The child seemed like just a normal kid that struggled in school. The parents weren’t concerned — they were confused. The parents remembered when they were in school. Some classes were easy, some were hard, but in the end it all worked out. They graduated, got a job, and the rest, as they say, “is history.“
Now they can’t understand why their child can’t get it together. Lazy, angry, moody and just plain unmotivated, is how they describe their child.
They have given their child everything they wanted and needed to make their life better. Certainly better than they had it. So why isn’t their child happy and embracing that?
The child sits in my office, unsure of why they’re there. Everything seems overwhelming and they want it to stop. But they won’t tell me that. Their guard is up, the answers to my questions are short.
I know that behind their wall, is pain. This pain is personal.
The child has been making decisions about themselves based on all that they have been seeing, hearing and observing since birth. This has anchored limiting and core beliefs about themselves. Family, teachers, television, coaches, peers, etc. have contributed….. unknowingly. Thoughts of “I’m stupid” “I’m ugly” “I’m unlovable” “I can’t, so why try” “It’s never good enough” and hundreds of others run through their minds as truth.
Pressures and expectations weigh heavily on their fragile body, mind, and heart. Unequipped to handle this, it shows up in various ways. Grades, eating disorders, cutting, depressed feelings, sleeping, moodiness, etc. They try anything to get the pain to stop. Even if only a temporary solution.
Parental frustration only adds to the problem and an unhealthy relationship is born. The child hates themselves, their behavior and the extra burdens. The parents are at their wits end.
So what do you do?
Addressing the pain is the only way to heal. Providing your child with a safe place to express their feelings, while keeping your own judgment out of it.
You see, your child shouldn’t have to protect or parent you. They just want to be heard and accepted. They need to be reminded of their uniqueness, and most importantly, they need to know that they matter.
Your child wants to talk, but their confusion and insecurities hold them back. They fear judgment and disapproval.
None of this is about blaming or judging your parenting skills. It is to suggest that there may be another way to help your child.
- Start by looking at your own fears and how they are affecting your child.
- Notice if what you want for your child is really what they want.
- Are you assuming you know how they feel and what they need?
- Do you try to fix a problem instead of just listening?
It’s not always easy to be neutral when it comes to your child so it may be helpful to find a professional.
Look for an alternative practitioner that understands this holistic approach, and is using new and effective techniques. Look for someone who will not only teach your child extremely useful coping skills but address and heal the core pain as well. Look for someone your child feels safe with.
Often times parents will need a little help too. Because they were also children, and they too may have less than positive beliefs about themselves.
Remember, there is hope, there is help.