There is an inner child in you, like everyone else. Like any child it too needs attention and care. It is focused on your survival and depends on you.
The inner child represents our unconscious mind. Do not underestimate the intelligence of the unconscious mind. It is far superior than the conscious mind of a genius. It primarily focuses on our survival and reproduction (in other words extension of our life). Its like a google search engine. It searches based on the key words. How well you use your key words are used determines the success of your google search. Similarly how well you convince the unconscious that what you are doing benefits the survival it cooperates. Otherwise, there will be an inner war.
A child only turns defensive when it feels threatened or feel something is not according to its interest. The way you parent your inner child determines how well your mind functions and ultimately how you function. Your conscious mind is like the inner parent or adult.
The key factor that determines the successful parenting of the unconscious mind is developing the trust and bond between the unconscious and conscious mind. If we look at a neuropsychological standpoint it is the integration of your voluntary and involuntary neural processes.
There are many ways to do this. The key most requirement is self-awareness. The process of understanding one’s thought patterns and inner dynamics. Meditation is a well tested method of self observation and sitting still to focus on the inner processes.
You can talk to family and friends and ask for honest feedback about you. Take it with a pinch of salt, since bias maybe present due to inner coloring. But if you analyze objectively you can see what feedback is relevant. However, they can see your blind spot.
Journaling or keeping a diary and objectively analyzing the content helps you see patterns that otherwise you miss while observing in the moment.
Observe yourself various situations and different sort of people. This will help you see your thought and behavior patterns.
Next step is how to negotiate with your inner child that what you do is in its best interests. Regular assurance is also needed. Form the link how the long term benefit of the task or situation can help us in the present moment. Translate it into tangible language. Building trust and the art of negotiation only comes with time and experience.
The inner child just wants someone to rely upon and it is our choice how we cater the need for love and safety.