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Inner Child Work: How to Reparent and Heal Your Inner Child

We all have an inner child.

This child can serve as the representation of your early years or a symbol of your playfulness and dreams.

An awareness of your inner child can help bring you back to lighter and carefree years.

Unfortunately, not everyone associates childhood with fun and playfulness.

If you have experienced trauma, neglect, and other emotional pain, your inner child will be vulnerable, small, and constantly in need of protection.

You may have buried the pain to cope.

However, hiding the pain won’t heal it.

Often, it will resurface in your adult life, manifesting itself as difficulty meeting your own needs or showing up as distress.

Working to heal your inner child can help you address the issues.

Ways to Heal Your Inner Child

Healing your inner child can take time.

However, healing your inner child is one of the best things you can ever do for yourself.

Below are some of the best things you can do for your inner child:

1. Acknowledge your inner child

To start the healing process, you need to first acknowledge the presence of your inner child.

If you resist or doubt the idea that you have an inner child, it becomes harder for you to begin the healing process.

If you feel awkward about opening up to your child self, consider thinking of inner child work as a self-discovery process.

Acknowledging your inner child will require accepting things that have caused you pain in childhood.

Bringing those hurts out into the light of day can help you understand their impact.

2.  Listen to What Your Inner Child Wants to Say

Once you open the connection with your inner child, it is crucial that you listen to how you feel.

The feelings often come up in situations that trigger discomfort, old wounds, or strong emotions.

You might notice the following:

  • Anger over needs that are unmet
  • Rejection or abandonment
  • Vulnerability
  • Insecurity
  • Shame or guilt
  • Anxiety

If you can associate the feelings and trace them back to certain events in childhood, you will realize that certain situations in your adult life trigger the same reaction.

For instance:

Your significant other becomes busy with work and does not have time for the special night you planned. 

While you are aware they would rather spend the time with you, you still feel frustrated and rejected. 

Your disappointment manifests in a childlike manner, with you stomping off and slamming the door.

Looking at things from the perspective of your inner child can offer some important insights into the scenario.

It is likely that your significant other’s absence made you feel just as you did when your parents canceled playdates, birthday parties, or other plans because of work.

This process can help you listen to the feelings of your inner child rather than pushing it all away or ignoring it exists.

3.  Write a Letter

To open a connection and dialogue with your inner child and start the healing process, write a letter to your inner child.

You can write about childhood memories from your perspective as an adult.

From the adult perspective, you can offer insights for distressing situations and circumstances that you didn’t understand back then because of your age.

Maybe you can’t understand why your mother is always mean to you but you learned to despise her just the same.

If you have realised that she too has experienced years of abuse and bullying, her behavior will make sense.

Sharing this insight and revelation with your inner child can help soothe some of the pain that lingers.

Writing a letter can also give you the opportunity to offer messages of comfort, reassurance, and love.

The following questions can help you keep the dialogue going:

How do you feel?

What do you need from me?

How can I support you?

Answering these questions can help you treat your inner child better.

4.  Try meditation.

Meditation can be an effective method to get answers from your inner child.

While meditation can do wonders for your physical and emotional health, it can also relate directly to inner child work.

Aside from helping boost mindful awareness, meditation can help you pay more attention to the feelings that often come up. 

Greater mindfulness can also make it easy for you to identify certain situations that trigger unhealthy reactions.

Children often have a difficulty naming uncomfortable emotions especially if they are not encouraged to express themselves.

They can bury or repress feelings to earn praise or avoid punishment from their parents.

You can also try loving-kindness meditation to send your inner child some love.

Visualisation meditation can also be a great tool for “visiting” your inner child as your adult self.

5.  Talk to a Therapist

Past trauma can bring and cause a lot of distress.

Therapists can create a safe space for you to navigate the emotional turmoil and discover helpful strategies that can help heal your inner child.

Therapists can also recognise how past events and childhood experiences can affect your relationships, overall well-being, and life. 

If you are considering getting to know our inner child more, look for a therapist that has experience in inner child healing.

Psychodynamically-oriented psychotherapy is considered a great fit.

Inner child therapy or inner child work also focuses on this process. 

Over to You

When needs for praise, recognition, love, and other types of emotional support are unmet in childhood, the trauma can manifest into adulthood.

The good news?

It is never too late to heal your inner child.

By nurturing and loving your inner child, you can validate and attend to those unmet needs, learn how to express your emotions the healthy way, and give your adult and inner child the love, gentleness, and compassion you once missed as a child.