I’ve spent a long time trying to distill out what it is I teach in my family sessions. It’s One part Laugh instead of Yell/Cry/Drink/Numb, One part Afford Yourself Grace/You are learning as you go, and One part CTFD/Be Curious/Wonder what they are Trying to do/Support that if you can.
There is so much more, but these are some of the biggies. I’ve mulled all the current parenting terms and philosophies and wondered, what do I have to offer? There are very dear blog writers: Hands Free Mama, Awake Parent. Whole Brain Child and everything Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson = beautiful. The resiliency movement: here, here, and here! Po Bronson. Brene Brown‘s work. Sam Goldstein. And, the great normalizer: Amber Dusick of Crappy Pictures (check out her encapsulation of parenting, as illustrated in crappy pictures). There is so much good out there. This is one thing that’s been done, and well, and it keeps getting better.
And yet, the information is not reaching everyone. Every day I meet families that have heard none of this information, and know none of these terms. Instead, they know: “They don’t come with a book.” “She’s just so hard.” “I can’t do this.” “I don’t know what to do.” “Is this (fill in the blank) he’s doing normal?” “Sometimes I don’t like myself as a parent.” “I am a bad parent.” And more often now than ever before, I get several calls a month asking if the child might not be bipolar. Maybe some are; most are not. I don’t underestimate the power of mental illness. I also know most families just want a little help finding a direction, a few tools, and to find how to reconnect with their child in the midst of everyday intense stress. We are all a little overwhelmed.
So, I finally landed on a fitting description for what I do – which is to help families think of parenting as a series of discoveries. We learn as we go. We are all learning. Mistakes are part of the process. Kids help us when they can. When they can’t articulate or show us, we have to trust they are good, capable little people. We have to find a way to be the captain in the storm. We are big, they are little. We can do it. There are MANY ways. Did I mention mistakes?