Your parents are the people who impact your growth into the person you are today more than anyone else. In an ideal situation, they teach you how to be a better person and help you become emotionally mature.
However, this is not always the case. Sadly, sometimes, they are the cause of all of your demons which continue to haunt you for the rest of your life.
When you grow up in an unhealthy and toxic parenting environment, you continue your parents’ behavior patterns throughout your adulthood.
Basically, you keep on treating yourself the way they treated you while you were a child, without being aware of it.
Well, the only way to change this practice is to engage in self parenting.
This is a process in which you form an interaction between your inner parent and inner child and a process in which you have a chance to raise yourself all over again and it includes a set of exercises that help you get back to your childhood and heal your inner child.
Self parenting gives you a chance to resolve the inner conflicts you’ve been dealing with ever since you can remember and to consciously choose different behavior patterns and coping mechanisms than the ones you’re used to.
Identify the problem
Before you even start to self parent yourself, first and foremost you have to get to the bottom of your personality.
At first, you might think that this is a piece of cake because who knows you better than yourself. However, things probably won’t go as smoothly as you expect them to.
You see, we’re all troubled in a way and have some personality traits we would like to change. Maybe we’re talking about some deeply rooted traumas, insecurities or trust issues that you need to find a way to handle.
Either way, the problem with introspection is always the same; you have to dig deep inside of your soul and uncover all the layers of your personality that you show to the world and are conscious of.
You need to go back to your childhood and identify where the troubles started. What happened that made you become the person you are today?
What is the source of your emotional instability? What brought you to this point in time and what was the main trigger of all of your troubles?
Basically, what you have to do in this step of the self-parenting program is to understand what went wrong in your relationship with your parents.
As an adult, what do you see as their mistakes? From this point of view, what should your parents have done differently?
This shouldn’t serve you as an excuse to judge your parents’ raising methods.
Trust me on this one—no parent is perfect. Instead, they all make some errors and you won’t be different toward your children.
So, instead of focusing on resentment toward them, just have in mind that they did their best to raise you.
Of course, I’m not talking about abusive parents here; I’m talking about seemingly normal or perfect parents who made some mistakes with their children.
Well, now it’s your job to correct those mistakes in your own way.
Accept that reparenting is a process
If you expect to resolve all of your issues in the blink of an eye, think again. Don’t even start the process of self-parenting if you’re not ready to make some sacrifices.
It takes years to raise a child, especially if you do it the right way so what makes you think that you will be able to reparent yourself overnight?
Parenting yourself is a process that takes a lot of time, energy, effort and devotion.
There are some deeply rooted issues embedded in you that need resolving and nobody will give you a magic stick to help you fix all of them.
However, the good news is that all (or at least most) of this depends exclusively on you. You’re no longer just a child who depends on their parents’ raising strategies and methods.
For a change, this time, you’re both an adult and a kid. It means that you have all the control in your hands.
Therefore, it’s up to you how well you’ll handle this situation. It depends on whether you’ll take it seriously enough and whether you’ll end up helping yourself the right way.
Forget about your parents’ behavior patterns
Whether we like to admit it or not, the truth is that we all spend our entire lives marked by the ways our parents raised us.
Even if some of us invest all of our energy in doing the opposite to them, that is still their impact we usually don’t see.
Well, now it’s time to get rid of all of that. No, this doesn’t mean that you should go no contact with your parents, especially if that is something you don’t have a desire to do.
I’m just asking you to stop seeing them only as parent figures for a moment. Instead, observe them as individuals and human beings with their good and bad sides.
Seeing them like this, you’ll also realize that the world is not black and white. Not everything they did was wrong but not everything was right either.
What I’m trying to ask you to do is to start over. Forget about your parents’ behavior patterns and try disregarding the way they did things while you were a child.
Now, you’re your own parent. There are no more questions such as what they would do in this situation or what they would think about some of your actions.
It’s more than obvious that you didn’t have the right parenting models, otherwise, you wouldn’t be here. Therefore, you’ll get nowhere if you keep on focusing on those patterns.
I’m not saying that you should forget your past; after all, that’s exactly what brought you here. Nevertheless, you should stop seeing it as some kind of a compass that leads you through life.
Remember—everything is in your hands now and you’re in charge so it’s up to you to reshape the parenting behavior patterns you were used to as a kid.
Locate your inner parent and your own inner child
People usually differentiate between your childhood and adulthood behavior. Up to a certain point in your life, you’re observed exclusively as a kid and after some age, you’re an adult.
There is not much discussion about this. In fact, it is well-known about how you should behave while you’re a child and what you should do once you finally grow up.
In fact, the world puts you in a box. There are some social standards regarding your responsibilities and even your emotions connected to periods of your life.
