Becoming a parent can be the most wonderful and fulfilling thing to happen in your life. This doesn't mean that it doesn't come with its challenges. As a parent, you are responsible for raising and protecting a human from birth until adulthood. You are their first teacher, meaning they will learn how to handle many different life events through you. The problem with that is, there really is no all-knowing book, movie, or class you can consume to teach you all there is to know about parenting.
Parents who are new to parenting or are experiencing troubles in parenthood, or are just feeling overwhelmed may benefit from seeking the help of a therapist. A therapist can help the parent work through their issues, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and understand why they are feeling the way they are feeling. The tools a parent learns in therapy will prove to be essential tools to help them throughout the many issues that may occur in their parenting journey.
How can I be a good parent?
Being an effective parent, first and foremost is about helping your child avoid dangers, such as overindulgence, drug abuse, neglect physical and emotional abuse.
But this, of course, is not enough to raise a well rounded, thoughtful child, you must all focus on the four key responsibilities, which are:
Preparing your child intellectually
Maintaining your child's health and safety
Promoting your child's emotional well being
Enhancing their social skills and ways of interacting
Seeking support for struggling parents
Parenting counselling, in a nutshell, is a form of therapy that can help with the struggles a parent may face throughout their parenting journey. Parenting counselling can come in many different forms and can include just you, you and your partner, you and your child, or the whole family. The form your parenting counselling takes on will depend on your own circumstances and situation.
In parenting counselling, you will learn many helpful tools for parenting including communication skills, problem-solving skills, conflict-resolution, and tips for building a stronger family unit. The ultimate goal of parenting counselling is to help you and your family build a stronger bond and understand how to handle stressful situations as they arise.
The Types of Parenting Therapy
Parenting is tough. As we stated before, there is no handbook to guide you through all of the issues that may arise during your parenting journey. Therapy can help parents who are struggling with issues in their parenting journey that they cannot seem to shake. Parent therapy can come in many different forms. These forms include:
Family therapy. When an issue is impacting the whole family, a family therapist can help the family work through the issue in a healthy and productive way.
One-on-one therapy. When a parent feels as though they are experiencing their own mental health struggles such as anxiety, trauma, or if they are just feeling overwhelmed, seeking one-on-one therapy may help them find their way back to a healthy mindset that will benefit the whole family.
Parenting support groups. Parenting support groups can be great for parents who feel like they need to connect with people experiencing the same things they are. Find a group of people who make you feel understood can be extremely beneficial and encouraging to parents.
Couples counselling. Couples counselling can help parents build a stronger partnership that will benefit their parenting teamwork.
Parenting classes. Parenting classes are classes that can offer parents advice in subjects like finances, their children's health, and parenting basics. This can help the parent feel more confident in their parenting journey, reducing some of the stresses that come with parenting.
When should I see a parenting counsellor?
Parenting therapy can sound intimidating. Some people may think that seeking the help of a therapist for parenting means that they are a bad parent. This is not the case at all. Parenting therapy can help parents work through a multitude of issues, leaving the parent with a stronger mental health and the family with a stronger bond. You may benefit from seeking parenting therapy if:
You have unresolved trauma. Becoming a parent can bring unresolved trauma that you may have pushed down back to the surface. Children are not born knowing how to respect boundaries and some of the things they do, like loudly expressing their feelings or needing constant physical affection can bring unresolved trauma to the surface.
You are feeling extremely stressed. Feeling stressed is a normal part of parenting. Nobody is born knowing exactly how to parent, so we may stress over whether or not we are making the right decisions for our children. However, if your stress is beginning to negatively impact yours and your family's quality of life, therapy may be just what you need.
You have no support system. If you don't have family or friends nearby wo you can vent to, seek advice from, or ask for help; a therapist can help you find the support that every parent needs.
Your family is dealing with a lot of conflict. Sometimes, tension builds and builds until we find ourselves in constant conflict with each other. If you and your family have been struggling with constant conflict, a therapist can help you find what is causing it and guide you to a solution.
What will I learn in therapy?
Therapy is a great resource for learning many skills that will help you build stronger relationships, know yourself better, and better understand your thinking patterns. From therapy, you and your family may gain:
Communication skills. Having great communication skills is a very important part in parenting. As a parent, you are your child's first teacher. In order to properly teach your child, you must know how to communicate with them effectively. In therapy, you will learn communication tools to help guide you in your communication with your little one!
Coping mechanisms for dealing with stress. Parenting is stressful. That stress can negatively impact your mental health, physical health and relationship health. In therapy, you will be taught methods of coping to help you work through stress you may encounter in parenting.
Anger management. If you suffer with anger issues, seeking the help necessary to work through them is essential to protecting your child and your relationship with them. When learning anger management skills, you will learn ways to work through your anger in a healthy and productive manner.