help4yourfamily

Create the family you want to have

Stopping the Parent Shame and Blame Game

Parenting

Parenting (Photo credit: Leonid Mamchenkov)

 

When parents come to me for help with their children, my job is not so much to change every single thing about the way they are parenting. My job is to help mom and/or dad to create the outcome they are looking for. Many parents come in to me worried that I will shake my finger at them while scolding them about all the things they are doing it wrong. The fear that this could happen is one that keeps people away longer, until the problem gets “bad enough” that they have to come in.

I wish I could wave a magic wand to make this fear go away. If parents brought kids in when the issues first started, they would save so much time and money. Instead, we end up weeding through the guilt and shame of whatever the perpetuated cycle has been for parent and child. Most often what I end up doing with parents goes more like this:

  • What are you doing right?
  • How can we increase the times when you feel as though you are handling issues in a way you feel good about?
  • How can we find ways to increase your effectiveness when you feel you are not meeting your own expectations?

A while back I heard someone (I wish I could remember who) saying that so often we focus on what we want to do, as in,

  • What am I going to do about this?
  • If you do this, I’m going to do that.

The speaker went on to point out that we are asking the wrong question. The real question is “Who do I want to be?” Answering this question, “Who do I want to be?” makes the question of what you want to do clear. If who you want to be is a loving parent, then what you want to do will incorporate love for your child (which can also include boundaries and discipline- just so we are clear). If who you want to be is a guide for your child then what you would do would incorporate modeling for your child the appropriate response to a particular situation. It guides us away from whether we are right or wrong to do what we do and into a new discussion about whether we are acting in a way that aligns with our values. When the answer is that we are not acting in such a way, and we cannot come up with a way to act that feels more in line with our value system as parents, it is time to seek help. Think about finding a therapist, parent coach, pastor, rabbi, parent support group or someone that you trust to take the courage to ask the questions about how to become more aligned with who you want to be.

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April 11, 2013 - Posted by | affirmations, attachment, counseling, discipline, family, help for parents, kids, mental health, parent support/ self improvement, Parenting, psychology, thinking about therapy?

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