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5 effective ways to heal your inner child from adultification trauma

Learn to heal your inner child trauma's that were caused by adultification bias.

Before we diver deeper into the 5 effective ways to heal your inner child from adultification trauma, let's take a second to explain what that actually is.

What is adultification?

Adultification bias is about how society views black girls as less innocent and less in need of protection than their white counterparts. This for example often results in harsher treatment and higher standards for black girls.

This information is based on the research that was done by Girlhood Interrupted and also Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality which you can read more about it here.

What are the consequences for young girls?

The research shows that girls as young as 5 years old are seen as less in need of protection and less innocent than their white peers. This often results in neglect in schools by teachers and caretakers and also harsher treatment by authority figures.

What we see as well is that within our communities, we contribute to this issue due to the high standards that we hold to our girls and also the bigger responsibilities we put on our girls from a young age.

Our girls tend to be treated as older and given more responsibility even at home and in doing so we rob our little girls of their childhood.

What are the consequences for adult black women?

There is a strong link between how society views black women as strong and independent and how they treat young black girls.

Adultified black girls often grow up to become:

  • Less vocal about issues that matter to them as they grow up not having their voices heard.

  • Less able to ask for help when in need as they have been told to figure it out on their own and suck it up.

  • Less in touch with their emotions as they were told to focus on "more important things".

  • Less confident in their capabilities as they have been ignored or disregarded.

We can see that a lot of the issues that many black women face as adults come from a trauma from their childhood.

How can black women heal from adultification trauma through their inner child?

1. Recognize the issue

The first step to heal is to recognize that indeed there is hurt and where it is coming from. This could be from racial discrimination you experienced as a child or adultification experiences from your childhood within your family. Look at how how certain behaviors as an adult are linked to issues from your childhood such as abandonment or trust issues.

2. Rediscover & redefine yourself

This exercise is very important as it gives you the chance to decide who you want to be going forth and think about what is important to you and how you can free yourself form the imposed labels.

Questions that you can ask yourself in the self-discovery process:

  • What do you enjoy doing?

  • What type of life would you like for yourself?

  • What would you like to stand for?

  • How can you invite more creativity into your life?

3. Write a letter to yourself

A technique that is often used in therapy is to write a letter to your younger self.

Doing this can help you heal old wounds, get closure, gain clarity or forgive yourself and others.

Steps to write a letter to yourself:

  • Choose an age/period that you want to focus on.

  • Be open and write this letter from a place of compassion. Do this as if you were a loving parent writing to your child.

  • Tell yourself what you wished you were told as a child.

  • Use this letter to clarify this, give a different perspective and reassure your younger self.

  • Continue writing until you feel a sense of relief.

  • You can read it again and do whatever you want to the letter after.

4. Practice radical self-care

Self-care is something that has been talked about a lot lately but that is something that everyone needs to fill in according to their personal needs.

Here are some ways that you can practice radical self-care:

  • Have healthy boundaries in place.

  • Create a morning routine & night routine.

  • Listen to your intuition.

  • Enjoy your own company.

  • Make your own joy a priority.

5. Give yourself what you did not have

As a child you may have felt helpless in situations because you could not speak up or protect yourself. This is your chance as an adult to give yourself what you wish your parents or care-takers would have given you. This could be material or emotional rewards.

I hope that you enjoyed learning more about how to heal yourself from adultification trauma through inner child work.

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Very interesting and helpful discussion about adultification. I found it very helpful to consider that the way in which Black girls were treated directly affects how we feel and respond as Black women. I love the letter writing suggestion too. Gotta care for and connect with the young girl within so I can care for and connect with the woman now. Thanks, Rose!

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