therapy for parenting issues
Only after becoming a parent have I recognized how challenging this role can be, and how difficult it can be to actually implement strategies (which sound great in theory) in the moment with a child. I work with parents to develop easy, quick, effective plans that you can readily use when problems arise with your children. I help you stay warm and empathic, while at the same time setting clear limits and boundaries, and (people often forget this next part) helping your children anticipate consequences. If you are among the growing number of grandparents who find themselves unexpectedly parenting and raising their grandchildren, there are certainly more challenges to deal with. I have worked with many custodial grandparents individually, and in groups; and have authored a book chapter (which I'm happy to share with you) about the difficulties and special needs that parenting grandparents often experience.
We swore we'd be different than our parents, and now we have the chance to screw things up in our own unique way. Let's just rip the band-aid off: We all make serious mistakes with our kids despite our best intentions. It's just too hard in real life to be the perfect parents we dreamed of. Worse still, we are often unconsciously acting out all sorts of bad patterns with our kids that we have no idea we are doing. You know those moments when you sound just like your own mother/father? Well, there are lots of moments like that you aren't even noticing. And sometimes the cure (trying to be radically different than our parents) can be worse than the disease (paradoxically causing us to repeat the same mistakes). Therapy is a place to get much more conscious, clear, and smart about parenting, and coping with your stress and emotions in a way that won't leak all over your kids or deprive them of the close, safe, "good enough" attachment to you that they need and deserve. It's also a place to replace your guilt and self-reproach with concrete steps for effective discipline and appropriate compassion for yourself and your children.
Interacting with our kids can push every button! The ups and downs of love, immense pride vs. worry, disappointment and anger can be exhausting. Take heart--you are not alone in your feelings and reactions, and you can change. I will work with you to identify the true source of your reactions, and have specific skills for calming down, setting clear boundaries (or lightening up if that's what's needed), and self-care. Working on your communication style with your spouse/partner (if present) also makes a huge difference in the two of you acting as a team to help your child. Please note: I do not do family or child therapy--this is help for you as a parent.
Becoming a parent not only changes your life, but it often changes you as well. Parenthood can bring out both the best and worst in you, because it's one of the most intense relationships you'll ever experience. It can also be an overwhelming job, often stretching you beyond your comfort zone--and I can help you use this stretching as a way to grow. Plus, in today's culture of information overload, it can be confusing to determine what is "right." I can help you cultivate your personal theory of parenting (including how two partners can bridge their differences and find a middle ground that feels good to both of you). Another area we can focus on, if you're interested, is exploring the ways that becoming a parent stirs up reminders--both good and bad--of your own childhood. We can discuss how to let your past experiences inform your own parenting in a way that is reflective, rather than reactionary.
main phone: 303-547-3700
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