Parenting can be a challenge. The joys and rewards of parenting are often mixed with uncertainty and frustration, but in the end it is the ultimate long-term investment.
Counseling and therapy can help parents in various ways, especially in single parent households. Raising a family is a wonderful experience, but it is also stressful knowing how much children depend on parents for survival. When that stress accumulates, it can leave parents feeling worried, irritable, angry, or overwhelmed. If untreated, this stress will have a negative effect on the rest of the family. Understanding that most situations get worse before they get better, parents who seek professional help are also provided with a strong support system and someone to listen to their issues in a safe environment.
Therapy provides the guidance and support to express those feelings, address them, and learn skills to manage emotions. They will also encourage parents to take their health into account, especially when it comes to diet and sleep. Therapists with experience in family counseling encourage clients take care of themselves first so they can take care of others.
When dealing with a child who has behavioral issues or faces a mental health concern, talk and behavioral therapy can help both the parents and the child. A family therapist is certified to deal with child development and behavioral health concerns, especially if those issues are affecting the family dynamics. Once everyone has a chance to voice their concerns, a therapist will help resolve the issues by improving how both the parents and their child communicate with one another.
On the other hand, parents who live with a mental illness may find the normal stresses of parenting more difficult to handle. In fact, one in six parents will experience a mental health concern while raising a family. This could lead to feelings of isolation and helplessness, making it difficult to cope with the pressure. Parents with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia should begin managing their symptoms when children are involved. Seeking out a psychologist and a psychiatrist who can work together to manage the symptoms and medication is highly recommended for parents in this situation, who could put their children’s wellbeing at risk. A therapist, counselor, or other health professional can work with parents to develop strategies and methods to get through the times when they are most affected by their condition to reduce symptoms.
Child psychology and development experts generally agree that there is no one method of parenting that is “best,” and parents may wish to try different styles of parenting to see what works for their family and what doesn’t. No matter the method, research shows that parents who adhere by certain principles can have a huge impact on their child’s development and overall success in life:
- Mutual respect between both a parent and child is key when it comes to the foundation of the relationship. Parents need to pay attention to their tone when talking with their child, and if discipline is necessary, administer it in a way that preserves the dignity of the child. If a parent loses their temper, mutual respect can be elevated after they provide their child with a quick and sincere apology.
- Emotions can get the best of people at times and parents who describe their own feelings and reactions to certain situations will teach their child that there are appropriate ways to manage their feelings.
- When a child has something to say, as a parent it is important to listen and take your child’s view of the circumstances seriously. Some find it helpful to stop what they are doing and make eye contact, while acknowledging the feelings involved, both spoken and implied.
- It is important for a parent to consistently follow through on what they say they will do in order to expect their child to respect certain boundaries. When a parent doesn’t follow through, their child will learn to not respect the rules set forth or listen to what their parents say.
- Parents who consistently need to correct a child’s behavior have more success if they coach their children in the appropriate way to behave, rather than just telling them to stop it. Not only does this reduce the number of times the child will act in such a manner, it teaches them important problem solving skills.
- Bring awareness to your child when he or she does something right, especially if this occurs a few times a day. Parents find that their child is encouraged by positive reinforcement and will learn that helping around the house, being polite or following the rules makes them feel appreciated and respected.