Think back to your childhood. How would you describe it? How would you describe yourself? How did it feel to be a kid?
Adults often have a romanticized notion of childhood. As if being a kid is simple, carefree and easy. Was that your experience? Or do you feel sad or uneasy when you reflect on your childhood?
Our early life experiences lay the foundation for the rest of our lives. Reparenting isn’t necessarily about how good or bad your parents were, but about how well your emotional needs were met in childhood. Of course, if you experienced early life trauma you will spend years repairing that foundation. Keep in mind, trauma isn’t only about dramatic, major life events such as abuse, death or divorce. Often, less obvious influences leave an even deeper imprint. When you’re aware of what caused the trauma you can face it and actively work on healing. But what happens when you don’t even realize you’ve experienced it? Even well intentioned, loving parents may not be able to meet a child’s emotional needs. Feeling misunderstood, unseen, unsafe, or uncomfortable in the body may leave a lasting impression deep in the subconscious that affects experiences and relationships throughout life–most significantly, the relationship with self.
Reparenting refers to inner child healing. It’s about offering the child you once were the unconditional love, nurturance and compassion they always needed. Acknowledging that you had emotional needs that were not met and showing up for yourself to meet them now doesn’t have to be a testimony to parental failure (though it certainly is in some cases). It happens to everyone to different degrees.
Like it or not, we ALL have child parts within us who carry confusion and pain as a result of not being able to fully understand or process life experiences as children. Since so many of these wounds lie in the subconscious, they may still negatively impact your life now even if you’ve done a lot of healing work.
Signs You May Benefit From Reparenting:
- You perpetuate unhealthy or toxic relationship patterns
- You feel deeply unworthy, despite all of your accomplishments and successes
- You dislike being helped and have trouble trusting people
- You lack self confidence and constantly question yourself
- You struggle financially and tend towards feelings of scarcity and lack
- You experience intense, inexplicable anxiety
- You feel depressed even though life is going well
- You dislike thinking about your childhood
- You have complicated relationships with your parents and/or siblings
You certainly don’t need to check off all of these to be someone who would benefit from reparenting and this list is not exhaustive. But it helps give you an idea of ongoing struggles that likely have roots in early experiences.
Inner child healing is a cornerstone of the work I do with clients. My focus is on shadow work–I specialize in helping people discover subconscious influences so they can be brought into awareness and healed. So much of what lies in shadow has been there since childhood. In order to cultivate deep and authentic self love, it’s necessary to excavate those hidden influences.
Benefits of Reparenting:
- Deeper self love
- Healthier relationships
- More self confidence
- Less anxiety
- Improved mood
- Expanded sense of joy and wonder
- Better emotional regulation
- Improved communication
The goal of reparenting isn’t to exorcise wounded parts, but rather to bring healing through compassionate witnessing. In other words, your inner child won’t go away or grow up. They’re a beautiful and valuable part of you that would benefit from being seen and guided. They will be less triggered, more easily calmed and more successfully integrated when you consistently offer them unconditional love and support.
Reparenting is a process, but not a linear one. In my view, there are stages to reparenting, which overlap and fold over themselves. These stages are:
Each of these stages is explained in my course, ReParenting Yourself: A Holistic Approach to Inner Child Healing. Each module in the course focuses on a different stage of reparenting and offers implementation tasks to further your understanding and processing. This course was designed to be simple and easy to digest. It takes a big topic and distills it down so that you’re not overwhelmed or flooded with memories. It’s a wonderful way to gently tend to your inner child and broaden your self awareness. Which helps you expand self love and confidence.
If you’re committed to personal growth and are ready to be free from lifelong patterns of pain, work with your inner child. Even if you already have, even if you believe you’ve processed past trauma. There are always more layers to peel back and shed. Learning to love and care for the most vulnerable parts of you, allows the most confident and powerful parts to rise. Isn’t it about time?
With Love & Compassion,
Adina Arden Cooper
I'm a lover, a guide and a supportive companion. An artist, an ally and an advocate. I help individuals connect more deeply with themselves and with others through shadow work. I believe that shared humanity is a powerful strength and that our stories connect us in beautiful and sacred ways. As I stumble, skip, or soar my way through this life, I invite you to join me on the journey. Likewise, I'm honored to travel with you. In witnessing one another, we find meaning.