By: Dr. Erica Wollerman
In my work with parents and their children and teens, I offer families a lot of advice and tips. The most important one though is pretty simple (at least in my eyes).
Learn who your child is and embrace them for that.
Okay, I should really elaborate more! I think it is so important for parents to know that they are going to go into the parenting experience with certain ideals and ideas of who they will be as parents and who their child/children will be as people. For example, if they were strong students, they might assume that their child will be too. Or, if they were very athletic and interested in sports, they might assume that this will be something they will be able to share with their child/children.
As a therapist, I can’t tell you how often I hear children and teens feeling misunderstood by their parents. Sadly, it is really often. And children and teens do not assume that this is because the parent has not processed their unconscious expectations… They assume it is because they are a failure, or not good enough, or stupid, or a disappointment, or that they really should do better but just can’t. Children and most teens just blame themselves and end up feeling inadequate when they know they are letting their parents down. Rarely do they understand that their parent is just struggling to release their own thoughts about parenting and who their child would/should/could be.
I believe that it is not only important to acknowledge whatever your thoughts, hopes, dreams might be about who your child is, but to also really try to get in touch with who your child actually is.Learn their strengths and try to foster them but also, learn about their challenges and love them through it. The more you can help your children accept themselves and treat themselves with love and kindness, the better adjusted emotionally they will be for whatever comes next in their lives.
Of particular concern in this topic area are the kids who struggle in school. Maybe they struggle with a learning disorder or inattention. Or maybe they struggle with motivation around academics or just desire other things in their future than college. This group of kids struggles significantly with self-acceptance, shame, and feelings of failure. I can only encourage their parents to embrace them and encourage them but also to let them know that they are more than their grades or academic performance. Every person has something to offer our world and not all of those offerings fit neatly in an academic box or pursuit. As parents, it is our job to break through the pressure to perform academically and help kids find their innate strengths, interests, and future.
At Thrive, we take a positive, client centered approach to therapy that is focused on creating a genuine connection with our clients. If you would like to talk with a Thrive Therapist about yourself, your child, or teen attending therapy, please reach out to us by phone at 858-342-1304.
As always, thanks for reading and comments are always welcome regarding any issues around child or teen psychotherapy services in San Diego by Thrive Therapy Studio.
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"Watch your thoughts,
They become words.
Watch your words,
They become actions.
Watch your actions,
They become habits.
Watch your habits,
They become character;
It becomes your destiny."