How To Heal And Re-parent Your Inner Child

Your Inner Child is the echo of the child you once were. We each have our own history and we have all been influenced by our environment, events and the significant people around us. Our inner child has stored those memories, and their impact upon us.

Go to the profile of Maxine Harley
Jun 19, 2017
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You may have heard the term 'inner child' and thought it was just another bit of ‘psycho-babble’ - even though the term has been around for many years now.

Your Inner Child is the echo of the child you once were.

We each have our own history and we have all been influenced by our environment, events and the significant people around us. Our inner child has stored those memories, and their impact upon us.

Up to the age of six years, our brain was functioning at a relatively slow pace —the Theta brainwave frequency of 4-7 cycles per second—which is a very ‘receptive’ brainwave state, and we would have been profoundly affected by our experiences.

We will have made ‘decisions’ at a sub-conscious level, about how we ‘should’ be and what we ‘should’ do in order to be seen as OK, and to be allowed to stay around and to ‘survive’ in our families.

Our later experiences will have reinforced these beliefs and formed our own ‘Script’ for how our life ‘should’ be. We carry these immature scripts and decisions with us into adulthood — when they run our lives more than 90% of the time.

It therefore makes sense that we should revisit the experiences of the child we once were, and to find out what our own script says about our life and the unfolding drama we have been re-creating and repeating.

Not doing so will result in our playing out of the same unexamined script and drama over and over again.

We cannot change the script by talking about it, or by conscious effort alone. It was designed to keep us safe—albeit in ways that now hinder us—and so it isn’t given up that easily!

Most of the time we are living life like a child inside a grown-up's body - and the child within us yearns for attention, understanding, care and support.

We may try to silence these deeper longings with alcohol or drugs, by promiscuity, gambling, over-spending, over-eating, work-a-holism, self-harming and other ways of avoiding the real and deeper needs we have. Needs which we haven’t allowed ourselves to become fully aware of, or to find a way to have sufficiently met.

Where does it begin?

We have all been influenced by our environments since the time we were in our mother's womb. 

The sounds around us, our mother's stress levels, the abundance or deficit of the ‘feel-good’ hormones and neuro-peptides, our nourishment or lack of it, complications, twin pregnancies, drugs, alcohol, and infections will all have played their part in how safe we felt even before we were born.

Then the actual birth experience, and our early infant care, and the ‘emotional availability’ of our mother will have either reinforced or soothed the impact of those first pre-natal influences.

As small children we will have been absorbing a great deal from our extended families, our caregiver(s), friends, pre-school and early school years, and religious institutions.

We may not have had words for these experiences but they will have been ‘logged’ in our sub-conscious minds and bodies.

This all creates the pool in which we float, or sink. Inevitably, the water will be a bit dirty - or it may even be like thick mud.

In this pool resides our self-esteem, body-image, family trauma, shame and secrets (even if not spoken about—as they all affect the quality of the care our caregivers are able to show to us).

We will sink down into this pool, or mud, whenever we are overwhelmed by our negative thoughts, emotions, self-doubt or self-loathing.

In therapy the aim should be to sensitively lift out this dirt and mud, bit by bit, until we are left with just a stain of what was once there.

We must also learn how not to ‘top-it-up’ with more mud—either by doing that ourselves, or by being around other people who want to dump some of their own mud onto us, instead of dealing with it, and cleaning it up, for themselves.

Signs that your Inner Child is wounded

These will be shown in low self-esteem, poor body-image, mood and emotional imbalances, problems with boundaries being too rigid or too weak, problems with eating, harming yourself, psycho-sexual difficulties, being ‘false’ and wearing ‘masks’, identity problems, being a rebel/ a hoarder/ a bully/ a perennial victim or a super-achiever, intimacy problems, commitment problems, a general lack of trust in yourself and others, criminal behaviour, excessive lying, being ‘overly-responsible’ for others, being fiercely competitive and a poor loser, dependencies and addictions, a lack of genuine friends, obsessive and needy behaviour, fear of authority figures, being manipulative, being passive, or being aggressive.