However, the truth is quite different. Despite this popular opinion, the reality is that we all have our inner child and adult self inside of us.
Just because you’re a grown person, it doesn’t mean that your inner child has magically vanished. Instead, it is still much present inside of you.
Not only that but it also has a set of emotions, desires, fears and demands. This child has a bigger impact on your life today than you can imagine.
The point is that most people ignore this child’s existence. You’re trapped in your everyday busy life and you simply don’t have the time or the energy to raise a human being inside of you.
Besides, people often assume that identifying with your inner child is immature. The modern world expects you to leave this kid behind and to act like the real adult you are.
However, for the sake of your mental health and emotional balance, you have to do the complete opposite.
You have to locate both your inner parent and your inner child and finally, you have to bring peace between these two parts of your personality.
After all, this is the only way to resolve your inner conflicts and the only way for your reparenting process to be done the right way.
Learn to acknowledge your emotions
One of the biggest issues people have once they reach adulthood is that they didn’t learn to process emotions when they were little. Actually, their parents didn’t show them this skill when they should have.
Your emotions have a bigger purpose in life. They are there to help you decide on important things that happen to you and to help you process whatever is going on around you.
Life isn’t just about finding solutions to your problems; it’s also about knowing how to identify your emotions, learning to name them properly, and most importantly, knowing how to handle them in the healthiest ways possible.
Well, the problem is that at an early age, most kids are taught that some feelings are bad; that it’s not okay to be angry, it’s not socially acceptable to be overly sad and that being resentful is a bad characteristic.
At least, this is what you were told when you were a child. There were appropriate emotions you were allowed to feel as a little girl and which were ‘normal’ for you if you were a little boy.
Consequently, most people grow into adults who repress their emotions. As a child, you were overwhelmed by your feelings and nobody was there to tell you how to process them correctly.
This is exactly why one of the first self-parenting exercises you should engage in is connected to identifying your feelings. You shouldn’t allow them to define you completely but you can’t ignore them either.
Instead, the way to do it is to acknowledge your emotions. Notice that they exist, whether you like it or not, since it’s the only way to resolve them the right way.
Identify your inner child’s needs
Another huge problem most children struggle with is expressing their needs. As a child, you don’t have the skills to verbalize what you need emotionally and those habits remain throughout your adulthood.
Well, it’s about time to change that. A positive self parenting style includes identifying your inner child’s needs and acting accordingly.
Remember that your own child is vulnerable and needs protection. They need reassurance and most importantly, the love you didn’t get when you should have.
However, before acting on these requests, firstly you have to name them and this is another thing that won’t happen in the blink of an eye.
Please, be brave enough to dig under the surface. Ask your inner child what it missed out on when it was younger and how you can help them get those things.
If necessary, stand in front of a mirror and start a dialogue. Talk to yourself like you’d talk to someone else and don’t feel crazy for doing so.
An experienced self-parenting practitioner will advise you to verbalize your inner child’s needs through conversation or writing.
Some people find it easier to put their needs on a piece of paper and a good tip is to start writing a journal. Go back to your childhood and write down each one of your needs which wasn’t met in the right way.
I’m not talking about materialistic things you didn’t get here; instead, focus on your emotional needs which were not met.
If you have trouble verbalizing these needs or staying away from negative self-talk, there are numerous support groups that can help you achieve this.
Give yourself what you didn’t get as a child
Now that you’ve listed all of your emotions and needs, it’s time to start fulfilling them. The truth is that you live in the real-world, which means that you can’t go back to the past and actually help the child you were.
Nevertheless, what you can do now is correct the mistakes your parents made.
I know you were told to ignore their behavior patterns but now is the time when you’ll sadly have to go back over their errors, so you can correct them.
The time when you should learn from their mistakes, so you never repeat them again. The time to give yourself everything you didn’t get as a child.
However, this doesn’t always include only things such as unconditional love, support and attention. Yes, your inner child should finally get safety, self-care, validation and encouragement.
Nevertheless, in some cases, they also need boundaries and discipline which they weren’t given in time.
First and foremost, you have to create a safe environment for your inner parent and inner child. These two personalities need to find a way to form a healthy communication.
Secondly, you need to go back to the past and revive some memories from your childhood.
Remember all the times you wanted to cry but felt you couldn’t? All the times when you were bullied in school but didn’t have the courage to tell your parents what was going on?
Remember all those situations where you just needed their hug? Where you craved their words of reassurance and for them to hold your hand and tell you that everything was going to be okay?
All these things you didn’t receive left holes in you. In fact, they shaped you into becoming the person you are today and are the main cause of all of the issues you’re struggling with at the present time.
Well, now is the moment in which you have to go back to each one of those specific situations and give yourself what you missed back then.
If necessary, hug yourself and make the physical connection between your inner child and inner parent.
