Why We Need Re-Parenting

In all honesty, most people probably need re-parenting unless they have a picture-perfect childhood where parents established good, healthy boundaries, praised you, encouraged you, and were great role models for self-empowerment and connection. Most people have some re-parenting needs, and many of us have massive re-parenting needs.


  • One or both of your parents or guardians had wobbly or too strict boundaries.
  • You’re the daughter or son of a narcissistic parent.
  • You were physically or psychologically abused. This includes manipulation, guilt-tripping, blaming, projection, overstepping your boundaries, or withdrawal.
  • You were expected to be a grownup as a child and parent your own parents.
  • You were the black sheep.
  • You were consistently told you could do no wrong and were given everything you always wanted.
  • You were molly coddled and wrapped in cotton wool from the risks of simply living life.
  • One or both parents were envious of your friendships, your relationship with the other parent, and any success you may have
  • Your parents had overly high expectations for you based on what they wanted for their own lives and never listened to what you wanted to do.
  • You were given confusing messages: your mother wanted you to be a girl (when you were a boy), and your father wanted a ‘proper’ boy.
  • You were beaten when you showed emotion.
  • One or both parents said that there was something wrong with you, that you were bad, defective, not their child, an accident, trouble, useless, a waste of space, etc.
  • You received hardly any or no recognition for your accomplishments.
  • You were consistently compared to another sibling.
  • Your parents were emotionally unavailable.
  • Your parents gave in to your demands all of the time and avoided conflict with you.
  • You receive no guidance or nurturing.
  • Your parents withheld affection and attention.
  • Regular shaming
  • There was zero discipline or infrequent
  • Discipline was strict and rigid.

All of the above has huge repercussions for you, the adult. The result of poor or bad parenting is a child with low self-esteem, self-confidence, or the ability to manage life, relationships, and everyday activities.

The results of a parent who never disciplines you and always gives in to your demands make you feel entitled, unable to take the answer no from people, make it hard for you to handle conflict, and can make you lose touch with empathy and honest human connection because you were never taught to compromise or understand other perspectives and points of view.

Physical and psychological abuse can cause long-term depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and many other mental and physical health issues.

If one or both of your parents are authoritarian and have never allowed you to make your own decisions in life, it is oppressive and often punishing.

Overprotective parents wrap their children in cotton wool and treat their children like delicate, fragile creatures who are incapable of taking care of themselves. This takes away their ability to think critically and/or to live independent lives.

What does positive parenting look like?

If you were at the mercy of bad parenting, you may not even know what positive parenting looks like; I know I didn’t. I didn’t have any positive parenting role models, and I definitely didn’t have any positive female role models in my life.

I was taught that parents, especially mothers, manipulate their children, blame their children, envy their children, guilt-trip their children, and for me, passive aggressively damage their children through psychological torment, like ignoring me as a child when she faced the wall and pretended I didn’t exist. I was also taught that women are meant to be angry over everything. This is something I discovered recently: a program was installed in me by many generations of women in my family. That women are simply angry. I was told over and over again that there was something wrong with me if I dared question anything that was happening. In fact, my mantra growing up was, ‘There’s something wrong with you, Kelly!’

After observing my friends Louisa and Hayley with their children, I learned what positive parenting is. I saw praise, healthy boundaries, intimacy, connection, love, and acceptance of their children, no matter what they were expressing or doing. I saw play, genuine friendliness, no envy, and an appreciation of their children’s talents and skills. These children were being nurtured and disciplined when they overstepped boundaries, but they were always told they were loved, and my friends meant it.

My best friend Michael, who passed away in May, was abused a lot growing up, both psychologically and physically. The mental abuse was the worst, he said. He learned one thing about raising children, and while he doesn’t feel he was perfect or a great parent with his two sons, he learned that as time went on and he learned more about life, when he raised his stepchildren, he came to understand how to separate the child from the behaviour.