That’s a long—and sadly not exhaustive—list. It is the stuff that brings people into psychotherapy. To repair and heal the wounds caused by parents, and others, who didn’t know any better. It is always about the unmet needs of the Inner Child - the place of both our early wounding and the most profound healing!

What can we do to help our wounded Inner Child?

We can learn how to meet, rescue and ‘adopt’ this wounded child who still lives deep inside us. After all, you are the only person who you can guarantee never to leave you!

We can then emotionally contain and soothe our Inner Child, and allow the Competent Adult inside us to ‘attend to business’ out in the world.

However, we must regularly keep in touch with what our Inner Child still needs from us—which is, to be truly cared for by someone who wants the very best for them—that's you!

If you have a photograph of yourself as a small child, this will help you to empathically reconnect with him/her— the aim of which is to now understand their plight and to show them/yourself the compassion which has been missing.

It is often easier to feel compassion for other people than it is for yourself and you may have been rejecting and ignoring the yearning of your Inner Child - who has been calling out to you, over many years, for your interest, attention, compassion and love.

It may mean you now allowing yourself to have ‘treats’ and rewards that you would never have allowed yourself, or have been allowed by your parents, in the past.

The sensible competent Adult part of you should be able to set fair and sensible boundaries around this, so that you do not over-indulge yourself, or use any rewards as either a distraction or as a cover up for your deeper pain.

[If you have difficulties accessing this Adult part of your inner psyche then psychotherapy will be of help to you, providing that it includes this aspect of integrating the hidden or lost aspects of your character and personality, to help you on your path to becoming a more well-rounded and complete person.]

Rescuing and re-parenting your Inner Child will allow you to ‘fill in the gaps’ and enable you to live a more positive and rewarding life—with fun, laughter, spontaneity, authenticity, and most importantly, with love.

I want to heartily encourage you to re-parent yourself and your inner child by lovingly caring for her and by doing these things as often as you can (these apply to both boys and girls)...

  • Remind yourself how special and wonderful you were as a child

  • Have a safe place that you can bring to mind where you and your inner child can meet and play together

  • When you speak kindly to your inner child each day, have a loving and soothing inner voice – one that is supportive, soft, nurturing, patient and comforting

  • Tell her/him she is now loved, valued, and appreciated by you

  • Be sure to tell your inner little girl that shedoesn't have to prove herself to anyone

  • She has nothing to feel guilty or ashamed about. None of what happened to her was ever her fault. She didn't deserve to be treated badly.

  • She was just in the wrong place and had no means of escape – but she is now free at last!

  • There is nothing wrong with her/him.Tell them how proud you are of them

  • She needs to feel respected. Don't tolerate disrespect ever again

  • Tell her that you will be her guardian, champion and protector from now on. Things will be OK and you will never let her come to any more harm

  • She need never again fear being alone because you are always there for her now

  • Apologise for not being aware of her pain and needs in the past, and of pushing her too hard sometimes to try and impress others

  • Assure her that you will only allow safe, trustworthy and respectful people into your/her world now. Notice loving mothers who are caring for their babies and absorb that loving energy between a mother and child

  • Reassure her that you will be alongside her either to speak up on her behalf, or to support her when she speaks up

  • Agree upon a symbol of her freedom...something for her to summon up whenever she feels the need to escape and be alone with her thoughts. This might be (as some of my own clients have imagined) a ladder, a floating bubble, a sci-fi teleporter, a hot air balloon...anything that comes to mind that you/she can associate with release and freedom

  • Regularly ask her how she's feeling and what she wants. Imagine sitting alongside that little girl, putting your arm around her shoulders and gently pulling her close to your heart.

  • She has a home in your heart that she will never have to leave. She is safe with you now

  • If she wants to cry let her cry, and be there as her new mother to wipe her tears and soothe her pain or fear. Accept all her feelings and don't react negatively to what comes up. Be patient with her

  • Remember that healing happens in different ways and time-frames. Promise to do your best to bring her the joy that has been missing from her life – and this will be profoundly healing for you both.

