Parents Need Support
Raising a human being is a huge responsibility and many have said that being a parent is the most challenging (and most rewarding) role they have ever had to play. Not only do you have to tend to all of the day-to-day needs of a child but you also have to learn how to understand their personality and work with their strengths and weaknesses to help them learn, grow and overcome frequent challenges. The job of a parent is beyond full-time, if you are not actively working with your children you are then on call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is a daunting job that can overwhelm any one of us at any time.
Despite their best efforts, parents have limits and sometimes they may need support to help them understand and cope with these limits. Perhaps a parent’s own childhood did not provide them with healthy models of parenting (i.e. enduring a difficult divorce, unavailable parents, hostility or loss). Parents may have their own physical or mental health difficulties that make parenting even more challenging. Sometimes parents may just not feel equipped to handle certain issues like school refusal, bullying, traumatic events, bed-wetting, etc. There are many difficult or confusing situations that parents will have to face and this is why seeking guidance and support might not only be helpful, but sometimes even necessary.
Counseling for parents can be useful in a myriad of different ways. Sometimes certain parenting situations can be very stressful. Counseling can help parents better manage their stress and work to take better care of themselves so they can be healthier more effective as parents. Other times parents might need more; they may need actual parenting strategies, information about developmental growth, or guidance on how to advocate for their child’s needs and a well trained therapist can offer these as well.
Parents may struggle with their own deficits and counseling or therapy can help here too. Sometimes parents have trouble with anger management. Coping skills, anger management techniques, self-care, relaxation and emotional regulation can all be developed and strengthen with the support of a counselor or therapist. More profound parenting challenges can also trigger more significant levels of stress. This kind of stress can manifest in chronic worry or anxiety, depression, explosive anger or unrelenting irritability. More intensive therapy can help parents work through these very difficult times by providing opportunities to emotionally process their experiences, morn the loss of what they thought their life would be, gain perspective and develop a new approach to better handle their overwhelming situation.
Seeking support as a parent is a sign of a good parent. It is evidence that the parent is doing what they need to do to take care of themselves so they can continue to take care of the one’s they love.