To understand how to reparent ourselves we need to first look at the areas that may have been impacted by a deficit from our caregivers. Once we identify what needed, we have a better picture of how to reparents ourselves in those areas.
Below are some of the social-emotional skills/needs that are often neglected in childhood. After reading each section make a note on a scale of 1-10 (1 the least impacted, 10 the most) for which areas you feel needs the most attention.
• Communication skills: The ability to express yourself clearly and effectively. The ability to resolve conflicts. Being assertive rather than passive or aggressive.
• Self-care: The ability to identify your needs and meet them. Feeling deserving of care and comfort and the belief that your needs matter.
• Awareness and acceptance of your feelings: Being able to identify a wide range of feelings and to see the value in your feelings.
• Emotional regulation and self-soothing: The ability to manage your emotions – to calm and comfort yourself when you’re distressed, to respond rather than overreact or underreact to emotional situations, to tolerate unpleasant emotions, and use healthy coping skills.
• Self-validation: Affirming your feelings and choices; reassuring yourself that your feelings matter, that you matter, and that you’ve done your best.
• Boundaries and healthy relationships: Seeking and creating relationships based on mutual respect and trust. Voicing your expectations and needs. Caring for others and letting others care for you. Being emotionally and physically vulnerable/intimate with safe people. Recognizing unhealthy relationships and ending them. Enjoying time alone and not needing someone else to make you happy or whole.
• Self-discipline or setting limits for yourself: Limiting unhealthy activities and creating healthy habits (such as going to bed on time, limiting how much you drink or play video games).
• Accountability: You take responsibility for your actions. You apologize and/or make amends when you’ve harmed another. You learn from your mistakes. You encourage yourself to follow through on your commitments and goals. And you do all of this with compassion and understanding for yourself, not harsh criticism, or self-punishment.
• Self-compassion and self-love: Treating yourself with loving-kindness – especially when you’re having a hard time or made a mistake. Doing nice things for yourself. Saying kind, supportive, and uplifting things to yourself. Noticing your good qualities, progress, effort, and accomplishments and feeling proud of yourself. Generally, liking who you are and knowing you have value.
• Resiliency: The ability to overcome setbacks, to persist, and to believe in yourself.
• Frustration tolerance: The ability to accept that you don’t always get what you want and things don’t always go your way; being able to handle such experiences with grace and maturity (not throw a tantrum like a toddler).