Parenting is incredible – incredibly magical, beautiful, joyful, exhausting, confusing, expensive and incredibly permanent. Becoming a parent is absolutely permanent. Sure, circumstances may change, but the fact that you are the parent to that child never changes. I find it remarkable that it is such a vital role, yet there’s no way to practice true parenting. We can watch babies play and we can learn to change diapers, we can study child development and learn baby sign language. We can observe teaching methods and parenting styles, but there is assuredly no possible way to understand the parenting bond until we become parents. Love, loyalty, devotion, connection, dependency, fear, blood – all are intricacies of the parenting bond. When our families have more than one child, it quickly becomes apparent that the manual created by trial an error with the first child is not at all applicable to the second child, nor the third, because each child is an entirely different spirit with an entirely different set of rules! How is it that the most natural human experience we encounter comes with so many unknowns and an abundance of twists and turns and such depths of literally every human emotion? This is parenting.
There’s a myriad of difficulties that come up regarding parenting and I’m grateful when I’m invited in the family system to help. I understand the love and the pain that accompanies relational difficulties as well as the fear that can dominate when we recognize that what is happening at home has more destructive elements than we planned for. It’s deeply confusing when we feel our very best efforts at loving and serving each other are falling short, especially when we feel our entire existence is to protect and grow our children. I read a quote from Debra Ginsberg that resonated with me. She said, “Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, or so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed, and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to be outside the human body, and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating for every outside its chest.”
Right? This is exactly how it feels to be a parent.
Children can be joyful. They are filled with energy and light, softness and warmth, cuddles and some belly laughs. These are the jewels that keep parents and children in love and totally devoted to each other. I’m able to see this in our sessions and its exactly the reason why I am willing to dive into hard territory. Watching families grow this part of their system is endlessly fulfilling and gives me a sense of divine purpose in my work.
I help parents by listening to their narratives, understanding their structure, their dynamics, all environmental factors, and goals. I look for cracks and missing pieces, if they exist. I educate on healthy and effective communication, discipline, boundaries, relationship building, and even time management. There are often tears as parents open their hearts to personal change, or when they become newly aware of challenges their children are facing. A wonderful fact, though, is that families are inherently strong and resilient. I’ve watched families fully recover from trauma when they dedicate themselves to growth. I like the word restore. It’s what I feel happens with my client families who honestly work and make the turns necessary to grow and heal – they restore themselves to a place of health, safety, happiness and peace. It really does happen! If you need help parenting, come in and let’s figure it out together. The love already exists. Just add humility and vulnerability with time and a willingness to change, and you’ll be on the road to recovery.