The Complete Guide To Reparenting

The Complete Guide To Reparenting

Curious about inner child healing or reparenting work? You’re in the right place.

Our childhood shapes us in profound ways. This is where we learn to navigate emotions, build relationships, and set boundaries.

In a perfect world, we’d all have parents who could fully support our emotions and nurture our individuality. However, many of us grow up with parents who struggle with their own unhealed issues–and therefore unconsciously pass those onto us.

This doesn’t mean your parents didn’t love you. They simply parented from their own level of awareness. The good news is, you can heal from past experiences and rewrite your story through reparenting.

What is Your Inner Child?

No matter what your childhood was like, we all have an inner child. This inner child represents your vulnerable, authentic self, holding onto memories and emotions from early years. Positive experiences foster a healthy inner child, while neglect or trauma can leave lasting wounds (or a wounded inner child).

Even though your childhood was long ago, those wounds might still affect your life today, without you even realizing it. It’s not just about the original experience! We also create beliefs or stories around those wounds as well as protective behaviors, to try to keep ourselves safe. But through the healing process, we can shift those old beliefs and toxic behaviors to improve our lives moving forward.

Understanding Your Inner Child

Understanding your wounded inner child is crucial for reparenting. It involves acknowledging past experiences and their impact on you today.

You can start this work by simply tuning into this part of you. What do you think s/he needed back then? And now? How can you start to make that part of you feel more secure in this moment?

What is Reparenting?

Reparenting is the act of giving yourself the emotional support and guidance you may have missed as a child. (Or becoming your own loving parent!) It’s about self-compassion, understanding, and creating healthy habits.

Our childhood experiences have shaped who we are. We are carrying emotional baggage and unmet needs from the past. But the good news is that it’s never too late to heal! Reparenting exercises can help us heal and build self-compassion, so we can move through life with more self-esteem and confidence.

Signs Of A Wounded Inner Child

  • Feelings of inadequacy or low self-worth
  • Patterns of self-sabotage
  • Feeling emotionally disconnected
  • Toxic shame or strong guilt
  • Difficulty trusting others
  • Fear of abandonment or rejection
  • Chronic anxiety or depression
  • Addictive behaviors (shopping, scrolling, porn, substance abuse)
  • Difficulty advocating for yourself or setting boundaries
  • Prone to emotional outbursts

The Benefits of Reparenting Your Inner Child

Reparenting offers a transformative approach to inner healing. This process allows you to:

  • Create a loving relationship with yourself
  • Break the cycle of inherited generational wounds or old toxic patterns
  • Set healthy boundaries
  • Foster better parent-child relationships (if applicable)
  • Develop self-compassion and emotional growth

The Four Pillars of Reparenting

The goal of reparenting is to make your inner child feel supported and soothed again. Reparenting accomplishes this with a four-pillar approach:

1. Discipline

Reparenting your inner child isn’t about indulgence! Loving discipline is a huge component. In fact, this is the piece that feels the most parent like to me.

Rest assured, it’s not about punishment either. It’s about creating a safe container of rules and boundaries. It’s ultimately about support: encouraging you, offering direction, and providing structure.

Where do you need some loving discipline? Perhaps you need to force yourself to do something basic, like booking a teeth cleaning or setting up automatic bill payments. Maybe you need to commit to a solid morning or evening routine. Or perhaps it’s about setting boundaries, like cutting yourself off from toxic situations or relationships.

2. Self-Care

Self-care is one of those ideas that has become so popular that it’s become almost meaningless. However, it’s an important component of the reparenting process. Think of this as prioritizing both your physical and mental well-being.

Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating a healthy diet and getting some exercise? And most importantly, what’s your relationship like to yourself? Be gentle with yourself as much as possible, even if you have a loud Inner Critic voice.

This work might seem unrelated at first but it’s overall goal is important: it’s aim is to help you heal from unhealthy attachments and become self-reliant.

3. Joy

It’s important for kids to have creative, play and experience joy. And it’s important part of the healing process as well! Let yourself reconnect with some of the activities that bring you pure pleasure, either as a child or now. There is no “goal” to this other than joy, so let yourself really let loose.

Rediscovering your joy will boost your self-worth, happiness, and overall sense of well-being. Ultimately, it will create a more relaxed, kind, and accepting outlook on life.

4. Emotional Regulation

What scares us the most as children is not just the scary or confusing actions of the adults around us. It’s being left to cope with our very scary or painful emotions–all by ourselves.

