Reparenting Younger Headmates
June 29, 2013
Reparenting some of our youngers has been very important towards our recovery. A few are beyond reach, not co-aware enough and in states of mind too damaged and wrapped up in their own cocoon to do much of anything with, but the ones who are co-aware enough to interact in our internal landscape or to front are the ones we're able to work with.
It's much like play therapy, in some cases. We've even given the swaddled babies time to front in a safe space, with plenty of crayons and paper to express themselves and internal supervision. For some multiples, this may not be possible -- but if you've worked on internal collaboration for some time you may have healed your awareness and internal trust enough that you may be able to allow folk to front in low-stress situations without losing time or awareness.
It's good to pick a safe "mothering" or "fathering" figure or even a group of internal mothers or fathers to care for the children. In the case of having 70+ residents, we choose to have a group of safe people with whom our children interact inside. We take on different roles -- comforter, healer, guardian, playmate -- and share responsibilities for keeping tabs on them.
A few of our youngers have had co-awareness for a very long time, and are full participants in our meetings and house rule processes, so while they present themselves as young they're afforded privileges as if they are adults. Hart is one example, she has a saying "I may be 4 but I've been 4 for a very very long time." She is not really 4 in experience, skills, or self-control, but she feels safe at 4 and can stay there as long as she'd like. She can take advantage of our internal parenting at any time, if she chooses to. Frankly, anyone inside can take advantage of being comforted, healed, guarded or having fun with others inside -- it's not a privilege we only extend to the young.
Reparenting is sometimes necessary. We have done rehabilitation of our residents by way of being a better parent to them than the parents we were born to. We started spontaneously when we were very young.
Reparenting is like that. You give what is needed -- positive discipline or rules, hugs and kisses for boo boo knees, chase away the nightmares with love and nurturing kisses, provide the foundation on which your inner children can grow. And these kids can grow. Hart's twin brother Hed grew up from 4 years old to 15 and changed his name to Rane. We reparented him, even though he's a little rebel spitfire. His role was always to protect Hart and the others from emotional and psychic abuse from our father. His voice would always surface in our mind, talking back in our head, getting angry in the face of our father's anger. He's like a filter -- having caught all the anger so that it didn't filter deeper into our system, so he's full of that anger. When we first consciously met him he was young and not co-aware, and now he's a teen rebel and co-aware. A little more constructive with his actions and anger, but still very much himself. He's not done with his own internal journey, but we've helped bring him farther than he went on his own.
I suppose reparenting from inside is simply providing what children need and sometimes what they want without spoiling them. Children need safety, structure, nurturing, play, tools, fun, creativity, learning, etc. We may not have had those, or had them consistently enough, to allow our inner children to flourish and grow -- so through a process of reparenting we can give them what they need in order to flourish and "age" inside if they so choose to.