It’s natural to worry about your kids because parents care. Parenting is a huge job and can be very time consuming, so much so that we often don’t realize it. Kids need so much when they are young and continue to need help, guidance, and support as they mature. But kids become more and more independent as they get older, spend more time away from the home which often leads to endless concern and worry in the parents. It can be challenging to give children the guidance they need to balance their desire for independence with your wishes for them to be safe and secure.
Kids need more independence as they grow, but parents struggle with how much autonomy to give them versus how much to protect them. It’s hard to know whether the foundation and guidance we have given them when they were very young is enough for them to make their own decisions in a confusing world when they are preteens, teens, or young adults. Our children are our most important responsibilities and we want to do whatever we can to ensure they have happy and successful lives. Unfortunately for many parents this just leads to worry, concern, impatience, and more anxiety.
The world has gotten so complex that parents usually want to shield their children from harm, but this is becoming more and more difficult to do as most kids have phones and internet access which just leads to more worry on the parent’s part.
While it can be tempting to want to do something and solve these problems for our children, usually parents do best learning about their own emotional challenges with parenting. Raising kids is one of the most difficult and important roles that we have as adults and this will bring up all kinds of difficult feelings inside and towards our children.
Often parents make decisions based on their own experiences growing up. For instance, growing up in a physically abusive household might deter you from using touch as a way to regulate your kids. Others may have had an enmeshed parent and therefore take a more hands-off approach. Both of these approaches may be unintentionally causing distress to the children today. Understanding the influences of the past can free ourselves to be more effective parents in the present.
By learning about the deeper emotions and memories below the anxiety and worry, we can better regulate ourselves and then be more available to our children. By doing better at managing our own difficult feelings we can help our children learn to manage their own feelings which will help them better navigate the world and will improve our relationships with them at the same time.
Therapy can be a secure space to process the challenges and hurdles that naturally come with parenting and can help parents foster more security with the children in the home. It’s this security that allows kids to feel comfortable to try out for a new team, say no to a bully, or invite someone new to join their project group. By learning how to manage and master their own difficult feelings in the moment, parents can be more effective and have stronger relationships with their children.
By resolving past issues and learning to tolerate difficult emotions, you can improve your parenting and enjoy it more. Please contact me for more information or to schedule an initial consultation.