Has anyone noticed the overwhelming glut of “hot off the press” information about parenting being lobbed our way? These unsettling messages often contain the latest new study that proves we got it all wrong but there is some hope that we can get it right if we hurry up and read all about it.
Why are we inundated by these messages that seem designed to undermine our feeling of security as parents? My guess is it fuels the need to buy more books.
Let me suggest taking a more gentle and integrative long view instead. The next time your child gets upset and/or starts screaming or crying inconsolably, try to notice what You are feeling.
For example, maybe you grew up in a house where the unwritten rule was, ‘strong emotions are not welcome here.’ or, maybe there was a lot of anger in your house and hearing yelling of any kind makes you uncomfortable? If yes, then listening to a lot of crying or anger might really stress you out.
We all get mad, sad, and glad. Developing an awareness about our own feelings can help bring down the anxiety level in any fraught situation. Once you start noticing how you feel when certain emotions come to the forefront there will be more space for you to act without reacting.
Becoming familiar with our own feelings also helps us to trust in ourselves. This way we can demonstrate to our kids that all feelings are okay and its what we do with our feelings that matters.
So the next time a new parenting publicity junket gets launched, maybe we can decide to just skip it and tune into ourselves instead.
A little about me
Like most of us, I wear many hats. In addition to being a therapist, (more about that below) I am also a mom of two school-aged kids, a wife, a sister, a daughter, and a friend. I believe that we need to be kind to ourselves as we do the important job of parenting. Taking care of ourselves is the best investment we can make for us and for our family.
What do all those letters mean?
I am a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) who works with parents in my NW DC private practice . I am also trained in family systems therapy which views each of us as individuals within our family system. What this means is that we are all doing the best we can and that we are affected by each other’s behavior. Understanding our own self within the context of our family (your current one and the one you grew up in) is the best way to effect change and ensure growth.