Most of us didn’t learn how to emotionally regulate from our parents. In fact, many of our parents were extremely unregulated and we had to learn how to cope being around them.

Reparenting offers you the chance to be your own calming presence, offering emotional support and soothing techniques to manage challenges without negativity or bitterness.

Create Security With The 4 S’s

According to Dr. Dan Siegel, we can foster secure attachment in either ourselves or our children if we remember the following 4 “S”s:


One of our basic human needs is to be seen and acknowledged for who we are. Of course, this is much more just seeing with the eyes! It means perceiving them deeply and empathically — sensing the mind behind their behavior.

How can you be authentically seen by someone you love? Friend, lover, partner–it doesn’t matter who! It just matters that it happens.


Our inner child craves safety above all else. That means physical safety of course, but most of us need the emotional safety that we didn’t receive as children.

What actions or responses frighten or hurt your inner child then or now? What actions can you take to minimize those things?


When it gets upset, it’s important to soothe your inner child. Soothing is essential to help them deal with difficult emotions and situations.

What can you do to soothe yourself if you’re feeling sad, angry or upset? What can you put in your emotional healing toolbox to help you feel better the next time you’re triggered?


The ultimate goal of reparenting work is to help you (and your inner child) to feel secure. This is a feeling of calm confidence and inner well-being.

What can you do to feel safe and secure in this moment? What does your inner child need to feel secure? Perhaps this can arise from a trusted mantra. Maybe you have to remember a list of the previous times you’ve conquered a similar situation. Or perhaps you need to reach out to a trusted friend for a quick pep-talk.

How To Reparent Yourself: 4 Exercises To Heal Your Inner Child

Here are four exercises to help you reconnect with your inner child and heal:

1. Chat With Your Inner Child

One of the best things you can do for your inner child is to simply start a dialogue with them.

Take a few minutes somewhere safe and then tune in. Visualize your younger self (at whatever age seems appropriate). See them, offer them love and reassurance, and listen to their needs. If there’s anything you can do to soothe them, go ahead and do that.

Finish by promising you’ll always be there for them. Remind them that you’ve grown up and are so much stronger now. Then tell them you love them or give them a hug, etc.

2. Write A Letters to Your Younger Self

Pick an age from your past to focus on. Now sit yourself down and write that version of you a letter.

  • What do you want to tell them?
  • What words of love or assurance do you have for them?
  • What do you want them to know about your life now?

Of course, you can write down anything else that comes to mind as well.

(You can also try doing this in reverse at first!)

3. Journal Prompts

Journaling is a powerful way we can connect with our inner child. Here are a few prompts to get you started:

  • What does your Inner Child need to feel seen? Soothed? Safe? Secure?
  • What did your Inner Child need the most back then? And now?
  • What are some ways you can give that to him/her?
  • What does s/he want from you right now?
  • What does s/he want you to know? What do they want to express?
  • What can you do to let that inner child feel joy?

4. Use Reparenting Affirmations

Much of our cruel Inner Critic voice comes from the harsh or mean things we heard from our caretakers as children. But just like anything else, we can start to shift the way we speak to ourselves to be more loving

For this, I like to use gentle parenting phrases as affirmations. Here are some examples:

  • I’m growing and learning and that’s okay.
  • It’s safe for me to express myself.
  • It’s okay for me to have boundaries.
  • I only speak to myself with respect.
  • My actions and boundaries show how much I respect myself.
  • How can I be gentle and kind to myself right now?
  • I thank myself for doing _______.
  • I’m sorry that _______ didn’t work out but I know you tried your best.
  • I’m feeling sad right now. What can I do to help?
  • This (action) doesn’t make you feel very good. Next time let’s do _______.
  • Let’s work together to do X.

Using these positive affirmations daily will challenge your habitual negative self-talk and promote self-love.

Want more?

Ready to help your wounded inner child with the help of a therapist? But can’t quite afford to pay the full price? Try out BetterHelp for convenient, affordable therapy you can start at home.

So what did you think? Do you have a better understanding of your inner child? Which reparenting technique will you try out first?

Remember, anyone can do the reparenting work to heal their inner child, no matter how old you are! The beauty of reparenting is that by nurturing your inner child, you become a more empowered adult. You can stop subconsciously sabotaging yourself and find out who you’d have become with proper emotional support. By nurturing your inner child, you can build a more fulfilling and emotionally healthy life.

Jenn Stevens The Self-Worth Project

PS Looking for more? You might also want to check out this guide to shadow work, or what are the 5 core wounds.

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The Complete Guide To Reparenting

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