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Re-Parenting our inner child


In order to understand why our children rank in the graph of being diagnosed with all sorts of behavioural development and mental problems; why 50% of young adults meet the diagnostic criteria of some sort of mental disorder; why there is so many children and adults being heavily medicated, succumbing to drug addictions; why so many adults find themselves caught up in the painful loop of codependency and why parents by means of transference continue to project their unconscious and unprocessed contents onto their own offsprings; we must journey back to the first 7 years of an infant’s life.

It is during this period that a child’s brain develops key circuits that are focused on emotional responses, emotional self regulation, impulse control, attention, decision making and picking up on social cues. All of which require the presence of a non stressed, emotionally available and attuned parent. When those primordial needs are not met, mechanisms of defence are formed to protect the child, while suppressing natural development.

In a child’s life there is no room for any other emotion rather than to love their parents regardless of how irresponsible the parenting may be. The greater the trauma a child experiences in the first seven years, the greater the repression of the child’s emotions, resulting in a disruption of the body interior homeostasis. And later on causing major stress on overall health and leading to well known mental and physiological malfunctions. Adults, whose childhood were under threat, are susceptible of society’s major illnesses, either playing the role of the villain or the role of the victim and that’s because the environment in which we live or are born into, more often than not, does not meet our real needs. A healthy psychological and physiological development is a result of an infant’s need to feel held, supported and cared for in his early attachment interactions with his parents. An infant’s early experiences influence all that he becomes.

John Bowlby, originator of attachment theory, introduces the concept that young children have an indispensable need to develop a close emotional bond with a caregiver, positing an important role in parenting.

It is ‘secure attachment’ that sparkles parts of a baby’s brain responsible for social and emotional development, communication, and enable relationships to grow and develop in the best way possible.

A supported attachment phase in early developmental years plays a big role in emotional regulation and personality, and key to understanding the repercussions of separation anxiety and distress, suffered by children and manifested by the adult.

Sadly, societies link all kinds of dysfunction, maldevelopment and behaviour mistakenly to behaviour problems, whilst condemning and frowning upon nourishing practices of emotional and physiological bond such as the dynamic of (public) breastfeeding.

Hunter and gatherer societies that facilitate human development are no longer in practice today. Instead singular family units, often with one parent for guidance, increasingly becomes the norm. Our society destroys the village and the availability of the attachment of a child to many adults, whilst completely forgetting that it “takes a whole village to raise a child”, as lucidly described in the book: The continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff, whom spent two and-a-half years in the jungle deep in the heart of South America living with indigenous tribes, and was astounded at how differently children are raised outside the Western world. By observing how children are nurtured to fulfill their innate expectations via in-arms attachment, and how they exhibit a natural state of self-assuredness, well-being, joy and growing up to have greater self-esteem and become more independent than those whose cries go unanswered for fear of "spoiling" them or making them too dependent in the so called developed world.

What is the picture of the adult, who as a baby has been laid immediately as they are born, on a non-living space of fabric, trained to be independent, letting them soothe themselves crying until they succumb to slumber?

What will happen to the child as an adult when its parent lost their power to bring up their children according to their own values and culture. Instead handling their children’s education to institutions which are only good at teaching a child out away from it creativity, annihilating their individualism whilst leading them into boring collectivism? Schools that can only fail at teaching a child what is effectively the responsibility of the child’s guardian.

This so called civilised environment is the crucible in which all neuroses is forged.

What’s left of conscious parenting when the support that society provides to parents is a 6 week maternity leave, and a prescription for postpartum depression?

Here is what we can do: re-parent ourselves so we can dissolve blocks in the physical body and reprogram the subconscious to dissolve patterns we have developed earlier on in life as defense mechanisms. Patterns which replaced the safer conditions that were lacking also well as our need for mental and emotional development during our early years.

Turn to your inner child and conceive of him/her as a semi-independent sub personality, subordinate to the waking consciousness of your own awareness creating our ability to become your own parent.

Reparenting is the act of giving yourself what you didn’t receive as a child. So give yourself love, nurture and take him/her to play in your meditations.

What parent hasn’t experienced the moment when their child cries, a child within the parent cries all the same and feels the same hopelessness and anger for not having been equipped and secured with their own needs as an infant?

However... as an adult we can parent our own inner child, and offer all of the securities and reassurances, which our child missed in the prime of their childhood. We have the power as an adult to change those previous circumstances that perhaps did not go in our favour, using the personal work tools that are at our disposal, which target the shifting of old patterns. Make of today the day we start taking responsibility for re-parenting yourself.