Parenting the inner child

photo of Gwen Randall-Young

by Gwen Randall-Young

The child is in me still and sometimes not so still. – Fred Rogers

The young child acts completely out of ego. It is all about what the child wants or does not want. The point of view of others matters little, if at all.

If it is not going well, the child reacts. The inner child also experiences fear, vulnerability and sometimes abandonment. Coping strategies are developed and the child’s view of self is based on the way others respond to him or her. In order to be liked and/or accepted, one needs to please others. The child is totally dependent and whatever the problem, it is the other person’s fault for the child cannot see things from the perspective of others.

If we are unaware of this inner child aspect of our being, it continues to influence our attitude and personality – without restraint. This can create havoc in all areas of life, particularly in relationships.

When we are aware of it, we realize our ego reactions stem from the inner child. We can then make the choice to not let this aspect control us. We recognize we also have a higher self or soul consciousness and can choose to view situations from this perspective and respond accordingly.

In order for this to happen, we need to embrace, express and heal our inner child. This means we see the wounds, insecurities, fears, reactions and beliefs that developed long ago and that we still carry on some level.

Instead of looking outside of ourselves for other people, situations or things to make us feel okay, we need to learn to give that feeling to ourselves. This involves being the unconditionally loving and supportive parent to our inner child that we may never have had when we were young.

This means we do not bully ourselves, put ourselves down or compare ourselves to others. We give ourselves positive feedback even when things go wrong. We might say, “That’s okay, we will learn from this and move on.”

We do not worry what others think of us – we tell the inner child that no matter what, he or she will always have our love and support and we will never leave. We explain to our inner child that it is more important to speak our truth and be authentic than to try to be what others want us to be.

If we are easily hurt by others, feel victimized, take things personally, feel life is not fair, get angry often or blame our unhappiness on others, the inner child is the one in charge. This is a hard way to live because the world simply will not reshape itself to suit our needs.

When we take responsibility for the thoughts and feelings of our inner child, we are free to live authentically. We know how to self-nurture and comfort ourselves. We have the strength to get ourselves out of situations that are not good for us. We look for solutions to problems rather than dwelling on them or blaming others.

We also know the importance of play and doing things we love. We can be the best parent a child could ever want to our own inner child. It is a life changing choice and never too late.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and psychotherapist in private practice. For articles and information about her books, Deep Powerful Change hypnosis CDs and new Creating Healthy Relationships series, visit See display ad this issue.

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