3 Incredible Ways You Can Re-Parent Yourself

Accept yourself as a good person, and keep growing.

Last updated on Nov 08, 2023

You are a good person and you will grow from your mistakes  PeopleImages, yaruta  | Canva

Not everyone is fortunate enough to grow up in a household that helps children learn from their mistakes. Even if your parents were kind and caring, some parents put unbelievable pressure on their kids to be perfect. That means that when you made a mistake as a child, you were often reprimanded or made to feel like a failure.

This can impact a person for the rest of their lives and cause them to feel angry. But there is hope; things don't have to be this way forever. Here's how you can learn from your mistakes and re-parent yourself.


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Here are 3 incredible ways you can re-parent yourself.

1. Compassionate accountability.

In my office, I’ve heard from clients stories of broken phones, punched walls, and even bent steering wheels. All in the name of anger. At themselves. For making a mistake.


What You Didn’t Get

When a parent sits down with a child who has behaved badly, used poor judgment, or made a mistake and says, “Let’s figure out what happened,” that parent is teaching her (or his) child Compassionate Accountability.

But many parents don’t know that it’s their job to teach their child how to process a mistake, how to sift through what happened, and sort out what part of it belongs to circumstances and what part belongs to the child. What can we learn from this? What should you do differently next time?

There is a balance between all of these factors, which must be understood. The parent holds the child accountable but also helps him (or her) understand himself and have compassion for himself and his mistake.


What To Give Yourself

If your parents were too hard or too easy on you for mistakes or failed to notice them at all, it’s not too late for you now. You can learn Compassionate Accountability today. Follow these steps when you make a mistake.

Remind yourself that you are human and humans are not perfect. Everyone makes mistakes.

Think through the situation and what went wrong. Are there things you should have known, realized, or thought about? Those are the parts that you own. Those are where you’ll find the lessons to take away from this. Take note of what you can learn and etch it into your memory. This can be the growth that results from your error.


Have compassion for your humanness: Your age, stress level, and the many factors contributing to this mistake.

Vow that next time you’ll use your new knowledge to do better. Then put this behind you.

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2. Self-discipline.

We are not born with the ability to manage our impulses. Self-discipline is not something that you should expect yourself to have automatically. Self-discipline is learned in childhood.

What You Didn’t Get

When parents have rules and enforce them firmly and with love, they are naturally teaching their children how to do this for themselves. Do your homework before you go out to play. Fill the dishwasher, even though you don’t want to. You are not allowed to have a second dessert. Balanced, fair requirements enforced with care by your parents teach you how, years later, to do this for yourself.


What To Give Yourself

If you struggle with self-discipline more than most people, it does not mean you are weak-willed or less than others. It only means that you didn’t learn some critical things in childhood. Never fear, you can learn them now. Follow these steps.

Stop blaming yourself for your struggles with self-discipline. When you accuse yourself of being weak or deficient, you make it harder to get a foothold on doing things you don’t want to do and stop yourself from doing things you shouldn’t.

Stop going in the opposite direction. If you are too hard on yourself at times, chances are high that you also, at other times, go too far in the opposite direction. Do you sometimes let yourself off the hook when you don’t follow your rules? This, too, is damaging.


Use the Compassionate Accountability skills by applying them each time you fall on self-discipline.

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3. Learn to love the real you.

We all learn to love ourselves in childhood. That is when things go well. When we feel our parents’ love for us, it becomes our love for ourselves, and we carry that forward through adulthood.

What You Didn’t Get

We tend to assume that if our parents loved us, that’s enough. But it isn’t at all. There are many different ways for a parent to love a child. There’s the universal type of parental love, “Of course, I love you. You’re my child.” Then there’s real, substantive, meaningful parental love. This is the love of a parent who watches the child, sees and knows the child, and loves the person for who they are.


What To Give Yourself

Most people receive at least some of the first types of love. Far fewer receive the second type. Do you feel that your parents truly know the real you? Do they love you for who you are? Do you love yourself this way? Truly and deeply? If you sense something is missing in your love for yourself, it may be because you didn’t receive enough genuine, deeply felt love from your parents. But it’s not too late for you to get it. You can give it to yourself.

Accept that it’s not your fault that your parents couldn’t love you in the way you needed.

Start paying more attention to yourself. Who are you? What do you love and hate, like and dislike, care about, feel and think? These are the aspects of you that make you who you are.


Pay special attention to what’s good about you. Make a list. Are you a loyal friend? A hard worker? Dependable? Caring? Honest? Write down everything that occurs to you, even if it’s small. Re-read the list often. Take these qualities in and own them. They are you.

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Jonice Webb, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and best-selling author of two self-help books. She specializes in childhood emotional neglect, relationships, communication issues, and mental health. Dr. Webb has appeared on CBS News and NPR, and her work has been cited by many publications.