Re-parenting: an odd term that refers to the need for Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) to go back and “fill in the gaps” from what their parenting lacked. In many cases, parents can be some of the most challenging people when it comes to dealing with your Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) traits – and this doesn’t change whether you are 7 or 70. Here are some ways to provide that “parenting” that you always needed.
Remember the story of the ugly duckling? He was the one little guy who just didn’t fit in with the rest of his family.
Or for those of you with kids who have watched Dinosaur Train (gonna ride, ride, ride, riiiiide), you know the Pteranodon family with Shiny, Tiny, Don … and Buddy the T-Rex?
The fact is that sometimes we fit in our family as well as odd number Star Trek films (I’m sorry … I didn’t mean to compare you to that … that’s just cruel). But hopefully, you get the point.
In most people’s narratives, family SHOULD be the one place where we feel at home. They see our flaws and are supposed to love us anyway. But sometimes that doesn’t happen. Being highly sensitive in an average sensitive family can be one of the biggest frustrations (can I use the word “trauma” here?) of growing up
Which doesn’t help at birthday celebrations … or Christmas … or Arbor Day.
There’s a lot of work that needs done to help patch up the damage caused by not understanding an HSP child growing up. One of the best ways to do that is to equip a surrogate parent to bring you back to the present – namely yourself (yes, it’s a time paradox worthy of a verse of “I’m my own Grandpa” a la Ray Stevens … but I digress).
1) Re-parent yourself with understanding
One of the biggest aspects you were lacking in childhood is an understanding of HSP traits and how they affected you. You have a chance to change this in adulthood. You’re reading blogs. You’re picking up books. The more that you can pick up that helps you understand why and how you are unique, the more settled into life you are going to be.
2) Re-parent yourself with patience
Most parents of HSP lack patience to understand what is going on with their child. A child might be overwhelmed to start school, go to a new area, or introduce himself or herself to new friends. It evokes the mental image of the newbie on the high dive, arms folded across the body in anxiety as they peer down to the water below. Patient parents will work with them to help them overcome this fear. Impatient parents will shove the kid off the board. While some kids might respond to this, many HSPs will learn to distrust in this circumstance.
BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF – treat yourself like you want to be treated and worked towards SLOWLY expanding your horizons without overwhelming yourself.
3) Re-parent yourself with acceptance
One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is acceptance. Being an HSP is a wonderful thing. It gives us a vantage point that is unique. We can connect with people on extremely deep levels. We can often work through life with what looks like clairvoyance because we’ve already processed through the multiple options to a situation and know how we are going to react.
But we will rarely be hasty. Letting our inhibitions go is extremely difficult became we are not wired to do it. The ugly duckling can’t be anything but a swan. Buddy is a T-rex and no amount of wishes will help him fly out of the nest. Odd numbered Star Treks will usually be glorified episodes – though you might get JJ Abrams to help break the mold on that one.
Accept who you are. You are beautiful. You are wonderful. You are a unique masterpiece.
Re-Parenting for Healing
Take a look at your interactions with yourself. Step outside and honestly see your adult self working with your child self. Are you treating that child the way you want to be treated as an HSP? Are you offering him or her understanding, patience, and acceptance or are you berating him or her for being so “different.”
If you need help trying to re-parent and are in the state of Ohio, Covenant Family Wellness offers online therapy anywhere within the state. Come check us out and schedule a free consultation – I’d love the chance to work with that inner child and him or her find healing.