Look at yourself in the mirror and give your inner child strong eye contact. Tell them that you understand them and that you’re here, without the intention of ever abandoning them.
Don’t do this just as a part of the self-parenting exercises. Instead, make sure your inner child is healed from all the wounds it felt in the past.
Most importantly, make sure it truly feels the new emotions you’re here to provide them with. Don’t give up until your inner child really senses this support, reassurance or boundaries that you’re giving them.
Treat yourself like someone you love
The problem with most adults is that they don’t engage in enough self-care. You’re a kind person and an empath but only when it comes to others.
You’re there to help everyone in your surroundings—your friends, family members, co-workers and even strangers but you don’t practice any self-help.
No matter how busy you are, you’ll always find time to listen to your closest ones. You’ll put much effort into walking a mile in their shoes and looking at things from their point of view.
You’re always there to have their back, to listen to them, to give them a hand and to make them smile.
You’ll never turn anyone down when they ask you for help and you’re eager to be the support system they need; to be the silver lining to their cloud, the light at the end of their tunnel and a shoulder for them to cry on.
Basically, you treat everyone you love with special care. Nevertheless, what you seem to forget is that you should love yourself, which includes loving your inner child as well, more than anyone else.
No, this doesn’t make you selfish. It only means that you understand that you can never be happy without proper self-care.
Let me give you an example. If your friend called you in the middle of the night, telling you that they felt bad, what would you do? Of course, you’ll put all of your obligations aside and run to help them.
You won’t question whether they have the right to be sad or distressed. You’ll never tell them that they’re exaggerating and you certainly won’t ignore their cry for help.
You won’t tell them to sleep it off and advise them to ignore their pain and expect it to magically go away the next day.
Nevertheless, this is exactly what you do with your inner child. This is what you do to yourself when you need your own self-help.
You keep accusing yourself of being emotionally unstable or too sensitive, without any self-compassion. Every time you don’t give yourself a hand, you’re indirectly implying that you should toughen up.
For some people, it’s difficult to acknowledge their inner child right away, in order to help themselves. Well, if this is something you can relate to, start with seeing yourself as a good friend.
What piece of advice would you give to someone you love if they were in the situation you’re in now? Use this advice on yourself and finally, start treating yourself as the person you love most in this world.
The point of self-compassion is to avoid any negative self-talk. It’s to give yourself better care than you give to others and to make sure your well-being always comes first.
Set clear goals and expectations
As a good parent, you have to set your child clear goals and expectations. Your adult self can’t resolve your inner conflicts unless you do this the right way.
What is it that you want to achieve? What are the concrete emotional wounds you are looking forward to healing? What kind of adult do you want your inner child to become?
It’s crucial that you don’t underestimate your child within. Have faith that you can accomplish great things and show your inner child that you have faith in them.
You see, many children didn’t live up to their full potential for one reason only; their parents didn’t believe in them. Well, now you have the unique opportunity to change that.
Show your inner child that they can reach unimaginable heights. Show them that you don’t have any doubt in their abilities and let them know that they can achieve whatever they set their mind to.
Nothing is impossible. However, you can’t accomplish anything unless you have clear goals and an activity plan. Start with reaching small milestones and go on from there.
Nevertheless, you also need to make sure not to achieve the opposite effect. Some parents make the mistake of expecting too much of their children.
These children feel overly pressured and they’re usually overwhelmed and pushed too hard, which makes them feel like underachievers, despite everything good they accomplish.
Consequently, they grow up into overly demanding adults and they constantly judge themselves for not being better or more efficient. It’s the same with your inner child.
This is why you have to have reasonable expectations as well. Basically, the key is to make a balance between believing in yourself but without pushing yourself over the limits of your abilities.
Make a strict schedule
It would be amazing if kids could turn into respectable adults just by giving them enough love, care and attention.
However, sadly, things don’t always go that way.
In fact, there are numerous examples of good parents who gave their children everything they wished for; they were there for them and loved them unconditionally, no matter what, but essentially, they didn’t care enough for their well-being and these parents failed to put strict boundaries on their children.
These parents didn’t teach their children not to eat junk food, they allowed them to play video games or to go out with their friends as much as they wanted.
Basically, they didn’t give them any discipline and consequently, didn’t raise them right.
That is why all self-parenting practitioners will advise you to make a strict schedule in your life. Have a plan and be committed to it as possible.
You see, adulthood is not always about doing the things we love and enjoy doing. On the contrary, sometimes it’s about duties, obligations, and responsibilities.
Well, it’s your job to teach your inner child each of these things. What’s a better way for you to learn than through your own example?
Don’t get yourself trapped in a comfort zone but make some habits. Eat healthily, stick to the same sleeping schedule and don’t procrastinate.
Trust me; this is the only way in which your inner child can become a successful adult.