Are You Struggling To Parent In Ways That Feel Good?
Are you questioning yourself as a parent – wondering if you’re making good decisions or if there are other, better ways to parent your child or children? Are you feeling exhausted or overwhelmed – especially if you are a first-time or single parent? Is your family struggling to adjust to a significant life transition or event, such as a new baby or family member, a move or change of school, a loss, trauma or illness? Are your children acting out, withdrawing or adopting other, uncharacteristic behaviors? If you’re new to parenting, are you fearful that you’re making mistakes that will have lasting repercussions? If your children are older, are nonstop schedules, rebellious behaviors, school issues or sibling conflicts leading to more tension and less connection and harmony within your home? Do you wish you knew how to create more balance and ease within your family, and ensure that everyone’s needs are being met – including your own?
Parenting can be hard work. It may be the most challenging “job” you ever have. Children and family systems are ever changing, and it can feel frustrating, stressful and painful when your family is in frequent conflict or if you’re questioning your every decision. And, today’s culture can compound challenges. We live in increasingly isolated family systems where many parents do not have a partner or extended family nearby to offer support and guidance. People are busy, schedules are full, and the go-go-go of daily life can lead to disconnection, exhaustion and self-doubt.
Feeling Overwhelmed As A Parent Is Very Common
At some point, on some level, all parents experience difficulties and overwhelming feelings and doubts. It’s common to feel exhausted and want a break. You may be feeling overwhelmed all day, everyday or a recent event or situation may have caused your home and family to feel more unbalanced or chaotic. Regardless of your situation, if you’re struggling to parent, therapy can offer you guidance, help and support.
Therapy Can Help Alleviate Parenting Stresses, Concerns and Fears
Experience shows us that therapy can be very effective for parents and caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, confused or stressed. Oftentimes, just having someone to listen, understand and validate your experience can provide immense and immediate relief. Parenting can be extremely challenging at times, and your BPS family therapist can offer you support and strategies as you learn to navigate unfamiliar and difficult challenges.
Every family along with their unique needs, strengths, and challenges, are very different. Your BPS therapist will meet you where you are and individualize your therapy experience based on your family’s specific needs. Your therapist can offer you concrete, age-appropriate strategies to try at home and provide support and ideas as you develop a parenting style and structure that works well for your family. In addition to working on the presenting issues that brought you into therapy – such as sleep, sibling or behavioral issues – you can also learn better ways to communicate and connect as a family. Your therapist can help you identify your strengths and build upon those, as well as offer new ways of doing things that may help your family feel and function better.
Regardless of how bad you feel right now, it’s important to note that what you’re experiencing will not last forever. Counseling for parenting issues can help you navigate through confusing times. Therapy can help you break stresses down and learn how to take your experience moment by moment. With help, it is possible to figure out a parenting style and family structure that works well for everyone in your home. You can figure out what your children need and how to ensure that they feel loved, worthy, trusted and safe. You can feel more confident about how you’re parenting. You can build on your strengths and enjoy happier, easier moments. While parenting is an ongoing challenge, it is possible to feel more joy and less stress now and in the long-term.
But, you still may have questions or concerns…
I think therapy could be helpful, but I’m concerned about costs.
This is your family’s lives and wellbeing. Addressing parenting issues now can lead to both immediate and long-term results. It can also prevent difficulties within your family from getting worse. Therapy is an investment in building confidence, creating balance and developing a workable structure for your family. It can help you create a parenting style and family life that feels and functions well. Therapy is also an investment that can lead to more security, consistency and wellbeing for your children.
Many people come to BPS having worked with other therapists who were not trained to work specifically with parenting issues or who they or their partner couldn’t relate with – which is a waste of time and money. At BPS, we’ll conduct a referral assessment and match your family with a therapist who is not only trained and experienced in helping with parenting issues, but whose personality and style is also a good fit. Once you find that good match, making a commitment to yourself and your family may be one of the most valuable investments there is. Imagine everyone in your family feeling and functioning better on a regular basis, now and in the long-term, and ask yourself what that’s worth.
If money still is an issue, you can talk with your BPS therapist to see if they work on a sliding scale. They may also be able to help you find other lower cost resources in the community.
I’m feeling completely overwhelmed. At this point I’m not sure that anything – even therapy – can help.
The hopelessness and helplessness you are feeling is not uncommon and very valid. Although your family and your ability to manage it may feel chaotic and out of control right now, with patience, time and the right therapist, it can get better.
Your BPS therapist is highly experienced and trained to work with families on parenting issues, as well as the communication, conflict and connecting issues you may be experiencing. Your therapist will get your family’s full story – your struggles, trials and errors, details about who your family is and how you’ve been operating – and use that information to help create a strategy that can work for your particular situation. Your therapist can also help relieve some of the pressures that you’ve been carrying. You can experience validation, support and guidance. Oftentimes, just having someone who understands what you’re experiencing to talk to can provide immediate relief. And, remember, what you’re experiencing right now will not last forever. Change is constant, and with help, positive improvement is very possible.
My partner and I have very different parenting styles and perspectives. Is it possible for us to come together and parent as a team?
Your BPS therapist can help you and your partner explore and understand each other’s parenting styles and perspectives. You can identify common goals, such as both wanting what is best for your children. You can find compromises and balance and learn how to meet the needs of your partner and family as well as your own. Your BPS therapist can also serve as a mediator – providing space and opportunity for both you and your partner to be heard and understood. In time, you may realize that you and your partner want many of the same things for your children and that you can work together. You can learn how to blend your values and perspectives, as well as appreciate each other’s strengths.
Doing this work now is so important. It can help prevent negative patterns and behaviors from becoming entrenched. It can alleviate tensions before stressors lead to increased and more volatile fights. And, ultimately, it can help your children feel more secure and at ease. When mom and dad are okay, the whole family system functions better.
We encourage you to schedule a referral assessment with a BPS therapist, trained by BPS Director, Dr. Jan Hittelman. We will work with you to determine what your specific issues are and ensure a good match between you and a BPS therapist in terms of personality, style and expertise.
You can also check out our free, online therapist directory, which will match you with a family therapist who has expertise working with parenting issues.