One of the most difficult jobs in the world is raising little humans. Until you have embarked on this journey it is hard to imagine both the love and the exhaustion that are part of this process. From the moment they are born, we love like we have never loved before and a fierce protectiveness to give this little human the best world takes over.
Many parents lose sight of themselves on this journey and lose their identity or their relationship with their partner. Many parents struggle with various age groups and working out how to show love and provide discipline at the same time for each stage . The challenges involved are endless and yet for most of us we don’t seek help or guidance, we assume love will get us through and also feel the pressure to instinctively know what to do.
Some people are naturals at parenting, it is a skill like anything else that some people simply have. Some people are naturals at sport, others math and then there are those that are good at human behaviour and parenting. For most though, parenting can be a minefield to navigate. In the early years it is often physically draining with lack of sleep and endless chasing of toddlers. In later years it becomes more of a mental challenge and of course throughout all there are the emotional challenges.
Taking the time to get some help in how to approach parenting in a healthy way can make home life so much easier and enjoyable for everyone. My belief and approach is that by putting a lot of effort into getting your parenting right in the first years of life, throughout primary school years, you can pave the way to having a safe and more enjoyable experience with your teens.
The other thing I am seeing a lot of recently is parents struggling to parent teens in this day of phones, social media and the sheer amount of information they are exposed to. There is no ‘right’ way to manage this difficult time, we work towards what is going to be effective (and safe). Lately I have worked with some ‘difficult’ teens and what we learnt was that changing a few things at home in the parent/child relationship to match where the teen is emotionally, can make an immense difference. Talking to both the teen and the parents separately and then helping to bridge that communication gap has been really effective for family units.
Learning healthy ways to provide love, self-esteem, discipline, rules, boundaries, consequences, communication and respect with your children will help to set your kids up for a healthy future that you can help guide and nurture.
In sessions with parents, I work with you to see what is happening in your home, what your concerns are for your kids and we discuss a plan and strategies to help shape a healthy home. We look at changing existing unhealthy behaviours and promoting healthy routines. I prefer to work with parents to help determine how best to shape behaviour rather than work with the kids themselves.
After I have worked with parents, there are certainly times when it benefits to have the child or children in the room and I find this can be effective in hearing first hand from the kids what is working for them. Having this information can help even further to make effective changes at home.
There are also times when teens are struggling with their view of themselves and this is an area that I work closely with to help change. A teen with a healthy self-view is usually an easier teen to parent. Many teens struggle to talk in a counselling environment and if parents are open to it, I often find walking with them for a session is an effective way to get them to open up. The added bonus of a bit of fitness is also good for their mental health. Weather depending of course!