  • Show respect to your body - the home of your inner child. Keep it clean and toxin free. Keep it safe and happy... like a good caring home should be

  • Think of her emotional healing as being like the physical healing of a wound – one step at a time. Keep the wound free of further contamination. Avoid toxic people and environments. Don't ever let her swallow any more poison – particularly if you still keep in touch with toxic/unhealed family members

  • Get back those things that brought you joy as a child – no matter how fleeting. Be sure to make a big thing of her birthdays and Christmas, holidays and achievements

  • Set up creative activities for your playful inner child to enjoy! Bouncing, dancing, crafts, finger painting and anything else that takes her fancy. Drawing – from the right brain – is a great way to express your inner child's feelings. Allow doodling and unstructured drawing and see what emerges when you're in the 'zone' of childlike creativity. Don't judge her efforts... just as you wouldn't judge a child bringing her art work home from school to show you. Be proud and show it!

  • Sing songs from childhood (whether you could sing well back then or not). Release any shame dumped on you for your singing ability - and instead enjoy stretching your vocal chords and making your own sounds that come from your heart and reach out into the world

  • Encourage her to loosen up and allow physical and emotional intimacy (this will enhance your own sexual intimacy too). She must feel safe and unconditionally accepted to be able to do this. Show her that she can trust her own instincts and be guided by her own 'antennae' as to who is safe. She may doubt her ability based upon her mistakes in the past. You are healing now and as you grow in love for yourself and your life you won't want or allow anyone close to your inner child if they don't align with that self love and a conscious caring relationship

  • Whenever you have to leave your deliberate connection with her, always imagine placing her back inside the warmth and safety of your loving heart.

Please remember that your inner child is a real part of your sub-conscious mind – a wounded child who needs your love, care and compassion...because no-one else can heal her pain and help her to make peace with the past.

Maxine Harley (MSc Integrative Psychotherapy)  MIND HEALER & MENTOR – for lots of FREE resources to inform and support your inner child's healing and recovery, including How To S.H.I.E.L.D. Yourself From A Toxic Parent, and How To Detox From A Toxic Parent, and the childhood recovery programmes called 'RECOVER FROM YOUR MOTHER', and 'CAST OFF YOUR FATHER'S SHADOW' – helping women who want to understand and manage their emotions, boundaries and behaviours – and to FEEL better, so they can BE, DO and HAVE better! – a series of 10 online self-help workshops covering a wide range of emotional and life difficulties – helping you to help yourself to a calmer happier life - changing the sub-conscious belief system and S.C.R.I.P.T. (c) - Sub-Conscious-Rules-Infuencing-Present-Time 

Go to the profile of Maxine Harley

Maxine Harley

MIND HEALER & MENTOR - Psychotherapist (MSc), Author, Columnist & Blogger. Please see and, S.E.L.E.C.T. Your Life Company Ltd.

I help women to FEEL better - so they can BE, DO and HAVE better! As a MIND HEALER I specialise in helping women to recover from a troubled childhood and toxic parents, to heal and transcend their emotional wounds, re-parent their inner child, and make peace with their past. This enables and empowers them to become better parents, partners, professionals - and all round happier calmer people :-) As a MENTOR I offer different levels of therapeutic self development - including MINDING YOUR BUSINESS, MINDING THE GAP, and MIND MASTERY...please discover more at


Go to the profile of Salisha Paccione
Salisha Paccione 2 months ago

Thank you Maxine. I'm just becoming aware of my inner child. This was good info.  I hope to see more of your posts in the near future. I think you can help me and a lot of wounded folks. 

Go to the profile of Maxine Harley
Maxine Harley 2 months ago

Thank you so much Salisha for taking the time to comment on my post - I really do appreciate it.

If you'd like to read more about inner child healing, and recovery from a troubled childhood, there's a whole page full of free resources on my website.

Please get in touch with me if I can be of any further help to you and your inner child.

