Parenting can become challenging as children grow and develop.
There are plenty of books to read about parenting and there are a lot of professionals who can help you learn parenting principles. These can be very helpful in understanding the foundations of child development and the role parents play in facilitating optimal child and adolescent development.
What is not written about and can’t really be addressed in these modalities are your unique and individual roadblocks to successful parenting that may be caused by a number of personal factors.
Often Times We Repeat the Mistakes of our Parents
You are aware of how your own parents had difficulties in raising you and they did things you don’t feel good about. You don’t want to repeat those mistakes, but often find you are doing the same things they did. You want to teach discipline, but you don’t want to stifle your child’s independence or creativity. Sometimes this conflict can be paralyzing. Sometimes you feel competitive with your own kids and have difficulty curbing those feelings.
You are not sure if it is ok express to anger at your kids. Will it harm them? What about their anger? When is it hurtful and when it is beneficial to express rage or intense anger? It is very hard for a parent to go through a divorce or illness or long separations. How do you manage your feelings and also help you children with theirs? What if your kids have special circumstances (adoption, interracial family, two daddies or two mommies, a single parent or learning or developmental issues) Do your feelings about it interfere or exaggerate the issue?
Consultation and Guidance Can Be Very Beneficial for Parenting
Each of these problems needs a seasoned clinician like myself to understand your history and the underlying feelings that are causing these roadblocks to successful parenting. I will listen carefully to your words, the way you describe your feelings about your children and yourselves when you are in the midst of either small crises or longstanding conflicts.
Because I have a long history of working individually with children and their families I know that sometimes families may think their child needs therapy because behavior is a problem. Sometimes that is true. But other times, there are difficulties that arise because a parent cannot clearly hear what it is that the child needs because they are too beset with anxiety and conflict in their parental role. It is these feelings that I will address and we will determine together what an optimal plan of action would be.
When I work with parents, I always try to get to the underlying issue that is causing the problem. I am not shy about pointing out areas that might need work for parents. If you want to raise truly healthy kids who are confident, assertive, kind and loving and have a fun, congenial, family life, there is nothing more helpful than addressing what feels problematic and nipping it in the bud. Even during adolescence, which is a very challenging period for many parents, you have a chance to set things right between you and your kids. You need to know what is up between you and them. Sometimes a judicious combination of family and child work will do the job.