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What is Reparenting, And is it Helpful?

How Reparenting Can Help Heal Old Wounds

In its simplest form, reparenting is the act of learning how to give yourself the support you may not have received as a child. Keep reading to learn why it can be a useful tool.

What Is it?

Originally, reparenting referred to a form of psychotherapy in which a therapist assumes the role of a surrogate parental figure in order to treat psychological disturbances caused by abusive or defective parenting. In this case, however, we're using the term in reference to techniques you can use to reparent the younger part of yourself. A therapist can teach you how to effectively do this; however, the ultimate responsibility will lie with you.

Why it's Helpful

Reparenting stems from the belief that a large majority of psychological issues develop due to children growing up without having their needs met. When children don't feel secure or unconditionally loved, they often develop into adults who have difficulty navigating relationships and coping with life's many challenges.

Childhood is a critical time when we learn key fundamentals. If we don't learn them during key stages of our development, we will either never learn them or develop stunted fundamentals that make it difficult to manage relationships later in life.

According to experts, we tend to develop certain emotional and psychological aspects at specific ages:

  • Infant (ages 0-3): Trust
  • Toddlers (ages 3-5): Initiative
  • Early childhood (ages 5-11): Self-Esteem
  • Adolescents (ages 12-18): Identity

When we experience trauma as children, it can stunt our emotional development. Reparenting can help us learn to take care of the vulnerable, hidden parts of ourselves. In essence, we are able to give ourselves the encouragement, support and love we've always longed for.

With the support of a qualified therapist, reparenting can create a safe experience for you to:

  • Be vulnerable
  • Feel supported
  • Learn to trust
  • Be confrontational without fear of abandonment
  • Learn about your hidden underlying needs and how to get them met
  • Finally experience a secure, healthy attachment

How it Works

While it may sound like a daunting task, reparenting is actually fairly straightforward. The main principle centers on offering yourself unconditional love. When you love and support a child, you don't condemn, judge or hurt them; instead, you give them attention, understanding, time, comfort and encouragement. You listen to them and treat them kindly. You don't have to give in to their every request, but you will hear them out and work to create a healthy solution that will meet their needs.

As you treat yourself with greater compassion and consider your thoughts and feelings, you will start to feel more whole and self-sufficient. Because reparenting can sometimes bring up old memories, it helps to do it under the guidance of a trusted therapist. That said, in essence, reparenting is merely the act of nurturing yourself like a concerned, supportive parent.

Every minute of the day provides an opportunity to be unconditionally loving, kind and nurturing to yourself. That is what your inner child wants and needs. You can actually be that caring parent you wish you could have had so many years ago. By taking great care of yourself today, you can honor the healing of your inner child and finally achieve that wholeness you've been seeking.

Our caring therapists can help you overcome life's greatest challenges. Contact us today!