So if a child had rebelled, doing something dangerous or overstepping boundaries, instead of saying, ‘You’re wrong’ or ‘There’s something wrong with you’ he would say, ‘What you just did, I do not accept or appreciate. I love you, but do not accept your behaviour’.

This way, he was showing his stepchildren that love was always there, but the actions they chose to take were not acceptable. Thereby separating the child from the behaviour.

Ways of Positive Parenting

  • Separate the behaviour from the child. I love you, but that behaviour was unacceptable.
  • Be kind and firm; you are a role model. Show your children how to be kind but firm when interacting and when conflict arises. Being kind is not the same as ‘giving in’
  • Be gentle with discipline; don’t use force or aggression. Teach through the broken record technique. Another technique my friend Michael taught me. If you are setting boundaries, simply reinforce that boundary through repetition. A simple no and why. And if they continue to ignore you, say no again. Don’t get into discussion; this often prolongs the behaviour
  • Follow through on what you agreed to do.
  • When you are exhausted, take time out before disciplining a child.
  • Make what could be perceived as punishment a learning opportunity. If they do X, Y, and Z, these are the consequences (lost IPAD time or gaming, no TV, cleaning their room, etc.).

How do you re-parent yourself?

Re-parenting is a big task and one many people resist. Re-parenting takes time, self-reflection, self-compassion, and learning to change those things that we were taught that are either not healthy for us or make relationships challenging because we behave in such a way that it mirrors how one or both of our parents behaved growing up.

Many of us grew up with critical parents. Some of those parents became stuck in their teenage personalities and never matured beyond that level, and because of this, they simply addressed anything that needed attending to in their children in a teenage way. This would be through tantrums—for me, tantrums—and silent treatment and manipulation. For others, this may look like behaving like a teenager and not teaching their children how to be in the world, how to take responsibility for their actions, and how to be accountable.

My re-parenting journey began by first acknowledging that it wasn’t a healthy childhood I had. I had to acknowledge that I was psychologically abused and tormented in a passive-aggressive way. The effects it had on me have been far-reaching. I believed that, for over 40 years, I didn’t deserve to be seen, heard, valued, appreciated, or believed. I learned that if I shined at anything that I would not be loved and I would be resented, so I dimmed my light, and I am still on this journey of releasing this old program.

Becoming aware involves doing inner child work. I worked with a local healer, Wayne Lee (who also does Zoom sessions). He is a psychic who is very good at tuning in to what is really going on, because what the conscious mind and protective mechanisms can do is hide us from the core issues taking place.

I had to retrieve my inner children (we have many!) from the scared holes, shadows, and sticky places that they were hiding in and find out what it was they were scared or angry about. Many of them didn’t feel I was able to take care of them, so they took care of me in the only way they knew how, the way my parents had, protecting me from perceived harm, but also protecting me from joy, abundance, love, flow, and freedom.

One by one, I brought them out and held them close, talking to them about how I was a grownup now, that I am here to take care of them, and that my own parents can no longer harm them. I still haven’t finished this; in fact, I think re-parenting is an ongoing journey because often we don’t realise what resistance we have until we are in different relationships, which then trigger issues to work through.

So my question to you is, is your life working?

And if not, why not?

Could you have secondary benefits to things not working, and is your painful comfort zone protecting you from some illusionary harm that is based on your childhood?

It’s a big journey and a deep shadow-self journey.

Are you prepared to take it?

Let me know in the comments how re-parenting works for you and what you have done or used to move through your issues and move forward.

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Kelly Martin
Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin, author of ‘When Everyone Shines But You’ is a dedicated writer and blogger who fearlessly explores life’s deepest questions. Faced with a decade of profound anxiety and grief following the loss of her father and her best friend Michael, Kelly embarked on a transformative journey guided by mindfulness, and she hasn’t looked back since. Through her insightful writing, engaging podcasts, and inspiring You Tube channel Kelly empowers others to unearth the hidden treasures within their pain, embracing the profound truth that they are ‘enough’ exactly as they are.

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