As you have learned, you need to actually "self-parent" your Inner Child. It is not enough to know that Self-Parenting exists (Level One understanding). You must also learn to use this knowledge as therapy (Level Two and Three Understanding) to make yourself feel better.
You can use your Self-Parenting Exercises to heal and love yourself whenever you feel depressed, fearful, out of sorts, or angry. You can use your daily half-hour sessions to fix yourself up when you are really down through loving, supporting, and nurturing your Inner Child.
For further study in Self-Parenting, I recommend the following books. Each one in its own way gives valuable insight to the “Inner” process of Self-Parenting. By reading these texts, using the new-found awareness of your Inner Conversations, and following through with consistent and positive Self-Parenting sessions, you can work out your ideal Self-Parenting style and practice by "living it" where it really counts, within your Inner Conversations.
(Special Note in 2015: The following books were recommended in the late 80's as examples of books that, if you read them correctly, would give you clues to Self-Parenting dynamics. This was before anyone knew what Self-Parenting was. They represent the mode of an era, and I leave them here for historical purposes. They are interesting enough to read even today. They also serve to illustrate that once you become aware about S/P, you will see its various forms in all kinds of other psychological systems that have pieces of the puzzle, but not the complete understanding)
Now I recommend these books with one reservation. These books may or may not mention material specific to “Self-Parenting.” For example, some are outer parenting books, exercise books, and “self-awareness” books. Their authors probably never even heard of Self-Parenting. Nevertheless, their information is valid and important enough for you, as an Inner Parent, to understand what they are saying, and apply it to what you now understand within your own Self-Parenting.
Reading these books is a way for your Inner Parent to learn how to take materials from the “outside world” and use them to become more conscious of the unconscious methods you use to Self-Parent. These books must be read with the awareness of Self-Parenting within your Inner Conversations to have their intended effect.
Even if you have previously read one or more of these books you will want to read them again, calling to mind the principles of Self-Parenting. My comments on each book are directed to this understanding and are an unsolicited testimonial to these authors. I trust that these books are available on Amazon or can be ordered through your local bookstore.
This book is a masterpiece of successful outer parenting methods. We all owe a debt to Thomas Gordon for making the concepts of outer parenting so easy to understand. The section on the “twelve roadblocks” is especially enlightening as it shows the multiple ways that you, as the Inner Parent, can roadblock your Inner Child. This is the next book you must read (or reread) to develop Self-Parenting skills.
This is a very old book now, and the first book I know of that discusses the “Inner Child” in a major way. It is especially valuable as it documents how the type of parenting you received as an outer child creates the response behavior style of your adult. He has many good examples of how the “Inner Child of the Past,” can be creating problems in your current outer relationships. (Which we can now solve with Self-Parenting, of course.)
Here is another brilliant book about outer child rearing. While reading this book I saw so many applications of her methods and understanding of raising a baby/child to Self-Parenting that I was amazed. Use this book to develop your awareness as an Inner Parent, especially in the areas of loving and spoiling, feeding, everyday care, sleeping, and comforting your Inner Child. The pictures alone will trigger emotional responses from your Inner Child.
This book reflects a classic and intuitive understanding of Inner Conversation dynamics, Self 1 being the Inner Parent and Self 2 being the Inner Child. Using practical examples from sports, the authors demonstrate how a positive, listening Inner Parent can consciously Self-Parent the Inner Child to achieve increased performance without destroying the relationship between the two. This is must reading. These same authors have done similar books on other subjects as well, such as tennis, golf, even music.
Here is an excellent treatise on reestablishing the bonds with parental figures to facilitate and enhance your own Self-Parenting. In this case, it may help you understand your parents better from the perspective of your own outer parenting, as well as give you insights into Self-Parenting from the Inner Child’s point of view when the Inner Parent is harsh or uncommunicative.
I recommend this book specifically for your Inner Parent. Dr Burns provides many examples of the incorrect thinking of the Inner Parent, which causes problems, by default, for the Inner Child. This book shows how “Cognitive Distortions,” or (Inner Parent) erroneous thinking, can make life miserable for both Inner Selves.
This book is my favorite Inner Parent book and should be studied relentlessly to educate your Inner Parent. Although the principles in this book are intellectually flawless, they are most suited for stopping the specific type of mental negativity the Inner Parent creates. In my opinion, “The Methods” do not translate well towards the emotional concepts of loving, supporting, and nurturing the Inner Child within your Inner Conversations. In other words, use “The Methods” described in the book to educate your Inner Parent, not overpower or invalidate the emotions of your Inner Child. Ken and I became friends at the end of his life when he became a strong proponent of Self-Parenting.
Possibly the most helpful book I've ever read! An amazing analysis of the step-by-step process for achieving anything you want in life. Wishcraft, combined with Self-Parenting, presents an unbeatable combination. No more excuses for not knowing what you want or not being able to get it. Self-Parenting unveils the buried treasure of what you truly want and need, and Wishcraft provides the directions and the map. You do the rest. This book also demonstrates incredibly intuitive support for the needs of the Inner Child.
Many of you are struggling with diet problems that are symptomatic of deep and longstanding Inner Conflicts between your Inner Parent and Inner Child. Weight problems are an advanced issue of Self-Parenting. I wouldn't recommend tackling them until you have done your Self-Parenting sessions for at least 3-6 months, especially the self-esteem processes, and have read the other recommended books. When you do want to tackle them use Bob Schwartz's advanced understanding of dieting dynamics along with the principles of Self-Parenting and you will do well.
This may be harder to find, but the authors do a fantastic job of outlining a program called “self-demand eating” for outer parents to use with their outer children. By “translating” this to work with your Inner Child and practicing Self-Parenting sessions, you can learn to trust your Inner Child's natural hunger by internalizing these eating guidelines. Use as a companion volume with Diets Don't Work.
The harsher your outer parenting as a child, the harsher your Self-Parenting will be as an Inner Parent. The most damaging outer parenting by far seems to be that given to children of alcoholic parents.
The coping mechanisms and defense patterns required by these children are equivalent to those needed by concentration camp survivors. The resultant emotional patterns and psychological issues are extremely deep and very difficult to overcome by oneself due to the nature of self-denial and self-isolation required by these children for survival.
One out of three families in America is said to report alcohol abuse by a family member. If one, or especially both, of your parents was consistently impaired during your childhood years by alcohol, drugs, or other patterns, it is recommended that you seek help through a therapist or organization that expressly understands and is trained to recognize the psychological issues of the adult child of an alcoholic. Self-Parenting under these circumstances is certainly “the answer” but may be too difficult and exhausting to undertake without support.
People who have suffered dysfunctional outer parenting or who come from a broken home will have trouble putting the concepts of positive Self-Parenting to practical use. For example, you are most likely unaware that you've had this type of problem parenting due to the special nature of denial involved.
Two books to help you understand these deeper issues of Self-Parenting are: