The Secret to a Happier Family Life
Hello, Practice families!
In last week’s newsletter, we talked about the way in which watching, reality-testing, and shifting our own thoughts as parents can change the way that we feel AND the way in which we respond in upsetting or difficult moments… with our kids or in any other part of our lives.
As parents, we set the tone in our families. At our best, we manage challenging interactions with grace and model important socioemotional skills for our kids. At our worst, we exacerbate already difficult moments with our own impatience and react in ways that we feel badly about later on. And let’s face it, we ALL have moments that fall into each of these categories.
If there are things happening that are frustrating you or driving you nuts with your kids or in your family life, I have some good news (slash bad news!) for you. You can almost certainly shift these dynamics by getting help… for YOURSELF.
That’s definitely not to say that you’re responsible for the places in which your child or children are struggling, or for the behaviors that are driving you crazy. And it’s not that you’re currently doing anything wrong. It’s just that parenting is hard, and kids don’t come with a manual. And research tells us that even little (sometimes counterintuitive!) tweaks in the environment– the way in which we react to our kids, or the way in which we scaffold expectations and contingencies– often can yield significant changes in the way that our kids are functioning.
Similarly, if we as parents are able to effectively manage our own stress, anxiety, or frustration– related to our kids and/or the myriad of other stressors in our lives!– we can come to the table in ways that make it more likely that we can be the parents we want to be, and more likely that we can have the kind of relationships with our kids that we want to have.
When we run into difficulty with our kids, our first impulse often is to get them help or support. But what if we were able to resolve challenges that our kids experience by investing some of our own time (rather than enrolling our kids in yet another after-school obligation!)? What if we could change our family lives by building our own skills around coping with stress, frustration, or worry, by having access to expert input as we troubleshoot the challenges we are facing in our environment and in our relationships inside and outside our homes, and problem-solve about the strategies we are using with our kids at home?
This is the good news and the bad news– we can be agents of change in our own families. There is so much freedom (and so much responsibility!) in that.
Let’s face it. Being an adult is hard… being an adult AND a parent– navigating parenthood in the midst of the demands of daily life– is really hard. This is why we offer individual therapy and coaching for parents– because you deserve support too. (We can talk about your kids, but we don’t have to!).
If anything about this resonates for you, reach out to us today.
P.S., We are considering starting an interactive online class/group for parents of kids of all ages that touches on some of these topics. Is this something you’d be interested in? If so, please click through here to answer a few short questions and help us shape this program to best fit your needs.
P.P.S., Interesting related links below!
- Therapy made me a better parent (Parents)
- The ugly, exhausting reality of parenting and why we hide it from our children (Washington Post). “Sometimes I tune out and “uh-huh” her until she stops. Or if it looks like it’s going to be a doozy, I promise to hear all about it in the morning, which is a lie.” ???
- All joy and no fun: Why parents hate parenting (NY Mag)
- Parenting work as primary treatment for childhood anxiety (KQED) and for attention/behavioral challenges (Additude)
- 8 self-care tips for parents who have no time for self-care (GoZen)
- Why self-care is an important part of parenting, and how to make time for it (Washington Post)