Being a great parent is easier than most of us make it out to be. By simply remaining positively involved and engaged provides needed security and guidance for your child to thrive. The problem is that realizing you are a great parent takes a long time. In the meantime, what do you do when the kid you love so much is driving you absolutely crazy? Who or what do you blame when they talk back, refuse to do their homework, have tantrums, and don’t listen to anything you say? It’s hard enough being a working parent who is trying to balance home life, a job, extracurriculars for the kids, their school, and your sanity. You are doing the best you can, and sometimes, it doesn’t seem like enough. And on top of all of that, you can feel guilty about constantly feeling frustrated with your child. But what hurts the most is the constant pangs of disappointment when you reach out to be close to your child, and they pull away.
Let me start off by saying that many parents feel this way. We constantly compare ourselves to other parents we know. We wonder how they manage to keep it all together so nicely, when we feel like we are falling apart. We wonder how they get their kids to behave, when ours is giving attitude about every little thing. However, those parents that you are comparing yourself to often feel the same way. Every good parent who is involved in their child’s life feels, at some point in time, like they aren’t enough. But you are. You are more than enough and need to be reminded that there is no substitute for you. Sometimes all it takes is a little change and a little more understanding to get back in rhythm with your family.
Let me let you in on an important discovery in most behavioral problems. In my work with over hundreds of children and their families, behavior problems almost always boil down to feeling worried, unsafe, or sad. The anxious child may not be able to tell you that she feels worried about having to do a speech at school, or that he gets nervous in small spaces, or that they worry about you getting hurt when you leave for work. The depressed child may not be able to tell you that he hates going to school because he is being bullied, or that she just doesn’t feel happy and she doesn’t know why. Instead, they feel so uncomfortable on the inside that they begin to show it on the outside with a poor attitude, school difficulties, and frequent arguments with you.
As the holidays come to a close and the New Year is fast approaching, let me suggest a New Year’s resolution that can help your family feel secure and connected: Plan to have a meal together every week. Try to make it the same night and time each week. This time with your child allows them to feel a sense of structure and safety. It is a time they can look looked forward to every week. Make this meal a time where everyone can share about their week or talk about something they enjoy. Hearing each other talk about things that are important in your lives will help instill a sense of bonding and connectedness within your family. Plus, involved parenting can increase feelings of joy and belongingness within your child, and increase their self-esteem.
Most of us find at times that we need strong guidance and help for creating connection in the family. If you feel this way, I can help. Call me today. I will work directly with you and your child to identify the underlying causes of your child’s behavior, and will help you develop solutions that can be applied at home that will provide structure and security for your child. Remember that you are not alone in your feelings of frustration, or in the guilt and shame that comes with those feelings. Most parents have felt this way, and we all need help along the way. The fact that you are seeking help for you and your child is a sign of great courage and strength.
I know that you do not want to continue harboring these feelings of frustration and guilt towards your child. Continuing to hold onto these emotions will only lead to an environment of disconnection within your family, and the distance will grow over time.
Be willing to take ta take action, seek help, and follow the plan. Eventually, you will find yourself enjoying your child again. You will see that your child will begin to have increased self-esteem, less emotional outbursts, and will be better built for a successful future.
If you have been reading this, you have already shown that you are committed to your child’s well-being, even when they push you to your absolute limits. Keep it up. Your child needs you, your child loves you, and with a little guidance and perseverance, you can move towards greater feelings of love and connectedness with your child. Call and schedule an appointment today.
Devynn Owens, MFTi 92970, Child/Parenting Specialist
Supervised by Chris Williams, LMFT 52007