Healing your inner child leads to a happy, fulfilled adult life

Adults sometimes trivialise play when we say children are ‘just playing’ or when we use play as a reward for when the so-called ‘real work’ is done. Picture: Pixabay.

Adults sometimes trivialise play when we say children are ‘just playing’ or when we use play as a reward for when the so-called ‘real work’ is done. Picture: Pixabay.

Published Apr 8, 2024


Adulthood means facing and encountering adult challenges, this is juggling between relationships, advancing in one’s career, getting that master’s degree, debts and mortgages; the list is endless.

Adulting requires you to get up, go to work and it’s another day of the same routine. In spite of this, many adults are also dealing with their inner demons; at most times, these issues stem from childhood. Hence, their inner child was neglected and it is yet to be healed from childhood traumas.

Eugene Therapy, a counselling and psychiatric organisation that focuses on the mental health of individuals, explained the concept of the inner child. “It is that part of us that still remembers the joy of childhood, the innocence, the freedom and the playfulness. It also holds our hurts, traumas and emotional wounds.”

When a child does not experience emotional support and attention from their parents or caregivers, they feel abandoned, rejected and unworthy of love. In such cases, a child, especially in an era of advanced technology and high rate of depression, they will resort to dangerous methods to feel the pain less, such as self-harm and suicide.

Jenna Gloag of Humanitas Counsel Confidently, an organisation that trains and offers counselling services in Pretoria, said common factors that wound a child range from sexual, emotional, and physical abuse; bullying, abandonment, unmet needs of the child, and a dysfunctional family set-up, this includes child-headed households.

The wounded inner child grows into adulthood, where an adult shows indications of low-self esteem, codependency, their mental health is affected, addictive behaviours, trust issues, and challenges with intimacy.

Healing the inner child is a long process, therefore, accepting one has a wounded inner child to heal is the first step. A person must be kind, compassionate, and respectful to themselves as if addressing a child.

“Healing the inner child is a long process of self-discovery and self-compassion that involves grieving the developmental needs that were neglected during childhood, as well as acknowledging and addressing the emotional wounds inflicted during their childhood,” said Gloag.

Healing the inner child is extremely important, it does not only mean healing a wounded adult, but there’s fulfilment, a sense of joy, happiness, and grows a personal relationship with self and their inner child.

Moreover, a reflection process, by journalling one’s feelings of their inner child and adulthood helps create a safe space, and encourages self-love, compassion, and a positive spirit to self.

Counselling is suggested if a person is facing challenges to connect with their inner child, it can be an intimidating and scary healing journey.