What is Reparenting?

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What is reparenting? This question often comes up with my clients. Many adults look back at their childhood and can see clearly that they were subjected to abuse that has significantly affected them negatively as an adult.

They lack the ability to be able to offer themselves the same empathy and compassion a parent usually offers and because of this are struggling to form healthy relationships with friends and family. They can also struggle to connect with people and as a result feel that their behaviour is damaging to others.

Reparenting can look like myself taking on the role as ‘parent’ where i support the client through their struggles and help them learn various strategies that allow them to become their own parental voice.

It can also look like getting in touch with our ‘inner child’ to identify their needs AND wants. Then applying this to everyday life to enrich and empower our interactions.

It can also look like giving our self the things that we did not get for our caregivers growing up and learning social-emotional skills.

The benefits to reparenting is by having the support of another individual we can safely heal from the past from the point of view of having an emotional safety net to pick us up each time we fall. Which is often the case whilst healing from childhood trauma. Healing is not linear and often can be a roller coaster.

Some of the skills we did not learn as a child could be:

Communication Skills – The ability the express yourself clearly and effectively. To identify your needs in any given situation and assertively get these needs met. The ability to resolve conflict.

Self Care – The ability to identify your needs and meet them. Realising that your needs matter and that you are deserving of care, compassion and love.

Awareness & Acceptance of Personal Feelings – The ability to build emotional competence, to be able to identify feeling and emotions and see the value in these.

Emotional Regulation – Learning healthy coping skills in order to calm and comfort your self in times of stress or discomfort.

Self validation – Having the ability to know you matter, your feelings are valid regardless of external circumstances of view points.

Boundaries & Healthy Relationships – Setting boundaries with friends, families, partners and others. Having the ability to uphold boundaries. Finding relationships that are based around great communication, mutual respect and trust. Having the ability to be emotionally/physically and where appropriate intimately vulnerable with safe people. Caring for others and letting others care for you. Being able to recognise unhealthy relationships and red flags, so you can end these quickly. Becoming happy to spend time alone and feeling whole without another’s help.

Self Discipline – Holding yourself accountable when setting boundaries both for other people but also boundaries on yourself. Creating healthy habits that put you first and are for your greatest good.

Accountability – Taking responsibility for your actions without blame. Apologising or making amends where you have made a mistake. Learning that taking all the blame is not healthy. Following through on commitments and goals. Showing yourself compassion and understanding without harsh self criticism or punishment.

Self Love and Compassion – Showing yourself as much love and compassion as you do others. Acknowledging your successes, how far you have come and the efforts you re going through daily.

Resiliency – Being able to overcome set backs and belief in yourself.

Frustration Tolerance – Accepting that sometimes things do not go the way we have planned. People do not have to see things from our perspective and handling this with kindness and grace.

By learning some or all of the above we can better handle relationships and friendships that enhance our lives. We learn to be our own inner voice, but one that is empowering and compassionate that helps us to feel positive about ourselves and our life circumstances. We can then set a healthy example to those around us, who will follow suit in treating us as kindly as we treat ourselves.

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