One of the skills I share with parents through our working together is the ability to offer a new or different perspective- sometimes I help them step back from the midst of the trees to see the forest.
When we are in the midst of a situation, our focus is very narrow and often we are under such stress and duress- we can’t see what needs to be seen, we can’t do what needs to be done, we can’t say what needs to be said, and we can’t be who we need to be.
How does that show up in your life?
Your child may be exhibiting a behavior that is an attempt to communicate something to you but you aren’t seeing it that way. You see a behavior and you want to END IT or FIX IT. Often parents want the answer to how to get their child to DO something or how to get their child to STOP DOING something. In the process they use methods that do not address the true issue. Parents will yell or punish with the threat of loss of privileges or some other unpleasant consequences. Parents get angry, frustrated, take thing personally, feel horrible, hurt, exhausted, or depleted.
If this is happening to you, over time, you may “accept the behavior” and you adjust, make do, and move on. But, you never get to the message. You never figure out what the message is, what is the thing that your child is trying to communicate to you in this ineffective, reactive way? And situations continue in what is normally an intolerable manner- not due to an inevitable change and your resilient acceptance of a new reality. Rather- it’s the opposite- you don’t accept and adapt- you resist and react- yell, punish, blame, have bad feelings, you create disconnection, you damage relationships, and you never address the main issue.
We’re all aware of the TV shows that show shocking situations that are to the viewer obviously unacceptable, and if these happened overnight or all at once- the impact would be so significant people would be motivated to take action- such as a hoarding situation that reduces a home’s interior to piles of garbage, or the extremely large tumor that interferes with life to a great degree before the patient sees a doctor. How does this happen?
As human beings, we have this wonderful ability to accept change, adapt, and adjust, so that we can SURVIVE! This serves us well as a species and as an individual. This is the basis of resilience. But sometimes this “resilience” does us a disservice. It prevents us from looking deeper, figuring out why something is happening, or it keeps us from making changes that could put us on a different path before significant damage is done. Many of us have the skill to accept drastic changes if they are presented in small amounts over long periods of time.
As I work with parents and we discuss the family life and dynamics, this process can often shed light on some changes in the family that were strictly reactive, in the moment, and done without thought or consideration, but then became patterns that were difficult to break, and then persist for long periods of time. Often, I can help the parents figure out the true issue, understand and address that, and the problem behavior goes away, or the parents develop the tools to see the behavior as communication and no longer respond in a reactive, punishing, and disconnecting manner. Typically the parents will comment, “I never looked at it that way before”. Sometimes all it takes is a question- why do you think that happened? Why do you think they did that? How did you decide on that? And the answer is “I don’t know” and then the focus shifts. And the detective work begins…
Some parents work with me because they find themselves living a life that is not what they had envisioned and they wonder if THEY can make a change to make their lives better, no matter what challenges they face and struggles they encounter. The answer is YES!
If you want to learn more about how you would benefit from working with me, please contact me or schedule a complimentary consultation call.
You can also join my Facebook group, Reclaiming the Joy of Parenting, a safe place for parents of children with special needs, extra needs, high needs, and different needs to discuss their challenges and share their successes in a supportive environment.