Warmest regards,

Maxine -

Go to the profile of Isabella Daniels
Isabella Daniels 2 months ago

The one I was in love with used my vulnerability as an opportunity to degrade, punish and humiliate me. I became his emotional slave. He abused me. I walked away. My perception of the world, of people, of love completely shattered. The abuse finished what was left on my heart off. Rationally I knew he was abusive. Emotionally I loved him and thought I could fix him. I think about him all the time but he don't speak to me. I was so burdened with intense fear that I am worthless and will never feel love again because of what I was subjected to by the person I loved like no other at the worst possible time of my life that I cannot believe life can ever be as it was before. It damaged and scarred me so much I fear no-one will ever be interested in someone with so much pain. Every antidote to the situation - drinking, having sex, talking, eating - creates another layer of problems so you avoid but all you want is something to stop it hurting. so when the pain became more unbearable, then i had to reach out to Dr akana for Online spell help, and when i read more about him and found out that he is the strongest Priest in Asia, then i felt relief and got more courage to out his spells to try. he told me that my husband was going to come back home with 100% loving me and the kids and that my family is going to be reunited back again after he put a spell on him. the greatest miracle i have ever seen was that 24 hours later after his spell casting, my Husband called me telling me he was sorry for ever leaving me and also told me how much he missed me. and that was how he returned back home with the power of this spell caster Dr akana. We have been together living in peace and he has loved me unconditionally after i experienced Dr akana spells. you can also contact him for similar issues in solving your problem Email: templeakana@ outlook. com whatsapp +2348070897839

Go to the profile of Julie Reynolds
Julie Reynolds about 2 months ago

i have just been sent this link, and my inner child is screaming to be nurtured and heard altho I have a hard time revisiting that place where she was abused and the forgotton child, what you wrote made total sense to me, how can I heal myself if I don't help the little girl still hurting inside me, thank you for such wonderful insight into what I need to do x

Go to the profile of Maxine Harley
Maxine Harley about 2 months ago

Thanks for commenting Julie and I'm delighted to read that you'll be taking care of 'little Julie' now - so that you can heal and recover from your childhood experiences.

I've created several free e-booklets, videos and articles that you might find useful in helping you to get started.

You can find these on my website

Please feel free to contact me again if I can be of any further help to you.

My warmest wishes,


Go to the profile of Georgio Mosley
Georgio Mosley about 2 months ago

hi Maxine, im Georgio. Im not sure if you will see this comment or not but i found your beautiful article here by accident. Cuz earlier this week i had an emotional breakdown. Which tends to happen every once in a while but not all the time. 

Sometimes i feel like imma scare people off or that im scare people will abandon me. Which has happened before for no reason on my part. So i looked online & i found a YouTube video on abandoment issues & i found out i may have them. Then when the video was over; i saw a recommended video called healing your inner child but it didn't quite give me what i need although the information was good & it lead me to google search & i found your article.

 I realised my inner child needs a lot nurturing, he aka little Georgio feels scared & has been treated bad a lot growing up not by parents but people. So i wanna thank you for what you posted here to help me. I still need more help cuz i don't think i can do it all by myself to heal my inner little boy self. Is it ok to get other people to help? My friend Joanne has helped me a lot by making me personal attention & Mom roleplay videos. I appreciate your insight & im sorry this comment was long. Have a lovely day 🌺

Go to the profile of Maxine Harley
Maxine Harley about 1 month ago

Hello Georgio and thanks for contacting me here and by e-mail.

Someone ele can help you to heal your inner child's wounds - but they must know what they are doing and why. No matter how well meaning someone is, if their own history (and wounded inner child) gets in the way they can do more harm than good.

Ideally you will learn how to become the loving, stable and secure 'parent' to your inner child - so that he doesn't feel that acute pain of emotional abandonment as much in the future. It's a step by step process.

I do have more free resources that you can look through from my website page - 

and on that website you'll also find a self-help online guide/course called '3 Steps To Sort Yourself Out  without therapy!' here - 

This does include some inner child recovery work as well as 21 audio tracks. (It's usualy £37 - but if you put the code TENOFF in the checkout it's only £27)

I hope that helps you on your own journer to healing and a feeling of inner stability and self-compassion.

Warmest wishes,