Reparenting exercises to heal the inner child can be an intense but profoundly positive aspect of inner child work.
Reparenting Exercises to Heal the Inner Child
Reparenting exercises are an excellent way to actively work on personal growth, especially for anyone who has experienced trauma in childhood. It’s worth noting here that trauma exists in many forms, and may be as a result of physical or emotional abuse, or neglect.
For those harbouring inner child wounds, reparenting can be enormously valuable. Using reparenting exercises to heal the inner child can liberate you from the residual pain and associated triggers which often result in self-sabotaging behaviours, and enable you to live a more balanced and peaceful life.
What is Reparenting?
Reparenting is a way of nurturing your inner child, with the goal of healing historic wounds and breaking negative patterns of behaviour.
How Do You Reparent Yourself?
You take on the role of a caring adult towards your inner child, in order to retrospectively provide for unmet needs.
The theory is that in offering compassion to your wounded inner child, your adult self is able to process and make peace with the pain experienced in childhood.
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Healing the Inner Child: Exercises to Purge Pain and Achieve Peace
So, how does reparenting work in practice?
There are several different ways you you can practice reparenting. These may include the following exercises:
- Letter writing
Why Healing Your Inner Child Should Be a Priority
We’re all influenced and shaped by childhood experiences. For those who suffer severe pain or trauma, it’s normal to develop self-preservation techniques.
While these techniques serve a purpose for young children, they’re not appropriate in adulthood and left unchecked, they can manifest as self-sabotaging behaviours.
How Inner Child Healing Exercises Can Help You Grow and Thrive
Destructive patterns of behaviour are often caused by historic wounds causing us to inappropriately react to triggers.
By actively working towards healing your inner child, it should be possible to identify these triggers. Combined with practicing self-acceptance and self-compassion towards our inner child, we can interrupt our self-sabotaging reactions.
Over time this should lead to more stability and harmony, and a new sense of peace.
6 Reparenting Exercises to Heal Childhood Trauma
Here are six reparenting exercises to try to heal the inner child:
1. Reparenting Therapy and Self-Reparenting Therapy
Reparenting therapy taps into attachment theory and how the kind of attachment you experienced as child can impact your adult life.
There are pros and cons to working with a therapist, versus self-reparenting where you work through reparenting techniques alone, using some of the methods shared below.
For more in-depth reading about attachment theory and reparenting therapy I recommend reading more about inner child work.
2. Letter to Inner Child
In this activity you write a letter to your childhood self. The purpose of the exercise is to:
- Validate your childhood trauma, pain, and/or disappointment;
- Remove feelings of blame or guilt you may have carried for situations you had no control over;
- Retrospectively offer the compassion to your childhood self was missing at the time;
- Help you to heal historic wounds;
- Reach a place of forgiveness if relevant, because your soul deserves peace.
The letter should address the challenges you faced as a child and the distress they caused. Offer comfort and solace to the inner child, and the reasons it’s okay to grieve – and then let go of the pain to make way for a more positive future.
3. Unsent Letter to Parents
If your parent/s were the source of your childhood angst, you can write an alternative letter addressed to one or both of them.
Remember this is an exercise to help you heal rather than a letter you will actually send – write from the heart, as your childhood self, with no regard for preserving others’ feelings.
This activity is not about finding common ground or making peace with your parents – it’s about making peace with yourself.
Naturally completing this exercise may make you consider the idea of writing a real letter to your parent/s, and that’s fine. You can do that too if you wish. But first make the time to purge your childhood hurts in an uncensored version, by way of the unsent letter.
4. Reparenting Journaling Prompts
Journaling is such a powerful method of self-improvement and personal growth. In fact, each of the above is a form of journaling.
You can also try some inner child journaling prompts to really dig deep into this area and work on identifying and processing the historic wounds you carry from childhood.
5. Inner Child Meditation
Inner child meditation is another intense but deeply beneficial way to access your wounded inner child in order to heal yourself.
The theory is that you’re in the perfect position to retrospectively provide yourself with the compassion you missed out on as a child. While it’s not possible to ever experience the love and warmth you deserved at the time – as all children do – you can do this for yourself now.
This form of meditation is a profound way of reconnecting with and liberating your inner child.
6. Reparenting Affirmations
Affirmations have been proven to be an incredibly empowering technique. They can be used to establish, support, and enhance self-esteem, self-efficacy, and self-worth.
Practicing positive affirmations may feel strange to begin with, so if you’re not entirely comfortable reciting them as a mantra, you can journal them instead.
Either way, they’re a hugely valuable tool to have in your self-development arsenal.
If you’re feeling brave, why not also read about the benefits of shadow work?