Self-Mothering and Re-Parenting

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I’ve read this quote 4-5 times in the last month. It’s hard for me because, well, a lot of my clients were not mothered in any kind of healthy way. For many abandonment, punishment, and worse are the kind of “mothering” they recognize.

It’s one of the reasons I’ve used Re-Parenting as the invitation for healing complex trauma from childhood.

In that context, the hope is that we activate more of the “natural mothering instinct” within all of us (of any gender) to recognize that, yes, punishment is counterproductive. Hatred and abandonment betray the core essence of a parent’s role in a child’s life.

I’ve needed to re-parent “little Ricky” – and not because my Mom was abusive. In my case divorce and an evil stepmother left me at times mal-adapting to “abandonment” (which is a felt experience even if it can be argued I was never abandoned).

For those of us who really have become quite different parents (and embodied loving beings) than we grew up around, this invitation to re-parenting of self can be a potent doorway into healing and restoration.

I’m grateful to @Cathy for encouraging (and even being insistent) that re-parenting could make a significant difference. She was core in co-developing Inner Tapping which is an EFT Tapping approach that combines tapping, surrogate tapping, and re-parenting.

Happy to answer questions and explore together how we use this approach for ourselves… and how it changes our parenting now. :heart_decoration:


I’m very interested in this self-mothering topic. I have been working on this a lot. I’m excited to read the book. Because I realize my mother was emotionally damaged and only did what she could at the time. Just like I was not the best mother either because of my own traumas. I try to be kinder to myself and more encouraging. It has gotten better and I have no animosity towards my mother anymore.


this sounds absolutely wonderful. I did have a wonderful mother, yet the times I grew up was male dominant society which snuffed out the mothering in my life. yes, my mom was not a strong type, yet I did need the delicacy that she posed. i do need to conduct myself, to myself in a more loving way.


Yes, it makes a huge difference!

And yes, if the model of parenting we had was not very compassionate or present, it’s harder to do for ourselves…

I’ve found with my son that it’s incredibly obvious how much easier it is to move through challenging situations when I give myself the space to feel “wow, this is hard, I’m feeling triggered” and take a break to breathe and recenter myself.

Then I can come back with compassion and ask “do you need a hug?”
9 times out of 10, he does need a hug (or, if he’s not ready yet, it comes soon after the offer and a little more gentle discussion).

With a hug, we can co-regulate, and then any further discussion of the challenges at hand become much easier, more rooted in love.

And if I offer that to myself? If I ask:

What parts of me need a hug?

And then give them that loving acceptance and support?

It’s healing for me AND so much easier to offer to others!

But if I get mad at myself, it’s counter-productive.

I also got to see this first hand, as my mom got mad at herself a lot, even over little things, and it was so obvious to me (even as a child) what a waste of energy it was… So it actually seems easier for me to notice it now, and to interrupt that, because it didn’t feel good to watch, or to experience, and that’s not what I want to model for my kids!

It’s really empowering to get to feel how I can shift the energy and the direction of an interaction, both internally and with kiddos — not by being “perfect” and never getting upset or wanting to punish, but by noticing when that energy arises, and tending to it compassionately. Giving it a hug. Noticing what needs aren’t being met, and finding ways to meet those needs, so that it’s easier to be the kind of parent I want to be — to myself and to my kids.

When this is an ongoing thing, we read
How full is your bucket? (For kids)

When our bucket is empty, we want other people’s buckets to be empty too! (How many of us had stressed out parents with often-empty buckets???)

But when we pause and notice that, and choose to be compassionate and kind, we re-fill BOTH buckets — our own and the other person’s.

And everything starts to feel easier.

Of course, we have to do this again and again — just like parenting a child is constant, so is re-parenting ourselves!