14 Ways to Take Care of Your Inner Child
by Debbie Homewood
- From your aware self, take the time to be aware of and honour your child’s feelings, needs and fears. The more aware of the child you are, the less the child will need to push forward and take over. Try to figure out what you can do for the child, especially if your child is afraid.
- By connecting with and getting to know you inner child you can begin to learn what kinds of things hurt the child, and from your aware-self you can then make conscious choices about whether or not to continue to do those things.
- Your inner child needs protection and needs you to set healthy boundaries with others so that it feels safe, and can be a child.
- It can be very helpful to get the child’s point of view on major things, so that you can consciously respect the child’s needs and takes its viewpoint into account. In the long run this often prevents old (and often no longer helpful) behaviours and reactions from occurring.
- Your inner child may not have felt it was safe to express its feelings. From your adult aware-self it can be very helpful to learn how to express feelings, especially hurt feelings, anger, disappointment, etc. It helps to develop a vocabulary for describing feelings, and to work on your self-worth and entitlement, so you know that you (and your feelings) have as much worth as anyone else.
- When we are children, our feelings can be totally overwhelming. Help you child to learn that feelings are “just” feelings. They come, they go. It is important to be aware of them, to allow the, but not to be attached to them and to confuse feelings with who we really are.
- Stay out of situations that are really toxic for your inner child – for example really bad relationships. What one inner child can handle another can’t, depending on their early experiences. Really respect what your inner child finds toxic.
- All our inner children are vulnerable. That is the nature of being a child. It is important to recognize the difference between vulnerability and fear, powerlessness or extreme sensitivity. If an inner child is disowned it can become desperate or completely numb If your child has been disowned work to re-connect with it and nurture and honour it. Most children are quite sensitive If you child is very sensitive learn what shields it and protects its sensitivity (for example, setting boundaries, staying out of really toxic situations, always having your adult self available in situations the child finds difficult). If your child truly feels seen, accepted and protected by you, it can then be vulnerable, but not frightened and freaked out. Because inner children are vulnerable, we need to pay attention to and take care of them.
- Find people and perhaps groups your inner child feels safe with and enjoys being with. These may be different from the people your adults self feels good with.
- Children need enough feed and rest, and then don’t need to over eat or sleep all the time. Healthy habits support and strengthen your child.
- If your inner child needs financial security, try to figure out how to best meet those needs, and in uncertain financial times stay aware of your child and connect with it to reassure it that you will be there to look after it.
- Children need some routine, order and predictability so that they can relax and not always have to worry or wonder about what is going to happen. Some routine and predictability can be very comforting and create a feeling of security. When these needs are met our inner child is much more able to be spontaneous and playful.
- There are often things in our environment that make our inner child feel good, whether that is at home, or at work (e.g., colours, comfort things, like pillows, familiar objects, pictures, plants, etc.) These things may not always meet with the approval of the adult self, but nevertheless can be important and worthwhile.
- Taking care of our spiritual self can be very reassuring and comforting to our inner child. This does not have to be achieved through participating in a formal religion, although if that is familiar and supportive that can work. There are many useful spiritual care practices that nurture out spirituality and that will meet the needs of the child. These include, but are not limited to meditation, prayer, guided imagery, art, music, time in nature, rituals, reading inspirational material, yoga, journaling, mindfulness and gratitude.
Debbie Homewood is a counsellor and biofeedback therapist who helps her clients access and benefit from becoming more conscious and using Mindfulness in their daily life. This article may not be republished without the permission of the author.
Copyright © 2010 Debbie Homewood