you grew up having to always act a certain way, then you probably struggle with expressing yourself. Likely, your parents don’t know how to properly do these things either, which is why they didn’t teach you. Generational trauma refers to trauma passed down through family members, and if they never stopped to process and heal this trauma, they passed it on to you. 

Why is Reparenting Important?

Reparenting yourself is important for many reasons. For starters, reparenting yourself allows you to learn, understand, and heal your inner child. We all have an inner child (or many) living within us that wants to feel loved, safe, and secure, and we all have the power as adults to heal those wounds and heal our inner child. 

Connecting with your inner child is one of the best things you can do for your adult self. Our inner child holds our curiosity, enthusiasm, and excitement for life and all it brings. When your inner child is wounded or hurt, you are disconnected from it. Reparenting yourself will help you grow your relationship with your inner child and allow you to live a more fulfilling, meaningful life. 

If you plan on having children of your own, or if you already do, we recommend reparenting yourself to avoid passing on generational trauma. As mentioned above, generational trauma continues to haunt families until it’s dealt with. By reparenting yourself, you can know that you’re giving your own children the best care they need. 

How to Reparent Yourself

Reparenting yourself will look different person-to-person based on your personal needs. When getting started, it’s essential to identify what you didn’t receive as a child.
Did you grow up in a neglectful environment?
Did you grow up in a violent environment?

This will be a personal journey and we recommend using a journal, a trusted friend, or a therapist to assist you in this process. Some of the most common issues that arise from childhood include boundaries, communication skills, self-care, accountability, and self-awareness. 

Once you’ve nailed down the areas that need your attention, you can begin learning how to create healthier habits, behaviors, and thinking patterns that align with your adult self. There are many self-help articles, books, and free courses available on the internet to help with this process. If therapy is accessible to you, utilizing a therapist in this process will be beneficial. 

Some Things to Keep in Mind

While reparenting yourself and connecting with your inner child, keeping these things in mind is important.
  • Practice compassion, self-acceptance, and self-love as much as you can.
  • Don’t expect perfection as it’s unattainable and unhealthy.
  • Don’t expect immediate results.
  • Reparenting yourself and healing your inner child takes patience. 
  • Practice as much self-care as you can.

Reparenting yourself is one of the best things you can do for your inner child. It’s an opportunity as an adult to give yourself all things missing from your childhood.  It allows us to become more connected with ourselves and helps us live a healthier, happier life.