Parenting is hard. Wonderful but often hard. And so it’s not surprising that loads of parents bring their children in to see my child psychologists.
The large majority WANT to be actively involved in the solution. A smaller portion seem to think that having their child walk from the waiting room to the therapy room – on their own – will ‘fix’ their kid.
If only it was that easy.
The reality is that in almost all instances, parents are, without a doubt a part of the solution.
There are so many books out there that talk about what to DO WITH your kid to fix their problem behaviour. It starts from the get-go; how to get your baby to sleep through the night, how to stop tantrums, sibling rivalry, backchatting, iPad overuse etc…. Truly. The list is endless. And most of these books are AWESOME.
But it’s only half of the equation. Psychologists can ‘throw’ a million effective strategies at a parent to ‘use’ with their child. But the fact is, the parent actually has to ‘use’ them and more often than not use them in a consistent manner for a while before they’ll see change. Because kids are like us and find that change is hard and takes time.
But it is often at this point where a parent’s s#*t comes in. That’s what I’ve seen in my professional life and certainly my experience as a parent myself.
I often KNOW what I SHOULD be doing. What WOULD be helpful to do in that ‘stab me in the eye’ frustrating moment. But sometimes I just don’t do it.
And herein lies the problem. Parenting requires something of ME. Because whatever strategy is best for my child in that moment requires me to be at MY best in that moment. So it requires me to set aside or overcome my own crappy day, fatigue, frustration, triggers etc… in order to help my child not lose their shit because they can only find one school shoe and we’re leaving in 5 minutes.
Do I manage to do this? Fortunately, slightly more often than not. But not always, that’s for sure.
And yet, this is a critical part of the solution.
And so it is up to US to sort our stuff out so that we CAN be the best version of ourselves as often as possible. That’s not to say we strive for perfection. It’s impossible and in fact detrimental to us and our kids.
We just need to do our best. And doing our best starts with KNOWING and WORKING THROUGH our triggers.
This helps us DISRUPT and CHANGE the unhelpful patterns of parenting that have been handed down to us from our own parents.
We need to RAISE our self-awareness so as to REDUCE the projections we place on our children.
That helps us continue to build a strong, loving and respectful relationship with our children.
And THEN we become an EFFECTIVE part of the solution … most of the time 😉