& Family Therapy
When you thought ahead to parenthood, you may have imagined laughter with your kids over dinner and fun outings as a family. You pictured relationships that were loving and joyful.
You didn’t bank on epic meltdowns over turning off video games, an anxious teen refusing to go to school, your own level of stress being so high, or your patience being so low. You didn’t anticipate your child having needs that are so difficult to cope with, such as being extremely sensitive, easily frustrated, or inflexible. Nobody expected a pandemic and school closures to completely change their parenting journey, and many are still experiencing the effects of that societal crisis. You may also find that parenting a generation growing up with different forms of technology and access to social media means you need to support your children very differently than how you were supported at that same age. It is understandable that you are finding the reality of parenting more complex and challenging that you expected.
You want to feel close to your child. However, you may notice that your fatigue and your own intense emotions affect the way you react. You want to be patient, but some days you are just at the end of your rope.
All parents certainly feel that way at times. However, many children are born with more sensitive and spirited temperaments. You may have noticed from an early age that your little one struggled to deal with change and transitions or to regulate emotions. Statistics show that up to half of Canadian youth are experiencing some kind of mental health difficulties, such as anxiety or depression. This, too, demands a different approach to parenting. I am drawn to working with families experiencing these particularly difficult challenges with their children. I also appreciate parents noticing certain vulnerabilities in their children and wanting to take a preventative approach.
My philosophy is that we must always start with connection. I teach strategies to parents that help them strengthen their bond with the child, which can be frayed by the conflict or stress. These strategies involve teaching you, as the parent, actual therapeutic techniques to use with your children, so that you can effectively help them to feel soothed and calm. Once your child feels understood and validated, their behaviours often de-escalate, and then we can start problems solving with kids and teaching them new skills to regulate their emotions.
The children who are struggling the most also need the greatest empathy, unconditional love, and support. They crave feeling connected to the adults who are able to keep them safe and guide them in the right direction. Their relationship with you is more important than any other in their life. This may also require you receiving therapeutic support to understand your triggers and your own wounds that need healing (we all have them!), so you can feel empowered and confident in response to your loved one.
I am here to cheer you on and celebrate your accomplishments, or validate the frustrations. There is no judgment or criticism, just support and guidance to help your family life feel more peaceful, calm, and fulfilling.
I work with parents who are open to finding out more about this approach, either through individual sessions or, through my small group support over Zoom. See “Groups and Workshops” for more information about upcoming offerings.