Support is the first word that comes to mind when trying to make parenting easier. Another is connection.
Not so long ago, we lived together in communities or groups of people, with different generations of family and friends close by to give a hand. Today that can be a bit different, finding that we have less of that supportive environment for many different reasons. We can feel alone and isolated, wondering what to do, bombarded by social media and the “perfect” parenting advice, not feeling we know what to do with our kids, yet having so much information we don’t know what is the best for us! If we had a bit of support, informed information that was specific to our particular needs, it may make life a whole lot easier.
As a child/teenage therapist and parenting coach, this allows me to see many different types of family environments, parenting skills, and approaches to raising children and teenagers. My general observation is that parents are usually a bit worn out, noticeably stressed, and eagerly concerned with getting a good outcome for their child. Typically, a parent puts the child’s needs over their own needs. This is admirable, and something that used to work quite well when we lived in communities, because there was always someone else to put their hand to the wheel, and we got to take a break. Even if it was just to do the shopping or have a coffee with a friend. So while I like the idea of looking after the child needs over our own needs, it is also extremely important for the parent to have a place where their needs are being met and they are feeling cared for. How you feel about yourself and your mental health can reflect negatively or positively to your child as well as your effectiveness as a parent
Medicare has provided 10 supported sessions (bulk billed for concession holders with my business). These are usually easy to get by going to a doctor, booking a longer session and getting a mental health care plan. As both parent and child are entitled to get the mental health care plan, there are several advantages to this approach. First, I will only work with both a child and a parent on mental health care plans. The reason for this is I am a family therapist, and I work with everyone in the family system. Some of this time may be with them both in the room together. Many times it is catching up with the children by themselves, with some time afterwards catching up with the parent/s.
In my experience, the fastest way for the child to heal involves looking after both the child and also spending some time with supporting the parents. It is funny to think where a child has an obvious problem that we don’t think to support the key person, namely the parent/s, who is so therapeutic to the healing process an and yet suffering issues that clearly fall under being eligible for a mental health care plan.
This is not to mean that the parent has a diagnosable condition (but sometimes it feels like it). What it does mean is that we may be worrying more, feeling worthless, anxious, losing sleep, feeling irritable, hopeless, feeling that everything is an effort, that nothing can make you happy, or you feel so restless you can’t sit still. Those are the extreme positions but we may be feeling some of them to a degree and everything adds up. Obviously you are not travelling as well as we could.
Our service is affordable, accessible and available. That means we see you as soon as possible, usually within a week or two, as it is important to get things moving as soon as possible. You may have been putting up with the situation for weeks or months so when we put our hand up for help it is nice for that to happen pretty rapidly. Don’t keep practicing problems. Tap support. Tap solutions.
I hope these thoughts are useful to you. Please let me know.