Whoever Said That Parenting Is The Hardest Job We’ll Ever Have, Had It Right
Often times parents will come to my office and describe feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to cope with challenging parenting situations. They tell me they feel exhausted both physically and emotionally. They have tried different disciplinary strategies, read parenting books, talked to their family doctor and of course their friends and family.
With a smattering of differing advice, they are left feeling depleted and confused, wondering if they are the “good parents” they have always aspired to be. Children are not born with an instruction manual. And unfortunately, our growing children do not come with software updates like our laptops and iPhones do.
As the newer versions of our children emerge, we are left scrambling trying to decide how to parent next. Suddenly our old methods are obsolete and our former way of communicating is no longer compatible. Just when we feel like we’ve got it figured out, we as parents need an upgrade.
Every child, parent or caregiver is unique, but some things are universally applicable. Children, especially preschool age children, want our undivided attention. We may just be someone in the world, but to our children we are the world. Children want to sit with us, play with us, read with us, be silly with us, and be reassured that they the center of our universe too.
This is hard to do with one hand on our Blackberry and one eye on our email or text messages. The quality of the relationship we have with our children can remedy even the most challenging situations. Building and maintaining quality relationships with our children is not a quick and easy thing to do. It requires a great deal of patience, tolerance, kindness, and unconditional love. It is a never ending, all encompassing, anxiety provoking marathon through the streets of Figure-It-Out-As-I-Go-Land. But the rewards are unlike anything else in this world.
The sense of being connected and securely attached to your child is worth every drop of blood, sweat, and tears. Sometimes, as parents, we need support along the way, just as the marathon runners need someone to hand them a cup of water every few miles.
Counseling can replenish the emotional energy that has been spent and help us refocus our efforts in ways that make everyone happy. Counseling with parents, children, and families comes in many forms and is initially sought for many different reasons, but the overall underlying goal is usually same: To enrich the quality of relationships allowing for communication of social and emotional needs. The right combination of love and discipline will go a long way; it is a timeless approach to parenting that will remain as trends come and go.
Tricia Schutz MSW, LCSW is a psychotherapist at Kettle Moraine Counseling and is currently a Fellow at the
University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Infant, Early Childhood and Family Mental Health Program.
Gluten-free diet linked to increased depression and eating disorders
December 30, 2011, Boston Globe
Having to follow a restrictive diet that limits the consumption of foods like bread and pasta has been shown to cause depression, disordered eating and impaired quality of life.
Music soothes anxiety, reduces pain
December 23, 2011, Psych Central
Researchers have documented that that listening to music can be effective for reducing pain in high-anxiety persons.
Questioning decisions can lead to unhappiness
December 16, 2011, Psych Central
Overanalyzing and then second guessing one’ decisions can lead to stress and unhappiness
Other predators that I have seen others encounter: rage that burns up themselves and their relationships, feeling inadequate and full of shame, an abusive relationship, a “dead” relationship, fears to follow their dreams, a family situation, being a “good girl”, believing that we are unlovable, procrastination, believing we are not creative, or buying into the culture’s or family’s ideas of who we should be.
Happy New Year!
Things are well at the clinic. I am so fortunate to have a job that I love- when I got back from our anniversary trip, I was very excited to get back to seeing clients! We have some good news about insurance: we WILL continue to be in the Humana network for 2012. Previously I had told our clients that we would not be in the network, but we were able to work things out. Tricia Schutz wrote an article on parenting for this newsletter- she is the mother of 2 young girls. I have not made any resolutions for 2012, except I will continue with Pilates; it’s helped my aches and pains enormously, and I brought a yoga mat to the clinic so that I can do some stretching during downtime. Now that the holidays are done, focus on caring for yourself and your needs- sleep well, move your body, eat foods that are satisfying, and do something creative (write, draw, paint, sing, dance). Til next time, be gentle with yourself and others.
Devona Marshall, clinic director